- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The rate at which churches are springing up in Nigeria is alarming, almost every street in the nation has at least two churches not counting (put in consideration) the rooms and parlous (sitting rooms) which are converted to churches as revealed by a study which collaborated the redeemed Christian church of God five minutes walkable distance church planting vision across the nation. But as the number of church increases so also are the crime rate which ought not to be, and these call for urgent attention. The proliferation has no positive impact or brings negative effect on the nation which makes people doubt if churches have not been turned into business ventures, and to the extent that the Government wants to place taxes on churches like other business companies in the nation which will confirm churches to be business organizations. The increase in the Bible Schools and Colleges without regulation in this nation also contributed to the increase at the rate churches are springing up. Most students (Christians) especially jobless graduated Bible College students see it as a license to plant/open a church after completion of the college without considering the necessity of God calling. By this act, churches have been turning to business ventures with different names, missions, ideas and general overseers (GOs) without any positive impact on the country.
Proliferation of Churches describes the multiplicity of Christian denominations. It is a feature most notable in Nigerian Christianity. With the close of the earliest Catholic Missionary work (1450-1750), described by some scholars as a failure, the environment was set for modern missionary activities. By the end of the 19th century only six foreign missionary establishments were fully functional in Nigeria. Poverty and illiteracy had forced many people to seek divine intervention beyond the formal and nominal approach of the Mainline Churches. The Civil War had left many people homeless and poor. Majority of the people resorted to prolonged prayer and fasting as well as speaking in tongues beyond the conventional written prayers of the missionaries. Baptism of the Holy Spirit, healing and other forms of miracles became pronounced. Gradually, every prayer warrior became Church founder, as thousands of people needed solution to myriads of life puzzles brought about by the hardship of the Civil war. The return of the southerners to northern Nigeria after the Nigeria Civil War in 1970 influenced the spread of churches (Velon, 2018). Meanwhile, various religions and ministries encouraged the formation of students’ fellowship groups in universities and these became the breeding ground for leaders. According to Meeking, (2013) external influences from Europe and America fed into this pattern, providing theological direction and funds for new strategies. For other parts of Africa, Nigeria precisely, the proliferation wind blew continuously till the fire convention in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1985, acquiring a different shape and character, from the preceding era. Between 1985 and 2015, proliferation movement blossomed into complex varieties (Alaribe, 2016). In the enlarged scale and adoption of modern strategies, European/American influence became more pronounced. Even so, the originators continued to be African imitating foreigners eclectically producing foreign theologies but transforming these for immediate contextual purposes.
Youths play a vital role in the life of a Church as they are the future of the church. Learning from the elderly stands out but youth’s contributions have been shinning and have always been flag bearers of particular Churches. However, the problem is that, with all this show of religiosity or outward display of piety, one would have expected to see a very high degree of social morality among the youths. This is because all world religions generally promote truth, justice, honesty, and probity, but this is not the case with Nigeria. There is an embarrassing contradiction between the high ethical demands of the two major religions which many Nigerians profess and the phenomenon of corruption, greed and graft among other moral depravity that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation. This problem of moral lapses among the many religious people in Nigeria has affected and retarded the pace at which the nation should grow. It is against this background that we attempt a study on the proliferation of churches and its effect on youths of Anglican Church. Has the proliferation of churches in Nigeria done the church, Nigerian society and the youths more harm than good? What factors have given rise to the proliferation of churches in Nigeria and what have been the subsequent effects? A fundamental understanding of the proliferation of churches might better help us understand why the proliferation of churches in Nigeria has, seemingly, not translated to a drastic reduction in moral decadence among the youths across the nation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Nigerian society is bedeviled with a lot of ills and, no doubt, in a state of decay. In virtually all segments of our lives viz religions (morals), economic, social, political, health, and education, these decay are quite glaring. It is palpable that due to the fact that youth is madness, the most adversely affected part of our society is the youth. The youthful age is a transitional age during which one encounters a lot of either pampering from the family, or is exposed to a lot of experimental hazardous experiences. Sometimes one is just misled by his peers to take some inconceivable risks. These trying moments are sometimes occasioned by government policies which in most cases do not take into consideration, the youth. In view of some of the aforementioned reasons, the youths engage in some “nocturnal” activities that may at the end make the ear tingle and get nerves frayed. Some of the areas in which the youth so engage are examination malpractice, robbery, cultism, nude culture, sexual abuse with its concomitant ailments like HIV/AIDS, disrespect for elders, vandalization of public property, kidnapping, etc. The issue of cultism in school is a hair rising matter, its membership constitute mainly the youth. They end up turning themselves into terrorists both within and outside the universities and polytechnics. They intimidate, maim and kill students and staff. “These cultists end up sending people to their early graves, soiling the image of our institutions which are the citadel of learning and good characters” (Ochuba, 2013). To them taking of life, kidnapping and involvement in heinous and unprintable crimes are marks of heroism. The culture of nudity among girls is worrisome. According to Anazodo (2014) “they could be seen as prostitutes and neat mad women”. She also asserted that the young men with their “dada” hair are also like neat mad men. Examination malpractice is another area of moral decadence in which the youth are seriously involved. Some of them are paid to sit for examinations for their friends. Many carry notebooks and textbooks into the examination halls. Yet others sit for the examination in the so-called special centers where the youth are further exposed to all forms of vices and dangers. Statistics show that, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) have infected more of the youth. The question of disrespect for elders by the youth is seldom mentioned. In the case of vandalization of public utilities like Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) installations, NITEL cables and Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) pipelines, the youth are not exonerated. In the activities of the militant groups of Niger-Delta, the youths are the ones holding people hostage. In fact, one of the more worrisome matters is the rise and flowering of ethnic militias and politically inspired killer mobs. It is from this army that the various ethnic militias and kidnappers are drawing their cadre (Amuta, 2000:1).
Given this backdrop, in which our youths are exposed to. This has no doubt shaken the moral roots and standards of our society. It has given rise to moral degeneration. The adverse effect of this problem is manifesting in every facet of the nation’s life today.
This research work is therefore poised to examine the major causes of the moral decadence among the youths and the effect church proliferation has on the youths. The researcher also will suggest more steps to be taken by the Christian church to help check this problem.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine church proliferation and its effect on youths in Nigeria. Other specific purposes of the study are;
- To examine the causes of church proliferation in Nigeria.
- To examine the benefits of church proliferation in Anglican Church among youths.
- To examine the relationship between church proliferation and moral decadence among the youths in Anglican Church.
- To examine the role of the church towards reducing moral decadence among youths in Anglican Church.
- To recommend ways of improving youth decadence in Nigeria and Anglican Church in general.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the causes of church proliferation in Nigeria?
- What are the benefits of church proliferation in Anglican Church among youths?
- What is the relationship between church proliferation and moral decadence among the youths in Anglican Church?
- What is the role of the church towards reducing moral decadence among youths in Anglican Church?
- What are the ways of improving youth decadence in Nigeria and Anglican Church in general?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no effect of church proliferation on youths in Anglican Church
H1: There is a significant effect of church proliferation on youths in Anglican Church
H0: There is no significant relationship between church proliferation and morality of youths in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between church proliferation and morality of youths in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research is important because it teaches us the relationship between church and morality. It will serve as a document that can be referred to in order to clear some doubt about the issue of moral decadence. It will serve as documents that will enlighten the Christian leaders on the need to embark on teaching of morality in churches. This study is going to find the reason(s) why the spreading of churches has negative impact, and also aims to examine the cause(s) of church proliferation in the nation that has no effect. Finally, the study will also enlighten the public on the causes of moral decadence and how to find a lasting solution to such a problem.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is designed to investigate church proliferation and its effect on youths. The study is restricted to the Nigeria society
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Proliferation: The fact of something increasing a lot and suddenly in number or amount
Church: A building designed for worship for groups of Christians. It may be small and simple, just large enough to hold a neighbourhood congregation, or it may be huge and complicated, containing different spaces for various religious activities and observances, as in a grand cathedral
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