1.1 Background of the Study
Many questions about science and technology in relation to religion abound in our society. Such questions as whether science is a blessing or a curse? Can science and technology take man to the divine realm? Is there mutual relationship between scientific/technological world and the world of religion? Can the concept of science or technology mar our religious faith?
Looking at the other side of science/technology, we are faced with serious challenges in consideration of the above questions because the development of any country is largely dependent on well planned and properly directed scientific and technological education. This is to say that no country or nation can develop without science/technology. Olarere (1999: 13) reinforces this by saying that the fulcrum upon which any nation develop from primitive stage to industrialized, advanced stage is science/technology. Hence, science/technology has done a lot and is still doing marvelously more in the promotion of human life. It has reduced the entire world into a global village so that one can obtain information from any part of this planet sitting inside his/her room. Expressing his appreciation to scientific/technological achievement, Hogg (2009:3) averred that a beggar in India might pause in his solicitations to make or take a call on his phone. This is an explanation of how science/technology helps all classes of people. Both the rich and the poor make use of science/technology.
With the development of science and technology, there is great improvement in all the sphere of human existence. Now one can conveniently leave Lagos-Nigeria for Washington in America to have a chat with a friend or a relation within twelve hours, a journey that can take a crude boat not less than one year to accomplish. The invention of megaphone has made it possible for one to address enormous crowd. For instance, a pastor uses a megaphone in delivering sermon to his congregation. This calls to mind Asogwa’s (2005: 23) assertion that religion makes science and science to an extent makes religion. It is therefore, hard to separate science/technology from religion making each to exist independent of one another. In our society today, if there are people who make much, use of the scientific and technological products they are the pastors of the churches and their members. In Nigerian Christian community one can hardly get a priest without a car. In their respective houses, there are all sort of electronic gadgets and electrical appliances. Many programmes in the church are recorded electronically. Hence, all these can help us to answer some questions put forward on the relationship between science/technology and religion.
Science/technology like a piece of cake with sweet and hot sides is preciously useful to man and as well can be adversely destructive. Improper and misdirected use of science and technology has caused a lot of damages to mankind. Walker (1985: 168) revealed that Nagasaki cannot regain itself from the aftermath of missiles in less than a hundred years. Similarly, in developing countries, example; Nigeria, wrong use of contraceptive pills has claimed many lives, according to Ode (2014:56). In regard to cell phone, Omar (2014: 84) after a study on the causes of road accident concluded that motorists who talk on either handheld or handfree devices are as impaired as drunk drivers.
Now internet fraud is a commonplace phenomenon which is seriously militating against our socio-economic life and even our political life. On our radio sets, television and in newspapers information on how certain amount of money is being stolen by the internet fraud stars abound. Ostensibly this is the result or the effect of science/technology. Again, many of our young men and women have destroyed their brain with drugs thereby being nuisance to themselves and the community at large.
So, addiction, distraction, interruption, destruction are perhaps the most recognized problems associated with scientific technological advancement according to Attamah (2007:34). However, we should remember the fact that the abuse of something does not stop its good use. Therefore, the challenges posed by science and technology to mankind or the church is extrinsic. To buttress this, Eze (2003:64) confirmed that side effect of science and technology is a negation. By this, Eze meant that science and technology does not bring anything bad to man by itself but in order to deny the existence of valuable nature of science/technology man tends to manoeuver science/technology to produce something awful.
So at this juncture, we can understand that the sad thrust from science and technology which challenges the church is purely the outcome of the wrong uses of science and technology, like using science and technology to produce weapons for human destruction, or in challenging or attempting to equate with God in certain cases or to inspire man’s desire in search of perfect happiness through scientific and technological products.
In human comparison, God created man with mouth to praise and glorify Him but man has derailed and uses the mouth to utter foul words. So also man because of this nature uses science and technology the other way round. This places, science/technology to exist with certain challenges to man.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years attempt to reconcile science with her sister technology and religion has not fully met with success. This is because science/technology poses some challenges to the church whose objective is to save man from eternal damnation. Science/technology and religion are therefore regarded as antagonizing disciplines. According to Okwor (1982: 132), science and technology attempt to tamper with divine designs and sometimes completely annihilate God’s creation. Examples of such attempts are test tube babies and human cloning. Hence, for Okwor science/technology has no respect for divine designs.
Looking at the side effect of science/technology, many people like Okwor do not hold science/technology on par with religion. For they are two different things which cannot be put together in a common place. There is an instance where nothing good is seen from science/technology. On one of the occasions of Boko Haram attack on the people of Kanuri tribe in Northern Nigeria, an elderly Igbo man rather than blaming the militants lay the blame on “Oyibo people” who invented explosive devices used by the miltants in carrying out their nefarious activities. “We have never heard such stories before the invention of such devices. They “Oyibo people” that is scientists only make something that will favour them but become curses to the blacks. The old man in anger has not seen anything good especially to Africans coming from scientific and technological world.
On a clearer term, the church frawns at the use of certain scientific/technological products such as the use of camara for nudity and the processing of certain shrubs for drugs that can make one to see joy in criminal action. which do not give glory to God. So the problems poses on to the people by science/technology are now serious challenges facing the church in Nigeria. This work therefore, attempts to tackle the problems facing the church, in Nigeria, which arise from scientific and the technological world.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this work is to find out the problems arising from scientific/technological world which poses challenges to the church in our society. It is poised to examine those problems with the aim of finding a way or ways to ameliorate the situation.
It is also to find ways of reconciling scientific and technological world and the church in Nigeria.
Again, the purpose of this work is to unreveal the good side of scientific and technological world, and appreciate the works of science and technology sifting the aspects of science and technology that are not beneficial to man from scientific and technological world.
Summarily, this work aims at clearing the cloud that shroud the existence of good relationship between the church in Nigeria and the scientific/technological world.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This research work will be of immense help to both the church and the technological/scientific world and of course the entire society with the following reasons.
- The findings will help to bring to a stop the age long conflict between the church and scientific and technological world. The study will enable both the church and science/technology to live symbiolically. Each can be of a good assistance to the other.
- It will promote science/technology education. This is because the study will remove the clouds covering the good aspects of science and technology thereby making people to vie for science/technology education.
- Both science/technology and religion should be understood as too phenomena which aim at promoting the wellbeing of man. While religion prepares the soul for life eternal. science/technology ensures that the body is healthy enough to house the soul. This is essential because the body cannot exist without the soul and the soul as well cannot exist without the body.
- It will also enable us to understand that those problems arising from science and technology come from man and as a result can be prevented.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of science/technology and the church/religion is too wide to be completely treated by a work of this nature. No research work can cover the scope of the three disciplines involved in this study. An attempt to present a thorough study on these is just to produce a superficial work which is too weak to solve any problem.
Therefore, as the tittle indicates, this work limits its scope to the problems arising from scientific and technological world which pose serious challenges to the church in Nigeria. The focus is on those things which have adverse effect on mankind that come from science/technology which the church as a way of salvation frawns at, and seriously fight against.
The method by which this thesis has chiefly been written is by sifting, citing ideas from periodicals, journals, textbooks and to a certain degree, personal observation. Science and technology are the disciplines which involve experimentation before the drawing of facts and conclusions.
Therefore, the writer also observed certain happenings and thus got true facts from the relationship between the disciplines involved. Hence, secondary source and personal observation offered great help in making this work a success.
1.7 Definition of Terms
It is pertinent, for the sake of clarity, to define certain words which appear in this thesis to help one understand them as used in the study.
They are as follows:
Walker (2004: 127) holds that the word science is the knowledge of facts, phenomena, laws, and proximate causes gained and verified by exact observation, organized experiments and correct thinking, and also the sum of universal knowledge. In the same vein, Awache (2001: 29), say that science is concerned with material universe, seeking to discover facts about it and to fit those facts into conceptual schemes called theories or laws that will clarify the relations among them. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of the current English by A.S. Hornby, Science is the study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world and society, especially, through observation and experiment.
With the above ideas, science must therefore begin with observation of objects or events in the physical universe. The objects or events may occur naturally or they may be products of planned experiments, but the important point is that they must be observed either directly or indirectly. It rests on the assumption that all events of the universe can be described by physical theories and laws, and that we get the data with which to formulate those theories and laws with the aid of our senses.
Stressing it further, Obe (1996: 43) opined that science is the knowledge gained by observation and testing of facts. From the inference, science is an exposition and expression of natural designs through the collection of data, experimentation and formulation of theories and laws for the maximum utilization of those designs. Hence, science is the foundation of technology according to Okeke (1999: 30).
According to the New International Webseter’s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English language edited by Walker et al (2004: 288), technology is the theoretical knowledge of industries and industrial arts. In its second meaning, it presents technology as the application of science to the arts. From these, we are made to understand that technology put what science discovered in a concrete form. Therefore, technology is the end product of science.
Hogg (2009: 48) maintained that technology is that, that finishes what science began. So science sets the ball rolling while technology scores the goal.
The word “Church” takes its origin from the Greek word “Ekklesia” meaning the congregation of the people of God. In Hebrew, church is translated “Kahal Yahweh” the community of God. In the Jewish background, it is “edhah” which translates assembly like synagogue where people congregate for purpose of worshiping God. So, one can speak of the building where the people of God assemble for worship as the church. Again, the world church also refers to a branch of Christianity. As a result, there are many churches around the world today. These denominations raise the question “which church?” (Achunike, 1996: 18).
By and large the word Church is presented in this paper as the congregation of the People of God and what it takes to be.
In this work, the word religion is used interchangeably with the word church. This is because the two terms concern the worship of God and salvation of man, even though religion defies a generally accepted definition. When people come together for worship, what they are doing is religion. So religion being the recognition of our duty as divine command according to Otto (2015: 18) signifies that the group of people doing religion is the same with the people who come together for the purpose of worship.