Volume 3, December 2011
RELIGION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: THE ROLE OF NIGERIAN INTELLECTUALS
Saheed, Zakaree S. and Alofun, G.O.O.
Department of Economics and Management Sciences, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna College of Social and Management Sciences, Achievers University, Owo, Nigeria Email: email@example.com
ABSTRACT This paper examines the relationship between religion and sustainable development, as well as the role of Nigerian intellectuals in ameliorating religious crisis in the country. Religion, as a system of faith is based on belief in the existence of a particular God or gods, to some extent, influences or contributes in developing and coordinating the expression of the capacities latent in human nature for the progress of the society. All the elements that made up the resources originating from human are expressed in their actions, behaviour and daily activities, either in positive and constructive ways, or in a negative and destructive ways, especially with respect to their inherent power to generate value by leveraging other production variables for economic growth and development. Empirical results obtained, using descriptive analysis approach, indicate that religion plays an important role in shaping the moral and social values necessary for development. Based on these findings, some recommendations are offered which include: Re-examine education policies in the light of its contribution to individual growth and to bring about fundamental structural changes in society, changes which are necessary for the creation of a just, peaceful, and harmonious environment, hence teachers and other intellectuals must be a model of nobility, selfactualization and discipline, since sound character is ultimately more important than intellectual brilliance.. Keywords: Religion, Economic growth, Amelioration, Tolerance and Intellectuals. INTRODUCTION A religion can be broadly described as a set of common belief and practices generally held by a group of people. Oxford Learner Dictionary described religion as a system of faith that is based on belief in the existence of a particular God or gods. According to Oke, Oloruntimehin and Akinola (1996), it is generally accepted by social scientists that people’s religious beliefs and their social organizations are closely interrelated. They quoted Emile, as noted that religion is a social artifact symbolizing what a society considers sacred and the most sacred thing to any society is the society itself. In view of this, religion provides an organized picture of the universe and establishes a more or less orderly relationship between man and his surroundings. Early economists and other researchers have paid little attention to any link between religion and economic development, rather it is seen as something personal between man and his God. The early relationship between religion and economic was established by Marx, who was of the opinion that the strength of an economy would influenced a religion or belief. However, the like of Max Weber, an eminent sociologist of early 20th century was of contra opinion. According to him, the source of the growth of the western economy is religion, especially the reformation of protestant and its doctrine about 40
Religion and Economic Development: the Role of Nigerian Intellectuals
Saheed, Zakaree S. and Alofun, G.O.O.
simplicity and moral responsibility to work (Skousen, 2007). Weber Marx (1930), believe that capitalism originated from religious ideals and not historical materialism. Specifically, the protestant reformation teachings changed the western culture, and led to the rise of capitalism, which in turn led to the growth and development of their economy. Islam as a religion also played a positive role in the development of the Arab society and transformed it to such a remarkable extent that it not only overcame its...