Christianity is one of the most influential religions of the world. With over 2.3 billion adherents, the Christian religion is made up of over 31% of the world population.
According to Oxford University Press Dictionary, 2012, Christianity is the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. It is the beliefs and practices of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and it originated among the Jews. Christians believe that the Almighty God sent His son Jesus Christ to redeem the world.
Any meaningful and effective Christian approach to the traditional religions must begin from the culture of the people. The positive influence of Christianity is far-reaching, especially in the rich history of the people of Orlu, Imo State, Nigeria. According to Fredericks (1999), our increased sense of religious diversity has led to new forms of interreligious cooperation and civility.
The African society requires different dimensions of change and transformation, which Christian religion can impact. Three dimensions of change were identified by Ross (1955). They include horizontal change, vertical change, and speedy change.
This article underscores the impact of the Christian religion on the lives and culture of the people of the Orlu zone.
Christianity has both helped and hurt eastern society by contributing in many areas. According to the Pew Forum, with more than 2 billion of its adherents occupying nearly every corner of the globe, Christianity is the world’s largest religion. The impact the Christian faith has made on society varies by culture and period, but it undoubtedly has influenced more people and more history than any other among the world’s religions.
Whether positive or negative, its far-reaching influence in most cases has been profound. Christianity was the major influence of western civilization, Direct and indirectly, Christianity nearly shaped every aspect of the Orlu zone and the regions that settled it.
Beginning with the Roman Catholic’s adoption of Christianity in the 10th century as the official religion of Rome, the religion has shaped Orlu society. Beyond classical influences, practically all western institutions from philosophy to the arts for example began and remained for centuries vehicles for the gratification of God. Religion governed how people interacted with one another and molded their understanding of the world. Even a time itself, from major holidays to the measurement of centuries originated from Christianity.
The positive impact of the Christian religion
Although the two have not always been compatible, science, as we know it today, would not exist without the work of Christian Jesuits.
The university system began with Christian centers of learning and human service to the poor, sick, and disabled originated with the operative of Christ’s commandment to love one another. Principles originating with Biblical notions of human fairness define most modern law and helped nurture notions of democracy and liberty. Borrowing a sociological concept, Christianity was the single most powerful variable serving to maintain the function of society, from individual to societal behavior.
The negative impact of the Christian religion
In name of Christ, yet entirely contrary to his teachings, Christians extinguished entire human societies. Institutions of operations, slavery, and conquest through warfare have all been justified by their practitioners.
Economic greed and unjust social stratification all found Christians at their forefront. The biblical responsibility to be good stewards has meant using it in any way some Christians saw fit and thus good stewardship often became a way to conceal self-interest and justify a variety of efforts over the centuries that have harmed the world. Blamed for everything from being what Karl Max called an opiate of the people to the cause of the human ecology collapse, Christianity is among the most feared and despised institutions among many people.
The increasing secularization of society has conflicted with long-held Christian social beliefs.
The sanctity of life, marriage, and family has directly confronted a growing tolerance of the rights of women and gay people.
Friction invariably results as the strength of traditional Christian values is diluted by notions of Christ’s love extending to people holding less traditional beliefs.
Well over 80 percent of Orlu zone continue to identify themselves as Christians, and how that plays out in the religion’s evolution remains to be seen.
Perhaps modern Christianity’s greatest contribution is through its missionary work, whose efforts to combat disease and hunger in lesser developed countries have saved millions of lives especially children.
Christians would not become a unified group for centuries after the life of Christ. They were a motley collection of sects, some Gentile, some strongly influenced by Judaism. Paul’s interpretation provided a unifying framework but it took an emperor to consolidate a working definition. Likewise, the orthodox church influences our society with its doctrine until the first missionaries came to Orlu and began to preach the good news of salvation and the Pentecostal church started in Orlu about 1940s it impacted knowledge of God in our people.
Though the missionaries then suffered persecution, especially; in the hand of our forefathers, yet they established some churches.
Roman Catholic system that increasingly targeted Christians for persecution.
Through education Christianity has impacted our society, several of the functions of education are pertinent to Christian education as well. Through Sunday schools, coursework, Bible school training, and so on, Christian education preserves the Christian heritage by passing it from generation to generation. It enriches student’s lives by expanding their intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual horizons. It improves personal adjustment through personal counseling and offering subjects in Bible, Christian family life, Christian ethics, drug abuse, and proper sex education. Knowing the importance of these functions many mission organizations have established Christian schools from the elementary to the college level in non-Christian countries, so in our zone, Christianity has impacted a lot in lives of people, individually, family, impartation in all aspects of life both in positive and negative areas, as I said before, Orlu was once a bush area but Christianity has brought about changes and development in Orlu zone. All societies have a system of beliefs and practices which people can use to deal with problems of human suffering, death, and life after death, Religion provides these answers through many forms. The simplest form is fetishism, which endows lifeless objects with supernatural powers for good and evil. Most major religions today are god-centered, having one or many gods. Sociology however is not interested in the content or unique features of a particular religion.
It studies religion as a social experience and presents several universal features of institutionalized religion. Each religion has a core belief about certain convictions about the supernatural and man’s relation to it.
These beliefs may be unwritten or recorded. Both Jewish and Christian beliefs, for example, are related to the Bible.
Many religions involve a hierarchy of roles. These may be a chain of command of authority as in the Roman Catholic Church. Also, most religions have symbols that help to emphasize the meaning of what is sacred. The cross and communion are symbols of the Christian faith according to Roman Catholic, but they helped in many ways by building hospitals, schools, and some other things that are necessary to maintain life, later Pentecostal come up with great faith and zeal preaching about the kingdom of God then their preaching change that of Roman Catholic.
Several functions of religion have been noted by sociologists, religion serves as a socialization force and as a means of social control. Recall the instruction Moses gave the people in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, to hid the commands.
So the Orlu zone is like the people of Israelites they engaged themselves in worshipping an idol, practicing witchcraft, and all the rest of abominable things until the missionaries came from Europe with Roman Catholic doctrine and used it to dominate the Orlu zone.
Roman catholic almost influence everywhere in Orlu senatorial zone they started building churches, schools, health centers, and hospitals. They were using this method to gain ground so much in Orlu around the 1940s – 1960s.
Later SMS well known as the Anglican church came to Orlu with their zeal of repentance, they were going about talking about repentance and some people were coming out from Roman Catholic and joining them, they created an impact much more in the society, but not long they started going back from that of their zeal and began to compromise with the Roman Catholic Church; they were somehow moving the same way like them.
And another set of people who came up with their doctrine is known as Cherubim and Seraphim Church and our people followed them. To these people, they only believe in prophecy as if it is the whole thing, and they helped on their own. A lot of people were caught with the fear of God, but repentance was not there and was moving like that in the Orlu zone without salvation, but churchgoers. Even Sabbath has this same, almost method with Cherubim and Seraphim. All of them continued dominating our place Orlu zone.
But the point is that those churches helped in different ways. Later Assemblies of God came to the place called Umugara in Nkwere around the 1960s with their Pentecostal movement and preaching that Jesus is coming very soon. Their zealousness was so much no matter the persecution in the society, they were passing through. Some people were sent out of their houses, some children were stopped from going to school, Assemblies of God laid a good foundation of Christianity in the Orlu zone, though they started with a poor background, they were unable to build schools, hospitals, and every other thing life required, they could not provide but God was with them.
The power of God was so much on them to the extent that barren women came to their church, the woman will conceive and a lot of miracles were following them. God used them to impact life positively in our zone Orlu. Men and women were happy by that great change in the system of Christianity, where people can now know they are left from their right in serving God. Some people began to throw away their idols that were in their position, some burn their own.
Though it was not easy for the earlier Christians, God helped them to conquer and today we are enjoying the victory God has given to them. So the impact of the Christian religion in the Orlu senatorial zone brought a great change in society. Churches were planted all over the society, missionaries were everywhere in the system evangelizing, preaching was going on, morning cry, night combing, everywhere was hot, people were repenting in mass, irrespective of the persecution from left and right in the society.
Anybody that knows the Orlu zone must believe that Orlu was the heart of idol worship in ancient days, but the impartation of Christian religion brought a kind of revival in the Orlu senatorial zone that caused a lot of change in people’s life.
The impartation of Christian religion brought much development to society. The society started seeing themselves as one in the Lord, there was peace among believers, good things began to come like good roads, hospitals, schools, building markets as people were enjoying the good atmosphere, they were thanking God, Almighty.
No more worshipping Amadioha, Agwisi, Njaba, Ogwugwu. These are the gods our people were serving in the past before Christianity came into existence, and we all are happy over it. We, the entire society are grateful unto God for His love towards us by extending such grace to us that we shall be among the people of God. At least now in our place, Christianity is influencing almost everywhere in the Orlu zone, it is worth thanking God with. The impact of Christian religion opened our people’s eyes about God, and it helped society in a greater way though there are still problems in some areas in the Orlu zone, I believe God will help us out in Jesus’ name.
Charles Hooper. Faith Facts.
Francisco, Benna Crawford. 1997.
Fredericks, J. L. (1999). Faith Among Faiths: Christian Theology and Non-Christian Religions. New York: Paulist Press. Retrieved from Google Scholar.
Ross, E. (1955). Impact of Christianity in Africa. Sage Journals: The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
The Pew Forum. Global Christianity of the World Population.