Religion continues to kill Nigerians

I’ve long been following the crisis in Nigeria. People have been murdering each other for quite some time there, with part of the basis being fertile farm land, part of it being poverty, part of it being government corruption, but the biggest part being religion. The most recent attacks reflect that.

Nigerian authorities on Friday arrested 92 people allegedly affiliated with a militant Islamist group that the government says is responsible for a string of recent killings in the country’s northeast.

Three men were arrested with bombs in their possession in the vicinity of Jos on Christmas Day, authorities said

The Jos region lies on a faith-based fault line between Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria and the mainly Christian south.

At least four people were killed and another 13 wounded Friday in a bomb blast at an army barracks in Abuja [on New Year's eve], the deputy police commissioner said.

I would prefer not to have the perfect example to illustrate the point that religion causes divide and fosters violence, but it is what it is. Without Christianity and without Islam dividing the city of Jos, Nigerians would either be able to more easily resolve issues over farm land or they wouldn’t have any violence in the first place. (These most recent attacks are driven by extremists, but it remains that many of the other attacks have been over non-religious issues which are heightened and worsened by the presence of religion.)

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28 Responses

  1. Or they would find something else to kill each other over, ivory coast comes to mind or is there some religious overtone you would like to blame for that also?

    I’m quite certain people killed each other before religion and do so still, quite happily, without regard to it.

    What was World War 2 over again? World War 1? The American Civil War? The American Revolution maybe?

    I see other things killing a lot more people than religion could ever in its wildest dreams kill.

  2. Wars and other violence are caused by things people care about, regardless of what the specifics are.

    Unless you have someway to instill constant and limitless apathy in the people of the world even getting rid of religion won’t stem the flow of violence.

  3. What a denialist you are Nate. You have to protect your foul religion with all kinds of excuses. Pathetic.

  4. I just resent this idea that religion is the sole problem in the world. As if other things that even you hold dear do not cause death and destruction.

    Do you have a counter point? I cant recall any global conflicts caused by religion. Could you enlighten me?

  5. The divide in Nigeria is defined by religious groups. Right now Muslims and Christians both want to obtain the best farm land for their own people. Perhaps they would still have violence in Jos without religion (though not the violence specifically fueled by extremist Muslims), but I’m not sure where the definition for it would originate; the two groups would not be fighting if there was nothing to define their existence.

  6. No one said it is the SOLE problem. That is a straw-man argument. The purpose is to deflect, as usual

    I cant recall any global conflicts caused by religion. Could you enlighten me?

    Are you kidding me? I can’t believe you are that ignorant.

  7. I only think that some people tend to frame it like everything would be hunky dory if religion went away. It wouldn’t be, things might even be worse in some places.

    Well Bob? How many large scale conflicts can you think of caused by religion? I can think of none.

    Michael, you’re certainly right about this particular, small in the scheme of things, conflict. Religion is a contributing factor in this case. How many peaceful areas of Africa are there? In most of the worst areas religion is hardly a issue if one at all.

  8. You are such a pathetic loser, Nate.

    Israel and the Muslims! 100% religion caused.

    Darfur! 99% religion caused.

    Pakistan vs India! 100% religion caused.

    Formally the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. 100% religion caused.

    and many, many more, currently and previously.

    Anyone with a junior high education knows all this.

  9. Associated Press Maggie Michael And Lee Keath, Associated Press – 43 mins ago

    ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – Christians clashed with Egyptian police in the northern city of Alexandria on Saturday, furious over an apparent suicide bombing against worshippers leaving a New Year’s Mass at a church that killed at least 21 people. It was the worst violence against the country’s Christian minority in a decade.

  10. I didn’t say there were no conflicts, Bob,

    As far as Darfur, I think you’ll find ethnicity to be different than religion. With ethnicity being the dominant issue.

    Pakistan and India happen to be rivals, much like the US and the Soviet Union were. On a low level the two (or three) different religions may contribute today but the conflict over how the two countries were split led to the issues, not their different religions, at least not chiefly.

    As far as Ireland goes… the Irish were oppressed before England even became a protestant country. When they split with the church that simply added more fuel to the fire it didn’t cause it.

    Your last one here, is interesting. How much violence has happened over the austerity measures across Europe. In comparison this suicide bombing is small fries,

  11. I typically deal with you fairly politely. I have my moments I know, but really you seem to have much less of a grasp on civility than I do.

  12. Bullshit excuses, lies and obfuscation is what you deal in Nate Pathetic.

  13. Case in point.

  14. Yet another post here, fouled and diverted by Nate, so it’s time to unsubscribe and leave the cesspool that resulted.

  15. Cut and run? Why is that your answer anytime I don’t fall in line with your thinking? Whether I’m right or wrong it seems to be a poor debate tactic on your part. I’ll take another win by default if I must.

  16. The writer of this piece correctly identified that the terrorists who set off the bombs targeting the Christian civilians were Muslims or rather Muslim extremists. That’s the only correct thing he wrote.

    Rather than say “Religion continues to Kill Nigerians”, he should have said “Islamic Fundamentalism continues to claim Nigerian lives”. That way, it demonstrates a proper understanding that the source of this senseless loss of life is the radical or extremist positions taken by some adherents of the Islamic faith. The result is a vicious carnage that has claimed not just Christian lives (the primary targets), but the lives of Muslims and non-religious people as well.

    Needless to say, some Christians may carry out their own revenge attacks, but it is more likely that in the near future, the issue will be handled by law enforcement. It is really a matter of isolating the Islamic terrorists responsible for the bombings and dealing with them appropriately. Otherwise, it could easily escalate into a full-blown religious war.

    Lastly, someone needs to inform the writer that the people responsible for these attacks are not fighting over mere pieces of farmland.

  17. That the most recent example involves extremists does not somehow negate the fact that violence has been erupting all around Jos and the rest of the country for entirely different reasons.

    Nigeria currently faces multiple religious issues. One is the above mentioned extremism. But the other revolves around land. The nation is submerged in deep poverty and that puts a premium on whatever will most enrich its people. In this case, farm land is at the top of the list. This may lead to violence in any circumstance, but that violence is given a very specific direction because of the two dominate religions in the region.

  18. “That the most recent example involves extremists does not somehow negate the fact that violence has been erupting all around Jos and the rest of the country for entirely different reasons.”

    This is a correct GENERAL statement. However, the devil is in the details.

    “Nigeria currently faces multiple religious issues. One is the above mentioned extremism. But the other revolves around land. The nation is submerged in deep poverty and that puts a premium on whatever will most enrich its people. In this case, farm land is at the top of the list. This may lead to violence in any circumstance, but that violence is given a very specific direction because of the two dominate religions in the region.”

    In as much as I am not going to pretend that there are no communal clashes in Nigeria caused by a struggle for farmland, it behooves you to clarify the true nature of the struggles in Nigeria especially these recent Jos Bombings. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country and the 7th largest exporter of crude oil. So the problem isn’t as you claim that the country is submerged in debilitating poverty to the point that people have begun to slaughter themselves to obtain arable farmlands.

    Mass violence in Nigeria is often politically-motivated, religiously-inspired or based on ethnicity. These are the major reasons why there may be the occasional outburst of communal violence–not the insinuation about people fighting over land for agriculture.

    Now, when YOU read foreign reports that some particular city or state-wide violence may have been caused by a struggle for farmland specifically, I’d like you to consider that a very simplistic analysis. When you properly investigate, it often boils down to a politically-motivated struggle with subtle or overt ethnic undertones.

    So, in an area for instance, populated by people of different ethnic groups or ethnic-nationalities, and who have differing political convictions, it could be the case that one ethnic group may claim to be the original indigenes of the land and perceive another ethnic group to be foreigners or visitors to the land. If the perception is that the visiting or immigrant ethnic group in that area has become a thorn in the side of the majority host population, that can generate violent conflict over the land in that general area. As you can see, it might be reported that the clsshing sides were fighting over land, but in the right context, such a conflict is sectarian in nature and often politically based.

    In Jos and parts of the North, these seasonal bloody conflagrations are almost always of a religious or political nature.

  19. I’m not denying there is a lot more behind all the conflict. Of course there is. My whole point, however, is that religion is fueling much of the violence because it helps to define division.

    That said, the country has been facing clashes between farmers and nomads for some time now, even creating committees to try and ease tensions.

  20. The problem here is that religion is not relationship. I would argue that these people killing in the name of God have no relationship with God.

    Remember: Relationship, not religion.

    you cannot lump these people in with possessing Christians. They profess their faith, they don’t posses it.

  21. While religion itself is a motivator towards violence often enough, it need not be in order for me to make my point. Underlying the issue I have mostly been following (the dispute over land – though this article is distinct from that) is personal ability to prosper. But religion acts as a defining force for division. Without its presence in the region, the divide cannot be so clearly defined as an “us-versus-them” ordeal. It still has its definitions – farmers and nomads – but we had those same sort of definitions in America while the West was being settled. There was violence, but it was relatively easily resolvable violence.

  22. Any strong opinion can be a motivator towards violence. Whether it simply be your way of life or your beliefs.

    Again look at the violence that erupted in Britain over cost increases in education. It’s short of war or widespread killing, yes. But than wars have been fought over less.

  23. With all due respect Michael, religion is incapable of doing anything. Religion is an inanimate object. People act as the defining force for division. Their reason can be for anything. If their motivation falls outside of the confines of the Word of God…their motivation is not grounded in God. Just want to note that. Religion cannot do anything. You have to remember 1 Peter 3:15. Also remember Matthew 7:21-23. It is clear that many who kill in the name of God (christianity only) violate 1 Peter and will hear those words from Christ.

  24. I always wonder what it means to say people are responsible, not ideas or belief structures. It raises the question of what people are if they aren’t compositions of ideas and beliefs.

    Frank: I sought to faith heal my child out of my religion.

    Tom: No, you were your motivator, not your religion.

    Frank: Do you mean to say I have some sort of inherent motivator within me that makes me responsible for my actions? Can you define any of that for me?

    Tom: No.

  25. I always wonder what it means to try and remove all individual responsibility from the world.

    Crime isn’t the criminals fault, it was his up bringing.

    Violence, the people involved aren’t at fault their religion made them do it.

    The student didn’t fail, the school failed him. Because its the schools fault that smoking some crack was more important than math class to him.

  26. This reads almost exactly like a far-right essay if you just sub in the word “Islam” for religion.

    You say “without Christianity and without Islam” like its some kind of arbitrary element that someone could remove if given the right resources.

    Wouldn’t you expect some other kind of tribalism to take it’s place?

  27. Crime isn’t the criminals fault, it was his up bringing.

    This is the problem. You’re creating this artificial separation. The criminal is defined through his upbringing; he is not separate from it.

    Wouldn’t you expect some other kind of tribalism to take it’s place?

    It could. There are other divides in Nigeria, including the dispute between nomadic herders and farmers (despite what Godfather asserts). Just like when the West was being settled in America, violence is possible. But we also had neutral parties: there were (of course) people who had an interest in there being no violence and they had weak or no attachments to those directly involved in the dispute. In Nigeria, however, even for those who have no significant interest in the nomads or the farmers, they do have defining attachments – Christianity and Islam.

  28. So what if it is an artificial separation? Each person has a choice as to what their behavior is at a given time. If someone had a terrible upbringing than it does not warrant a lesser sentence or some kind of understanding on any ones part.

    People are responsible for their actions when they break they law. Their mother, their past or present financial situation or even their “funny” uncle don’t excuse behavior.

    You can try and stigmatize it by saying that is an artificial separation but that is what society demands. Past experience does not excuse present behavior, nor should it.

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