Christianity and Culture: The thin line

Our Guest

Mr. Dojeh James Esq. is a retired teacher in both Secular and Sunday school for over 30 years. He attended St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos. Bendel State University, Abraka (NCE Economics and Christian Religious Studies). Lagos State University, Ojo (BA/ED Christian Religious Studies). He taught in several public schools in Lagos State and had many in service training. Secretary Worldwide Anglican Church 2017 till date. A Retired Director of Education. He is happily married with children.

 

The Interview

Temitayo Teniola: My name is Teniola, I am from Peculiar Ministers. We bring greetings to you from Peculiar ministers andĀ  we thank you for honouring our invitešŸ˜Š

Mr Dojeh James: How are you?

Temitayo Teniola: Very well, thank you.

Temitayo Teniola: Culture and Religion has been in existence for a while now and the two play a significant role in our present age and time? Hence, what is the philosophy of Religion?

Mr Dojeh James: There are many theories of Religion of which none had been accepted by all the writers. It could be viewed from different perspectives. From the angle of the people, political, social, environment, etc. It is the belief in a supreme deity who has the power over our fate or destiny. Karl Marx said, “it is the opium of the masses”. Therefore it permit the whole of human being whether in the city or in the rural area.

Temitayo Teniola: I am with you.

Mr Dojeh James: However, Culture on the second hand have to deal with the ways of life of the people. Being their language, dressing, food, interaction, etc.

Temitayo Teniola: With this much insight, in your own words what is Religion to you?

Dojeh James: Religion is the belief in the Super Natural Being, who control the universe. It is the way we adhere to the Supreme deity. It is how we honour and worship Him. Religion controls the life of man in the spiritual realm.

Temitayo Teniola: What religion are you into?

Mr Dojeh James: All human beings must belong to one religion or the other. Those that say that there is no God (atheist) are only denying the existence of the supreme being. I am in the Christian Faith.

Teniola Temitayo: Does religion affects culture?

Mr Dojeh James: Yes. Religion is thus expressed and clothed in culture guise. In understanding religion is to study the human culture. The reciprocal interaction between culture and religion must be recognized. Religion is determined by culture, but religion also influence culture.

Temitayo Teniola: In what way does religion influence culture?

Mr Dojeh James: In Africa before the arrival of Christianity and Islam, we have our traditional religion. Some of these were offering human as sacrifice and some of the people were living in tents and caves. The dressing were no go area and there were no unified language. When the Christian religion came, human sacrifice were stopped, schools were built, hospital and better housing were introduced. Hamlets were transformed to villages and towns.

The Culture or worshiping in shrines were changed to worshiping in bigger, better and neat environment called Churches. The mode of dressing also changed. New food were introduced, new languages, in fact, formal education was introduced. These are just some influence religion had over culture.

Temitayo Teniola: Culture is a way of life like you said earlier and then Christianity is said to be a lifestyle i.e a way of life. Hence, can culture and Christianity be merged?

Mr Dojeh James: Both religion and culture are intertwine. Both have social interaction. In African Traditional Religion and Culture, when we are in any calamity, we will run to the priest who is also the voice of the gods for help. The physical and the spiritual cannot be separated.

So the Christianity and culture are doing the same thing today. Some men of God now deliver people from the evil powers. They also sometimes hypnotized their members which the traditional also magically performed culturally. That is to say culture has entered into Christianity. Some so-called men of God even go to the traditionalist to acquire power.

Mr Dojeh James: People dress culturally to the Church. Churches even organize cultural day in churches these days.

Temitayo Teniola: Is there a difference between culture and tradition?

Mr Dojeh James: They are also intertwined. Tradition is as it was so shall it be. Tradition is maintaining the culture and preserving it to the next generation. That was the reason the Jews were after the life of the early Christians. For they were afraid that Judaism which was their traditional religion was at risk of extinction and to persecute the Christians was the way out.

Teniola Temitayo: So they work hand in hand. Thank you.

Temitayo Teniola: What is the difference between a Christian and a Believer?

Mr Dojeh James: A believer is anyone who change from one faith to the other, but a christian is that one who is a follower of Jesus Christ and has surrounded his life to Him.

Temitayo Teniola: What is the thin line between Religion and Culture?

Mr Dojeh James:The thin line between culture and religion is lukewarmness in Christendom. They are like two edge sword.

Temitayo Teniola: Last question. Sometimes we are stuck in cultural tradition and old mindset that has been passed down. We tend to remain on that mentality and it affects us a lot. What can we do to avert this mentality and how can we reevaluate ourselves?

Mr Dojeh James: On that ground one has to stand firm and should not compromise with culture as a Christian. Because the Bible says, we should not be equally yoked together with the unbelievers.

Temitayo Teniola: We have come to the end of this great session, Thank you for dwelling on each question carefully. With love from us all at Peculiar Ministers. God bless!

One thought on “Christianity and Culture: The thin line

Leave a comment