Pentecostalism and the Culture of Fear in Contemporary African Communities: A Paradigm Shift
Ezenweke, Elizabeth Onyii

This paper examines the shifting dynamics from reference to God, to terror and fear in Nigerian socio-religious scenario as a typified African context. Typically, Africans are referred to be a highly religious society, which is typified in the multi-religious nature of modern African system. However, the influx of Pentecostalism in the recent past is fuelling strong emphasis on negative consequences of default in religious obligations. This is further exacerbated by the predominant African traditional religious beliefs on angry gods that kills at the slightest provocations. Consequently, the Christian God is now abstracted in the African gods; hence most misfortunes are interpreted as punishment from God hence, fear, horror and terror in every corner of life. This has far reaching consequences on the conduct of social relations and is having manifold implications on man interpretation of God. This paper therefore examines how this prevailing orthodoxy is fashioning typical Africa’s relation to God and even the social institutions. After arguing for possible dysfunctional implications of the evolving phenomenon, the paper recommends some strategic choices that would hopefully correct the observed anomaly.

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