Religion and control of stress for national development Religion plays important roles in human’s life, activities and cultural practices. It restructures and influences his other endeavours including stress control. In Nigerian traditional ethnic groups, traditional religion plays important role in controlling the total life of the people. Today, apart from the traditional religion, Christianity and Islam are the two predominant religions practiced. Their cumulative effects of long patronage have continued to thrive till date with the active communities still practicing their chosen faiths.

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Religion appeals to the emotional feelings of members and uplifts their spirit, relax and relieve stress. It also serves as an outlet for other experiences of worship. Nwaike (1999) states: For the poor and oppressed sectors of the community, frustration and stress are their most likely lot in life. From the point of view of social order, the way to prevent this sector of the society from resorting to violence and wanton destruction is through organized religious practices. These give expression to their emotions and relieve their tension.

In Nigeria, her large population that contributes to the national development is faced with many economic, political and social problems such as: non payment of salary, poor maintenance of the dilapidated roads which cause holdup, lack of good water supply, food, diseases, and lack of electricity supply and hike in fuel price. They have put heavy stresses on the citizenry with no hope, help and possible relief coming from the government. The people now take solace in religion which seems to have solutions to their distress. Nwaike (1999) explained

So sociologists believe that the great evils of want, ignorance and disease are the main things that make religion attractive to people as it affords them the means of controlling stress. That is also the reason for which old people and widows belong to religious organizations. It is not uncommon to see many people attending their various religions because of one form of problem or the other. Problems ranging from spiritual, economic, political, social and health problems are some stresses which are taken to the various religions for solutions. Religion relieves them of their worries by offering ope and asking them to have strong faith in the religion. In doing this, their stressful conditions are resolved thereby allowing them to contribute meaningful to the national development. Art and religion for economic development The economic policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria since 1980s to 2000 have been quite individualistic and business oriented with interest vested on crude oil as the major sources of earning. Little regard was paid to the huge profits accruing from Art and Religious activities which yield revenue for the development of the nation’s economy.

They are both contributing effectively to strengthening the economy. Art for economic development Nationally, Art, Design, Entertainment, Craft industries generate millions of naira in economic activities every year for spending on national development. The arts accomplish this economic obligations by producing art works that are used in communication industry as visual symbols. The art works such as computer digitalized posters, packages, labels, illuminated sign posts and other adverts placed on televisions and magazines are among the Art and design works which have made unquantifiable wealth to the nation for development.

Textile designs and fashion are major money earners which have boosted the economy. The Nigerian textile designs and fashions compete favourably in the world and are well sought for. In Nigeria, U. S. A and Britain, Africans and Afro Americans in Diaspora use them because of their beautiful designs and styles. The Nigerian music, entertainment, and films portray some aspects of Nigerian cultures, though some of them are mixed with the foreign ones. All of them appeal to emotions because of their quality. It is because of this that they are in great demand.

They yield revenue for national development. Nevertheless the contemporary Nigerian paintings and sculptures when exhibited also earn revenue. The tourism industries integrate art and entertainment to boost the industry. It yields profits which are ploughed into the economy for national development. Religion for economic development Religion is a part of the economic system of a nation and it affects the economic attitudes and behaviour of the citizenry. Nwaike (1999) says that “it is an employer of labour, it buys and sells and own property as well as contribute to gross national products. In Nigeria religion is playing an economic role. It acquires real estate to situate the religious buildings. Some religious organizations engage in the establishment of schools, healthcare, publishing, radio and television broadcasting. These activities in no small measures earn revenue to the economy for national development. Religion encourages engagements in business, but in doing so insists on such virtues as; honesty, fair play, honouring agreements and avoiding corruption. During religious festive periods (e. g.

Christmas and Id el fitri) huge sums are sunk back into the economy to celebrate these occasions. Religion provides employment to her qualified priests and other religious  workers who practice, expand, preserve  and teach the doctrines of the various religions. This has reduced unemployment from the economy as the various religions encourage dignity of labour which helps in national development. Majority of their earnings from adherents are deposited in the banks for security purposes and this in a way boost the economy for the national development.

Since the money is utilized by banks as credit facilities. Art and religion and their contribution to politics and national development Art and religion play complimentary roles in the politics of the nation. Without each knowing it they are greatly involved in the enlightenment of the citizenry by educating them on what political activities to expect and how to conduct themselves during and after elections. Art specifically produces the adverts, slogans, posters and handbills which portray the ideologies of each political parties in the nation who are seeking to be elected into power.

It also produces visual information which gives insight into the government programmes, schemes and agenda. Through the use of drama and theatre arts some of the national policies are communicated to the citizenry in a more vivid form; programmes such as immunization, corruption, abuse of the naira are passed to the people for enlightenment. Drama and theatre arts are used to entertain government visitors, diplomats and the citizenry at the Eagle Square Abuja during presidential invitations such as president Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. Religion on the other hand is playing very important role in the nation’s political development.

It prepares the mind of members on government policies and rulership. The member pray through their various religions for the success of the Nigerian government. But above all the two major religious, Christianity and Islam are used for the opening prayers of any government engagements either at the local, state and national level. Religion is fully observed before the commencement of any government programmes. Art and religion are veritable instruments which have diligently aided the government and political development in Nigeria as they harmoniously join with politics to develop the nation.

Art and religion in teaching morals for national development Nigerian national development may not have succeeded because of some members of the nation who are corrupt. They hinder national development by so doing. The types of corruption witnessed in the nation’s development range from, disobedience to law and constituted authorities, electoral corruption, moral corruption and financial corruption. In its pursuit to reduce graft in the world, the transparency international embarked on an annual grading of countries according to their degree of financial corruption.

In its 2006 index, Nigeria was considered to be the 6th most corrupt, country falling from the 5th position in 1998 to the most corrupt in 2001 and 2nd most corrupt in 2003 respectively. Corruption is injurious to national development because corrupt leaders siphon the money that is meant for national development into their numerous foreign accounts abroad leaving the nation underdeveloped with breakage of law and order and other social amenities, armed robbery, ritual killing and kidnapping becoming the other of the day.

Some of the various programmes that were introduced to fight corruption in the nation were designed by arts which pass information on zero corruption. In doing this, the art teaches morality to the citizenry to know how to behave when dealing with each other and other nationals in order to promote national development. The activities of some agencies fighting corruption, drug trafficking and fake drugs are communicated to the citizens through the visual arts and audio visual means to drive home the information that is meant to reform the citizenry.

Cartoons, illustrations are some of the visual art which are produced to teach morals as in stress relief. Religion equally preaches high moral standards to members of the nation who are contributing efficiently to the nation’s development. The watchtower (2009) explains that “Good religion elevates our thinking and shows us how to improve our conduct. It supports us in the struggle to do what is right and brings out the best in us. ” Most religions in the nation condemn corruption in the preaching of their faith. They in obedience to their various faith preach against sin and immorality to members.

They encourage good morals because virtuous living is an important instrument for happy living and meaningful development of a nation. A nation whose chairman of local governments, governors of the states and president are living in corruption will continue to remain undeveloped because the leaders will always be involved in wrongdoings, maladministration and stealing of the nation’s money. Religion addresses the problem of corruption in the nation by trying to change the corrupt nature of the citizenry. Their preaching of morality places it as the light which judges darkness.

It is unfortunate that the majority of the citizens who belong to one religion or the other may not have been observing these moral teaching since corruption still soars high in the nation retarding its development. Conclusion Art and Religion play important roles in the development of ethnic groups in Nigeria. It holds the societies together. In contemporary Nigerian life the two human endeavour serve many functions which develop the nation. In Nigeria many developmental programmes were initiated to develop the nation, but unfortunately they failed because the programmes were individualistic and business oriented.

This calls for the inclusion of Art and Religion to play some roles in national development. Art and religion control stress from the citizenry. While art produces the works, religion preaches hope and strong faith. They relieve members of stress making them to contribute meaningfully to national development. Economically Art earns revenue for national development through art works and designs while Religion also engages in business which develop nations. Finally, Art and Religion help to project politics as they also teach good virtues which are necessary for Nigerian national development.

References Ademakinwa, A. (2007) “Ancient and Modern Arts and their Linkage to Social Reality”. Revisiting History through the Arts, Abuja: National Gallery of Arts. Akunya, L. I. (2006)  Fundamentals of Demography. Owerri: WEBS Media Communications. Anyachonkeya, N. (2006)  Omuma Heritage… Owerri: Chukwuemeka Printers and Publishers. Black, J. (2003)  Oxford Dictionary of Economics. New York: Oxford University Press. Eze, N. (2008) Advent of New Art Materials: Processes and Technical Uses. Journal of language, Arts and Cultural Studies. Vol. 1, pg. 100-113. Nwaike, E. C. 1919)  An Introductory Sociology of Religion. Owerri: Ihem Davis Press Ltd. Okonkwo, V. N. (1998)  The Role of Music Performance in National Development, Nigerian Journal of Arts and Social Sciences. Vol. 2, Nos. 1&2. Smeeths, R. (1975) Signs, Symbols and Ornaments. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. The Bible (R. S. V. ) 1 Thessalonians 5: 14. The Watchtower (August 1, 2009)  Good Religion promotes high moral standards. Watchtower bible and tract society. New York. Vol. 13, No. 15. Home | Instructors | Journals | Contact Us Copyright (c) 2008 – 2010, Transcampus Interdisciplinary Research


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