The Role of Religion in Development: Towards a New Relationship between the European Union and Africa. HAAR and ELLIS

“Religion cannot be regarded as a force destined to retreat from public space in any society that aspires to a high degree of technological achievement or of sophistication.” (352)

In the article “The role of religion in development : towards a new relationship between the European Union and Africa,’ I thought that the link between religion and development was laid out in a clear and informative way. As I am unreligious it seems to me that in development bodies there would be very little point to use religion and development together however this article has made me realise the importance that religion can play to development. In sub-Saharan Africa, religion provides a way for the people to be connected to the rest of the world through their religious beliefs. Outside of political bodies and international organisations, religion for many provides an additional means for aid to development.

The idea that religion is now misunderstood was one which I thought really supported the articles main argument to the importance of religion in development. The existence of an invisible world which is integral and cannot be reduced to the visible or material form really helped me understand that belief and religion to many people is different to the overall perception of religion in a country like the UK. In Africa, religion is made out to be more of a joining of community whereas in western societies where society is becoming more secular, ‘religion is often equated exclusively with its institutional expression.’ (354)

Religion can play a positive role in development. Religion has been a way for conflict prevention although countries like the USA would like to say that religion in African countries starts conflict rather than prevents it. I found this quite interesting as many conflict preventions do to some degree have religious tones when dealing with the situation although that may not be integral to initiatives. 

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