Ethics, religion and humanity: Rethinking religion in 21st century Africa
First and foremost, religion is a human activity. Part of this understanding is that man is at the center of religion. This holds two implications. One, man is religious for self-development and betterment. Two, since man is thrown into existence with other social beings, his religiosity directly and indirectly affects other social beings. He is therefore not alone in his religious activities. Thus, there is a relationship between religion, ethics and humanity. However, more often than not, religion is alleged for being a root cause of all human predicaments; that it provides viable and abundant fuel for conflict such that in every continent of the world, there are troubled spots rooted in religious conflicts. Although this allegation may have its older roots in Marx and Lenin, however, the condemnation it has received in recent times is sequel to the various lives and properties that have been wasted on account of it. More so, exploitation, corruption and other evils have been committed in the guise of religion. This, not withstanding the paper attempts to argue that religion qua religion is absolutely virtuous and not necessarily vicious and that the above allegations are the results of inhuman and unethical practices in religion and that these problems can be minimized when religious adherents appreciate the relationship between religion, ethics and humanity. The paper through its analytic and expository character exposes with concrete examples these inhuman and unethical practices in religion with reference to Nigerian experience and thereafter calls for reorientation on the part of religious practitioners and the consequent repositioning of religion for all- human benefits.