Two things have consistently divided men; religion and culture. Every man, irrespective of the family background, happens to be influenced over time by the culture of his people and the religion he/she practices. Oftentimes, decisions as regard what to or not do are influenced by these two and although in most cases, both seem to have same opinion about an issue, however, a time comes when it seems that an individual’s culture contradicts his/her religious belief and vice verse.
Hence, there is a need to bridge the gap, for peaceful co-existence and healthy living. Culture in its simplest term can be said to be the way of life adopted by a certain group of people as dictated by the beliefs and traditions of their forefathers while religion can be said to be a belief or way of life that is based on a ‘supernatural’ being.
Oftentimes conflict between how an individual was brought up (culture) and what he grows up to believe in (religion), is inevitable, however, such conflicts can be resolved by finding a common ground.
In an attempt to do this, cultural beliefs should be critically examined by the individual in order to ascertain the basis for such belief especially when such contradicts one’s religious belief, in so doing, it will be easy to disagree/agree with such belief.
Religion oftentimes happens to take precedence when faced with conflicting traditional beliefs, however, the ability to make the right decision lies in sound knowledge of both cultural and religious practices. Most often than not, seemingly confusing beliefs are due to ignorance of the reasons behind such practice/believe.
In every society, there appears to be different religious and cultural beliefs and despite this, it is expected that individuals coexists peacefully and respect each others’ belief/tradition, being able to do this requires a sense of humanity as well as recognition of the fact that upbringing and exposure influences one’s culture and the religious belief practiced by an individual and that every man is entitled to a right to choose whichever religion that suites him/her.
A cultural belief that prevents one from performing his/her duties/obligations as a citizen, at any level, should be reassessed in the knowledge of what is right or wrong to do, rather than simply accepting it.
Our culture is our heritage and must be preserved, however, religion plays a role in fine tuning this heritage. The ability to bridge the gap between what we grew up to belief and what we were made from birth to belief lies in discovering for ourselves the basis for such beliefs and as such applying knowledge as a bridge to connecting our culture with our religious beliefs.