Newly Founded ‘Misso-Network African Theology’ Research Group to Engage ‘Experts’
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 15 September 2016
A newly founded international research group, "Misso-Network African Theology," which aims at promoting peace through studies on religion and violence in Africa plans to engage experts in the field of Theology and relevant Social Sciences.
Marco Moerschbacher of Missio-Aachen who was at the last week’s Nairobi conference where the group was founded, confirmed this to CANAA in an email interview on Thursday, September 15.
“The research group "Misso-Network African Theology" was founded and suggestions on further research given by speakers and participants,” Moerschbacher told CANAA in answering the question of whether the September 8-10 conference on religion and violence met its objectives.
According to Moerschbacher, the newly founded international research group “will try to identify specific research topics and allocate them to experts in the field. Further country reports will study the situation in Mali and Côte d'Ivoire.”
Asked about membership to the research group, Moerschbacher said, “The criteria would be interest and competence in Theology (or Social Sciences) and in the topic, as well as the readiness to commit oneself for some time (two years or so) to contribute and exchange.”
During the Nairobi conference, three speakers presented case studies on the situation in Tanzania, Côte d'Ivoire and Chad.
The presentations were followed by discussions and reflections based on ethical and biblical perspectives.
“The objectives of the conference were to discuss the issue of religion and violence in some African contexts and in general, to set up a research group to continue the research and to identify some points that needs further consideration and deepening,” Moerschbacher said.
The relations between Christians and Muslims in varying contexts, the relationship of these two religions towards African Traditional Religions (ATR), the hermeneutical questions with regard to interpretations of seemingly violent texts in the Bible and the Koran, and the political setting of African countries in the midst of international geo-strategical interests were among the main points of discussion during the Nairobi conference.
The Nairobi conference, which took place at Tangaza University College, recommended to continue the research and to deepen and widen it as to cover more countries in Africa.
A similar conference is planned to be held in two years’ time.
Moerschbacher told CANAA in conclusion, “The saying used to be, "if you want peace, prepare for war". We would say: If you want peace, look into and asses the conflictual situations, and prepare for peace."