This panel sets out to (i) point out the hidden tension between secularism and religion in contemporary Africa; the competing presence of both in African social and political life and (ii) the dilemma of development ethics implied by this scenario.
This panel sets out to apply the critical tools of philosophy to (i) point out the hidden tension between secularism and religion in contemporary Africa and the competing presence of both in African social and political life. It will (ii)articulate how and why both of them qualify to be categorized as agents of development in a contemporary African context and (iii)interrogate this state of affairs with the view to pointing out the dilemma of development ethics implied by this scenario. In particular the panel will attempt to locate the expectations contemporary Africans make both of religion on the one hand and of secularism on the other hand to see the extent to which these expectations could be right. It will address such questions as: Under what ethical framework will contemporary Africa emerge as a strong, organized and powerful human community? Does religion or religious ethics deserve any role in contemporary African life? Is secularism or secular ethics a basic condition for proper development in Africa? What role should be assigned to religion in contemporary Africa, assuming that it is the case that religion is a basic demand of contemporary African life and why? How can this be done without the reversal of the African mind to the overbearing influence of dogmatism and anachronistic thinking that discourages the critical turn which leads to new forms of life that can properly reconfigure the African world?.