In Things Fall Apart, how does education advance Christianity among the Igbo people?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Chapter that is most relevant to this question is Chapter Twenty One, which narrates the increasing influence that the missionary, Mr. Brown is gaining in the community. As Mr. Brown talks more and more with Akunna and gains more knowledge about the world view of the tribe, he realises that a "frontal attack" on this belief system will not work, and so he tries a subtler attack using education as his principle method. He builds a school in the community and Mr. Brown asks families to send their children there, saying that learning to read and write would make them future leaders of the land. Education and the way that it was shown to result in social advancement therefore became a key policy helping to expand Christianity. In the story, you can note the impact of this policy and how it helped spread Christianity in the quote about "the white man's medicne":

And it was not long before the people began to say that the white man's medicine was quick in working. Mr. Brown's school produced quick results. A few months in it were enough to make one a court messenger or even a court clerk. Those who stayed longer became teachers; and from Umuofia labourers went forth into the Lord's vineyard. New churches were established in the surrounding villages and a few schools with them. From the very beginning religion and education went hand in hand.


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