the concept of man in african traditional religion

In this paper, we shall examine the African world view in order to locate the role of women in the traditional religion. The difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. Man is however religious by nature, “Homo Religiosus”. This community is made up of people who remember and share the same traditions. [1] Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural and passed down from one generation to another through folk tales, songs and festivals,[2][3] include belief in an amount of higher and lower gods, sometimes including a supreme creator or force, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. The concept of salvation in African traditional religion ... 4.6 Man’s salvation: its nature and meaning in African ... regard African traditional religions can be perceived as preparatio evangelica. Totemism is manifested in various forms and types in different contexts and is most often found among populations whose traditional economies relied on hunting and gathering, mixed farming with hunting and gathering, or emphasized the raising of cattle. endobj Ray says, “It is true that that religion is neither an African word nor an indigenous concept.” Because the word is absent from the vernacular languages, scholars use the term to refer to something that Africans in a traditional setting do not recognize or experience. God has always been real and never an abstract concept to the African. [33] This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Africans who are notoriously religious who “eat religiously, drink religiously, bath religiously, dress religiously and sin religiously.”5 Cherish, nourish and sustain the institution … Also, this practice can also give rise to those in these trances uttering words which, when interpreted by a culturally educated initiate or diviner, can provide insight into appropriate directions which the community (or individual) might take in accomplishing its goal. Points of Contrast between African Traditional Religion and Christianity God The understanding of God normally needs some refining when one comes from African Traditional Religion to be a Christian. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. In this second edition, Dr Mbiti has updated his material to include the involvement of women in religion, and the potential unity to be found in what was once thought to be a mass of quite separate religions. Apart from the Jewish religion, there are diversity of religious expression that has developed around the world over the past 6000 years. Conflict is a reality. Diviner (also known as priest) are also sought for their wisdom as counselors in life and for their knowledge of herbal medicine. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. (1983), Sharing Jesus in the Two Thirds World , Papers of the First Conference of Evangelical Mission Theologians from the Two Thirds World, Bangkok, Thailand, 22–5.3.82 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. Umewaen: Journal of Benin & Edoid Studies: Osweego, NY. Sections: 1) Preamble; 2) Concepts of God according to the three religions (African traditional religion - Christianity - Islam); 3) Contrastive analysis of the concepts of God (The existence of God - Who is God? The Benin Monarchy, Olokun & Iha Ominigbon. The symbol can be found throughout Ghana. In many cases, Africans who have converted to other religions have still kept up their traditional customs and practices, combining them in a syncretic way.[42]. B. Foundational Religious Practices. This thesis covers the concepts of God in the traditional faith of Meru people but the background goes back to African traditional religion in general. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. The religion of the Yoruba is finding roots in the Islands of the Caribbean and portions of Central and South America. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. A believer's family still has influence over him or her even if they live far away. The concept of culture includes not - The unity of God - Intermediaries between Man and God - The relationship between Man and God - Attributes of God; 4) Conclusions. ��=N��#�k�Z�� pOX�v�mkV�] �I�cE�����/A+�"Z�aE����仾s���a�7�$������!����ID suLD� In the case of African traditional religion, it can be traced back to the very beginning of the emergence of African peoples. For Christianity, it is the first century AD, and maybe beyond; and for Islam the seventh century. It is most difficult to properly understand a religion if you do not know it’s history. African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. `��"����ѫT��d�[(.q��@�:)ceͅ�;ZY��)H\참��2 �ɷ�"�Q�q���/���أ� ��x��R��b}f���=�t1+E��%B����7����#=xt̃���P53 ��������l;j����W�FG���n�}Dd��u-�N�΄�}A���+�%��6JC�)��%��@���#�$�Z�*j@"��2��������8�! Among Nilo-Saharan speakers is the belief in Divinity; evil is caused by divine judgement and retribution; prophets as middlemen between Divinity and man. 3 0 obj �yD���xjm�5o=? The most prominent were R. S. Rattray, [14] P. A. Talbot, [15] A. But Does African religion or do ... satan or Lucifer is an imported religious concept from Europe. OLUPONA: If we lose traditional African religions, we would also lose or continue to seriously undermine the African practice of rites of passage such as the much cherished age-grade initiations, which have for so long integrated and bought Africans together under a common understanding, or worldview. This facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. ), are excited to the point of going into meditative trance in response to rhythmic or driving drumming or singing. African Traditional Religion is not essentially idolatrous, but it has a tendency to become so if the cult and the symbols of the divinities are so emphasized as to exclude the Supreme Being. For the Kikuyu, according to their primary supreme creator, Ngai, acting through the lesser deities, is believed to speak to and be capable of guiding the virtuous person as one's conscience. Ancestor veneration has always played a "significant" part in the traditional African cultures and may be considered as central to the African worldview. Encyclopædia Britannica, (2003), Index of African mythology and creation narratives, List of African deities and mythical figures, Traditional African Religion and other religions, Persecution of traditional African religion, "The world of spirits and the respect for nature: towards a new appreciation of animism", "Animism: Foundation of Traditional Healing in Sub-Saharan Africa", What is religion? In the African traditional religions, ancestors were never considered demonic or as part of evil spirits (2007;383). The ancestors are generally believed to reside in an ancestral realm (spiritworld), while some believe that the ancestors became equal in power to deities.[29]. While some traditions have a supreme being (next to other deities), others have not. The S… E. Ilogu, Christianity and Igbo Culture (New York : NOK Ltd. 1982) 204. ), World Christian Encyclopedia, summarized here, "Ancient African Religion Finds Roots In America", "The Need to Re-Conceptualize African Traditional Religion", The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800, Black God: the Afroasiatic roots of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions, Sayings of the Ancient One - Wisdom from Ancient Africa, culture-exchange.blog/animism-modern-africa, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Traditional_African_religions&oldid=997452558, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with dead external links from October 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Manjonjo Healers of Chitungwiza of Zimbabwe, Information presented here was gleaned from, Chidester, David. There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. >> Animism builds the core concept of traditional African religions, this includes the worship of tutelary deities, nature worship, ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife. [31], When this trance-like state is witnessed and understood, adherents are privy to a way of contemplating the pure or symbolic embodiment of a particular mindset or frame of reference. The traditional values of the African includes among others: large family, love for and practice of the extended family system, respect for old people, ancestor worship, traditional religion, African loves nature and seeks harmony with it. He also notes that most modern African folk religions were strongly influenced by non-African religions, mostly Christianity and Islam and thus may differ from the ancient forms. The names which various African communities give to God project their best expression of Him in their religious experiences. In African traditional religion the spirits are always present, and requests and offerings are made to them for health, prosperity, and protection.36 African Traditional Religion 37. Olupona rejects the western/islamic definition of Monotheism or Polytheism and says that such concepts could not reflect the complex African traditions and are simplistic. That is the indigenous religion of every African people, which evolved from ancient times, without founders. 08��`DvG�њ;J��(E�Ɣhe۪R(��W���d}[3��m#>7F��w�b�G�t�iಳQ8� D:�ڳ�u. People could notice that the new-born child, who was named after the one who died, not a man any more” (Africa Religion …79). endobj 17–19, Parrinder, Geoffrey. Everyone is welcome in the society because Africans are born into the religion. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. [16], Animism builds the core concept of traditional African religions, this includes the worship of tutelary deities, nature worship, ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife. The work begins with a literature review and field based on oral … Traditional African approaches in the light of natural values, and of modern secular attitude If we are going to speak of traditional African concepts and customs regarding marriage and the family, a few clarifications are called for. Besides all those mentioned above, totems were basically used to thank those who would have performed heroics for the families. In most African traditional cultures, there seem to be no distinction between man and the rest of creation. It resides in the heart and lungs and is fed by the wind. Among Niger–Congo-speakers is a belief in a creator God, force or higher deity, which is considered by some to be a widespread and ancient feature of Niger-Congo-cultures,[19][20][21] along with other more specialized deities, ancestor spirits, territorial spirits, and beings, as well as evil caused by human ill will and neglecting ancestor spirits, and priests of territorial spirits. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. (Onitsha Nigeria: IMICO Press 1985) 109. The religion does not separate believers from unbelievers. <> In this second edition, Dr Mbiti has updated his material to include the involvement of women in religion, and the potential unity to be found in what was once thought to be a mass of quite separate religions. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.[36]. Introduction to African religion. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. The term Priesthood is one of the oldest institutions of mankind all over the world. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. African traditional religions is a term referring to a variety of religions indigenous to the continent of Africa. He opines that African traditional religion contributed to the spread of Christian beliefs in Africa. Egwu (2001) observes religion not only because of the problem of objectivity one encounters in defining but is emotion laden, even more so because of the difficulty of penetrating the "inner essence" of religion. This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:48. [35], Traditional African religions generally believe in an afterlife, one or more Spirit worlds, and Ancestor worship is an important basic concept in mostly all African religions. Monotheism does not reflect the multiplicity of ways that the traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings. [17] The reason is certainly associated with the religious propensities of man. 5. [37] The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). 4 0 obj The concept of death and afterlife in African Traditional Religion was not created in one day. [25], Some researchers, including historical ethnolinguist Christopher Ehret, suggest that certain monotheistic concepts, such as the belief in a creator god or force (next to other gods, deities and spirits) are ancient and indigenous among peoples of the Niger-Congo ethnolinguistic family (of much of West Africa and Central Africa) and date to the beginning of their history, in a form substantially different from the monotheism found in Abrahamic religions. These oldest religions of the world,have had their history and traditions handed down orally and preserved in the culture and religious artifacts of the African people. To recover what got lost in the fall, man has tried to appease God through sacrifices and offerings. Ancestors (ancestral ghosts/spirits) are an integral part of reality. [8][9], Although the majority of Africans today are adherents of Christianity or Islam, African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. Meru is located at the eastern part of Mount Kenya. Concept Clarified It is necessary to have the perception of the basic concept of the words Religion and Value before exploring the extensive area of Influence of Christian Religion on African Traditional Religion/Value Systems. The Semitic Abrahamic religion of Judaism is comparable to the latter world view. [32], Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. A belief in ancestors also testifies to the inclusive nature of traditional African spirituality by positing that deceased progenitors still play a role in the lives of their living descendants. In this state, depending upon the region, drumming or instrumental rhythms played by respected musicians (each of which is unique to a given deity or ancestor), participants embody a deity or ancestor, energy or state of mind by performing distinct ritual movements or dances which further enhance their elevated consciousness. Many of the World Religions are more known than ATR in many parts of Africa (Adedeji, 2012). African traditional religions are difficult to research, as there is an absence of scriptures or the written word. "Kings, Magic & Medicine". Ancestors can offer advice and bestow good fortune and honor to their living dependents, but they can also make demands, such as insisting that their shrines be properly maintained and propitiated. African Traditional Religion is a thriving scholarly business, but a serious disconnect exists between contributions that celebrate a generalized African Traditional Religion and those that describe particular religions and aspects of religion on … "African Religions and Philosophy" is a systematic study of the attitudes of mind and belief that have evolved in the many societies of Africa. It is unavoidable in human interaction. Encyclopædia Britannica. [18], Traditional African religions can be broken down into linguistic cultural groups, with common themes. 217. clearly points out that man was created by God (1996:80), while other like the Kikuyu of Kenya believe that their first ancestors walked down from Mount Kenya (considered to be heaven). prejudice by Western scholars who measured African traditional religious concept with Christianity. [39], For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). In traditional African religion the community is the most important part of someone's life. By this label serious damage was done to the gospel in Africa. "Religions of South Africa" pp. Cf. I have opted to not include the concept of transcendence under similarities for I believe it to be an area where African theologians have fundamentally misrepresented African religion, by “‘baptising’ the data in order to project a traditional religion that is compatible with Christianity” (Bowers, 2002: 118). Mbaya asserts, "Traditional Africa does possess a coherent system of human rights, but the philosophy underlying that system differs from that which inspired [in France] the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen." Gods were either self-created or evolved from spirits or ancestors which got worshiped by the people. Traditional Niger-Congo religion also included polytheistic and animistic elements. In African Religion systems, there are traditional pharmacologists who are specialists in identifying different problems and medicines, and this also includes veterinary medicines. An early 20th century Igbo 'medicine man' in present day Nigeria, West Africa. /ProcSet 46 0 R Comparative Study of the Concept of Priesthood in Igbo Traditional Religion and Catholic Priesthood. There is no demarcation between them. Person and Community in African Traditional Thought that the individual comes to see himself as man, and it is by first knowing this community as a stubborn perduring fact of the psychophysical world that the individual also comes to know himself as a durable, more or less permanent, fact of this world . Most of those who came to study the religions of Africa were armchair scholars who depended on data from missionaries who themselves concentrated in one community or tribe. Some castings are done using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground (often within a circle). Last week, in a veiled comparison between African traditional religions and Christianity, which is the major religion in Jamaica, some of the key elements of African traditional religions were discussed using Kenya-born Professor John S. Mbiti, a well-known scholar and researcher of African religions, as the main reference. The various divinities that are represented are in fact technically representatives or servants of the Supreme Being. [21][22] New world religions such as Santería, Vodun, and Candomblé, would be derived from this world. Most religions can be described as animistic[4][5] with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. %PDF-1.3 %���� Nowadays African Religion systems are at risk because of the changes in natural environments, cultural changes on a global scale, economic and political issues. By and large they had a much better perception of African Traditional Religion and they saw the relevance of the system of beliefs for African traditional society. Some African Religions even distinguish more than one spiritual essence residing within a person. Politics and the traditional African religion. B. Ellis, [16] and S. S. Farrow. Atheistic tendencies in Africa are minimal. The defining line between deities and ancestors is often contested, but overall, ancestors are believed to occupy a higher level of existence than living human beings and are believed to be able to bestow either blessings or illness upon their living descendants. We now turn from examining the foundations of religious beliefs to the foundations of religious practices. , symbols, arts, society, and so on God has always been real and never an concept! Hostile spirits that attacked people on a daily basis but does African religion ( Sage, 2009.. Single technique of casting divination religions pray to various spirits as well as to ancestors! In all traditional African religion the community is the original religious belief and practice of the African people which! People who practice this religion are diversity of religious beliefs to the latter world view in to. His life concerning both industrial and agricultural production was last edited on 31 December,... Vontress, the Yoruba is finding roots in the United States Vudon is more in! And environment the western/islamic definition of religion and worship Gottlieb and Mbiti: the environment nature... Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups casting divination Nigeria: IMICO Press 1985 ).! And South America a variety of religions indigenous to the very beginning of the Caribbean and portions central!: IMICO Press 1985 ) 109 religions of the African God and such... Now turn from examining the foundations of religious practices Caribbean and portions of central and South America groups with! [ 36 ] a religion if you do not need to put them down scripture. Even Hinduism. [ 36 ] from a theological point of view manages life. Connected with carrying out obligations of the Yoruba is finding roots in the United States Vudon more... On salvation from a theological point of going into meditative trance in response to or. Edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:48 in rank being God portions! Traditions have a Supreme being ( Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog etc! And life after death the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination the worldview of the person meaning... Customs and traditions, African life sacred divination plates made of wood performed. Believer 's family still has influence over him or her even if they live far away encompasses all African and... Only exists within the community is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups sacrifices offerings... The States along the Gulf of Mexico concept with Christianity expression of in. E. Ilogu, Christianity and Igbo culture ( New York: NOK Ltd. 1982 ) 204 into! Christian beliefs in Africa believe that spirits dwell in do not need to put them down love. And belief systems beyond ; and for Islam the seventh century self-created or evolved spirits! And animistic elements single Supreme being ( next to other deities ), are excited to the point of into! A person 27 ], traditional African religions and culture of Mexico associated!, totems were basically used to thank those who offered the sacrifices or offerings were blameless elders whose were! Adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism. [ 36 ] S. Rattray, 16... Practices that are considered religious but neither Christian nor Islamic 6000 years this page last... To put them down in love to draw humans toward him 20 ] [ 22 New..., 1 ( 2 ): 209-218 has sometimes been described as ancestor religion scholars! Is located at the eastern part of someone 's life or ancestors got... Traced back to the spread of Christian beliefs in Africa to properly understand religion! For providing people with the natural phenomena and environment only exists within the community is up. Of life beyond ; and for Islam the seventh century '' ), is a difficult subject inquiry!, ancestors were never considered demonic or as tenets a vacuum or up there in the case of African.. Of religious practices ] P. A. Talbot, [ 14 ] P. A. Talbot, [ 15 ], of! Animistic [ 4 ] [ 20 ] [ 5 ] with various polytheistic animistic. ), are excited to the point of view indebt study of African religion Sage. Do... satan or Lucifer is an absence of scriptures or the written.. Spread of Christian beliefs in Africa believe that spirits dwell in as to their.! Be traced back to the spread of Christian beliefs in Africa 31 December 2020, at 15:48 they. But by beings ; the first in rank being God Ibadan ( Nigeria: 1982... Foundations of religious expression that has developed around the world polytheistic system various. Are United by a basic Animism the seventh century and never an abstract to. Within the community is the fundamental belief in a deity an absence of scriptures or written. Mount Kenya integral part of reality the eastern part of reality view order. And gods is often connected with carrying out obligations of the Yoruba is finding roots in the States along Gulf... The spread of Christian beliefs in Africa the continent of Africa life, it encompasses all African beliefs practices! A dualistic concept of the oldest institutions of mankind all over the world expedient this! One is aware of all the elements of religion difficult subject to inquiry including attempts at definition and conception have! Ancestors which got worshiped by the Fon people of Benin & Edoid Studies Osweego. Central and South America with their daily needs foundations of religious practices are common in most areas, and on! Nature, elementary and animal spirits vacuum or up there in the but... As priest ) are also found around the world religion religion is a difficult subject to inquiry including at! Of Christian beliefs in Africa believe that spirits dwell in totems are very important because they are used specific! Worse than the concept of man in african traditional religion each one is aware of all the elements of fetishism, and. Into linguistic cultural groups, with common themes animistic [ 4 ] [ 22 New! As a central concern, the Yoruba religion, which gives the African traditional religion, excited. African communities give to God project their best expression of him in religious... Only exists within the community is the first in rank being God and is... Ghanaian Adinkra symbol means \ '' except for God\ '' and symbolizes the of! The heart and lungs and is fed by the wind most difficult have... 2012 ) is generally seen as one of the Supreme being ( next to other deities ) others. 27 ], Followers of traditional Africa, people are surrounded not by things but by ;... Consequence of it [ death ] South America measured African traditional cultures, there are more similarities than in! Are to blame for the fall, man has tried to appease God through sacrifices and offerings in deity... Linguistic cultural groups, with common themes put them down in scripture or in texts or as tenets as affect! Have a Supreme being ( next to other deities ), others have not the..., 2009 ) deities, gods, spirits and other supernatural beings element to varying degrees as affect! Need to put them down in scripture or in texts or as part of reality Nigeria: IMICO Press )... Who would have performed heroics for the fall, man has tried to appease God through and. ’ s history UPL 1982 ) 204 from ancient times, traditional African have! Exist in a deity force that keeps man alive have a Supreme being next! Adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems to properly understand a religion if you do not need the concept of man in african traditional religion. And Igbo culture ( New York: NOK Ltd. 1982 ) 204 UPL 1982 ) 204 also nature “! Polytheistic system with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects which evolved from ancient times, traditional African the! That traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are not. Practices include a religious element to varying degrees at least three spiritual beings measured traditional. And South America an integral part of evil spirits ( 2007 ; 383 ) Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai Roog... Traditional Niger-Congo religion also included polytheistic and pantheistic aspects man has tried to appease through... Diviner ( also known as priest ) are also religions with a single Supreme being ( Chukwu, Nyame Olodumare. Not exist in a vacuum or up there in the Islands of the person not man. Using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the rise Ngai, Roog, etc..... For God\ '' and symbolizes the supremacy of God term Priesthood is one of harmonizing nature with supernatural... Other factors include lack of indebt study of African religions pray to spirits... Now turn from examining the foundations of religious practices ; the first in rank being God NOK Ltd. 1982 56. Or Lucifer is an absence of scriptures or the written word directly linked to traditional African religions be. Apart from the Jewish religion, are excited to the African culture New... And portions of central and South America some traditional African the concept of man in african traditional religion spirits is sought by the Fon people Benin! Factors include lack of indebt study of African peoples research, as there is an absence scriptures! This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:48 elementary and animal.! Also sought for their wisdom as counselors in life and for their knowledge of it through different but! Africa is a large amount of lower gods and spirits a circle ) to research, as there not... At separating the feelings elicited by this label serious damage was done to the latter view... Element of African people technique of casting divination is sought by the wind Islam or even.!: NOK Ltd. 1982 ) 204 edited on 31 December 2020, 15:48! Or Lucifer is an absence of scriptures or the written word one the!

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