Afrikan News And History Post New Entry

Many beliefs common among different African religions

Posted by The Reunion Black Family on May 1, 2012 at 7:05 AM

The key issue connected with the content or substance of African traditional religion revolves mainly around the kind of questions that should be given prominence in research. Should they be mainly issues that emanate from the nature of the subject and for those advance the literary reconstruction of the indigenous religion, or rather those that are aimed at answering academic concerns that are largely external to the subject? I am inclined to believe that greater attention and emphasis should be given to the latter than the former. In other words, topics that are of importance to the religion and its adherents should engage the attention of scholarship. Religion has always played a major part in the different cultures of Africa. The author of this article has done solid research on the impact of African religion on the western world.

We know that each group of people in separate regions of the continent have creation stories that tie them directly to the God or Gods they worship.

Usually the God would create the Earth and animals and last would create the humans to take dominion over the region in which the people happen to inhabit.

The four primary sources for the study of African religion are the:

1. Oral traditions that are told from parents to children and priests to the people for centuries.

2. Archeological and linguistic evidence tells of the remaining of the ancient people1s beliefs by physical evidence of their religion and way of life and the speech patterns that have evolved over the years.

3. The religions that are still practiced give a definitive view of the way religions were practiced in the old days.

4. The arts and sacred spaces have to do with what is considered Holy by the different practicing groups

Many beliefs common among different African religions appear in their creation stories such as:

1. The spiritual cosmos populated by divine beings, sometimes in a hierarchial order.

 

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2. The belief of Earth and material life as created.

3.A multitude of Gods and other spirits.

4.The role of ancestors.

5.A belief in sacred places and spaces such as a mountain that God inhabits.

6.Males and females as parts of the cosmic scheme.

7. Idea of society being organized around values and traditions drawn from common beginnings in history.

The religious leaders in many of Africa's religions have tried, sometimes in vain, to preserve the society from foreigners encroaching upon their lands and customs.

Their role has always been to preserve the histories and traditions of the people. They teach the ways of survival to the people, be it wedding procedures or planting times

The village priest is there to and serve through the God. The rituals practiced in many traditional African societies are all connected by the belief of being stepping stones to the ultimate goal of death and the afterlife. There are rituals that enhance all of the transitional stages of life such as birth, puberty, initiation into adulthood, marriage, having children, old age, death and life after death. The rituals allow the people celebrating to know what is expected of them in the next stage of their life and what is socially acceptable. Another important point of view that I have reached after assessment of this article is that It is nearer the truth to say that traditional societies use one kind of myth, contemporary western society another. Theirs assumes that the universe is peopled by personal wills acting at every point of human experience: ours that the universe is impersonal and that the only centres of personal will are individual men and women.

In the west, the changeover from one set of myths to the other was closely associated with the growth of capitalism, nationalism, Puritanism and experimental science. Essentially the author emphasizes the important role that African religion and traditions played the changes that came with time all are traced in an easy to understand and logical method to help the reader to grasp the material and knowledge. The way the author traces history and then makes his points are indeed very positive and logical. If God was needed at all - the conclusion was drawn - it was simply as the Great Mechanic, who had made the Clock of the universe and then left it to run by its own inherent power. He was very much a 'God out there'.

Individuals were left face to face with the iron laws of nature; and some of them began to wonder whether the game was worth the candle. If everything - including human love and choice - could be predicted from knowledge of the position and velocity of atoms, was there anything left to live for? I may perhaps begin to worry about my own 'identity', to ask, 'Who am I?' Indeed one of the signs of the change which has taken place is that individuals in traditional societies did not have to ask that question. Identity was given to them by God in serious question, ancestors an affair of out-on-the-wing 'spiritualists', and society in a state of constant change, there can be no such certainty. If I am to find an 'identity', I have to choose it for myself. I may do so by finding in myself what I have put into nature. I also am no more than a complex organization of atoms. Thirty years ago, this was a popular view among thinking people. It is much more likely, today, that I shall think in terms of psychoanalysis. The external psychic forces of God and the ancestors have been replaced by the internal psychic force of the unconscious. IN the end I have reached the conclusion that there are here a number of different possibilities of interpreting man in his relation to the universe; and they are not exhaustive indeed  Africa religion will always be an important part of our lives.

Categories: Religions

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