It emphasizes on how man manages his life concerning both industrial and agricultural production. Virtue in traditional African religion is often connected with carrying out obligations of the communal aspect of life. , Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. 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 . With African Traditional Religions you must be much more careful about speaking about belief systems in the same way, because Africans will actually tolerate quite a wide variety of beliefs as long as it supports the same rituals or certain rituals or ritualistic explanations of why this is being done or why this is being believed. Introduction to African religion. 
Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.. It is most difficult to properly understand a religion if you do not know it’s history. The religion does not separate believers from unbelievers. The Benin Monarchy, Olokun & Iha Ominigbon. , West and Central African religious practices generally manifest themselves in communal ceremonies or divinatory rites in which members of the community, overcome by force (or ashe, nyama, etc. Atheistic tendencies in Africa are minimal. Therefore, in African traditional set up, religion is almost synonymous with culture. An early 20th century Igbo 'medicine man' in present day Nigeria, West Africa.  The two Abrahamic religions are widespread across Africa, though mostly concentrated in different areas. In addition to the belief in deity, the Supreme Being of Africa largely overlaps conceptually with the identity and work of the biblical God. , 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. To efficiently study the African Traditional Religion (ATR), one must also study the people who practice this religion. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. S. Mbiti, John (1991). The reason is certainly associated with the religious propensities of man. "Traditional Religion", in his. The term Priesthood is one of the oldest institutions of mankind all over the world. Sc i., 2010, 1(2): 209-218 .  African traditional religions are difficult to research, as there is an absence of scriptures or the written word.  With a long farming tradition, the Serer high priests and priestesses (Saltigue) deliver yearly sermons at the Xooy Ceremony (divination ceremony) in Fatick before Yoonir's phase in order to predict winter months and enable farmers to start planting.. <>
An African understanding, The List: The World's Fastest-Growing Religions, "US study sheds light on Africa's unique religious mix", Ian S. Markham,(A World Religions Reader. 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. That is, African traditional religion or African traditional religions (Mbiti 1969, 1–2; Idowu 1973, 103; Booth 1977, 3; Ikenga-Metu 1987, 19; Alolo 2007; Ejizu n.d). , Nigerian American professor of indigenous African religions at Harvard University, Jacob Olupona summarized the many traditional African religions as complex animistic religious traditions and beliefs of the African people before the Christian and Islamic "colonization" of Africa. The work begins with a literature review and field based on oral … African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religion of the African people.  The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). The various divinities that are represented are in fact technically representatives or servants of the Supreme Being. "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. That is the indigenous religion of every African people, which evolved from ancient times, without founders. Religion in most African societies also supports moral order. It should be noted that the word religion is a western concept. While some traditions have a supreme being (next to other deities), others have not.  San religion is generally non-theistic but a belief in a Spirit or Power of existence which can be tapped in a trance-dance; trance-healers. :���ݞ7��\�_��JQIS�S-[a�, I_�A,Y�ݎK�c���AK�8�[�$��b��IU��-�TM�g�,���Qlm����"Al�QG> ���@(� Emi (meaning "breath"), is a vital force that keeps man alive. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. "Kings, Magic & Medicine". They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. Among Nilo-Saharan speakers is the belief in Divinity; evil is caused by divine judgement and retribution; prophets as middlemen between Divinity and man. 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.. It does not exist in a vacuum or up there in the blues but among humans. In Nigeria, the Yoruba people believe that a person has at least three spiritual beings. 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. For Christianity, it is the first century AD, and maybe beyond; and for Islam the seventh century. He further maintains that African culture has much in common with B. Ellis,  and S. S. Farrow. In recent times, traditional religions, such as the Yoruba religion, are on the rise. This facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. 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. The symbol can be found throughout Ghana. The Africans are known to be intensely religious people. 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. 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. , Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. Religion in Igbo traditional society partakes fully of all the features of world traditional religion, including its beliefs, sacred myths, oral qualities, strong appeal to the hearts of adherents, high degree of ritualization, and possession of numerous participatory personages such as officiating elders, kings, priests, and diviners. This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 15:48. Cf. "Religions of South Africa" pp. One religious ceremony practiced in Gabon and Cameroon is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups. 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. Peavy, D., (2009). The S… There are more similarities than differences in all traditional African religions. Africans who are notoriously religious who “eat religiously, drink religiously, bath religiously, dress religiously and sin religiously.”5 Cherish, nourish and sustain the institution … Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Among Afro-Asiatic-speakers is henotheism, the belief in one's own gods but accepting the existence of other gods; evil here is caused by malevolent spirits. In traditional African religion the community is the most important part of someone's life. This Ghanaian Adinkra symbol means \"except for God\" and symbolizes the supremacy of God. The Supreme Being 37 38. 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 … According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. <>
This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. 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. They counteracted various derogatory names given to AIR. There are generally no prohibitions against the practice. Introduction. All aspects of weather, thunder, lightning, rain, day, moon, sun, stars, and so on may become amenable to control through the cosmology of African people. 217. Transcendence in African traditional religions Francis Rakotsoane1 Department of Theology and Religious Studies National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho Introduction ‛Transcendence’ is derived from the Latin word transcendere, which means to ascend on or elevate oneself above (Mondin 1991:196). The names which various African communities give to God project their best expression of Him in their religious experiences. 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. J. Soc. 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). In the African traditional religions, ancestors were never considered demonic or as part of evil spirits (2007;383). Totems are very important because they are used on specific occasions to respect each other. This paper gives a brief outline of concepts and practices on that theme, from the perspectives of African Religion. Majority of people in Africa believe that spirits dwell in . John S. Mbiti, in his book Introduction to African Religion (1977: 63-66) argues that, “in African societies sacrifice was very common and that most, involved shedding of blood of a human being or an animal.” He adds that in African societies, life is closely associated with blood. The term “African Traditional Religion” is used in two complementary senses. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. 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. Monotheism does not reflect the multiplicity of ways that the traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings. Instead of God keeping his distance from man, He, throughout history and today reaches down in love to draw humans toward him. Politics and the traditional African religion. African Traditional Religion has sometimes been described as ancestor religion by scholars as if this is what defines this religion. Many of the World Religions are more known than ATR in many parts of Africa (Adedeji, 2012). 08��`DvG�њ;J��(E�Ɣhe۪R(��W���d}[3��m#>7F��w�b�G�t�iಳQ8�
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We find it in the oral culture of proverbs, ritual formulas, prayers, creedal formulations, and … The concept of death and afterlife in African Traditional Religion was not created in one day. /XObject <>
, Followers of traditional African religions are also found around the world. Gods were either self-created or evolved from spirits or ancestors which got worshiped by the people. 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. 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. The essential role of Chi concept is seen in the Igbo The individual only exists within the community and separation from it is sometimes worse than death. ��=N��#�k�Z�� pOX�v�mkV�] �I�cE�����/A+�"Z�aE����仾s���a�7�$������!����ID suLD� It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on. Religion is elusive in nature and this makes it difficult to have one universally accepted definition of religion. Umewaen: Journal of Benin & Edoid Studies: Osweego, NY. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. In African Religion systems, there are traditional pharmacologists who are specialists in identifying different problems and medicines, and this also includes veterinary medicines. , 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. Nowadays African Religion systems are at risk because of the changes in natural environments, cultural changes on a global scale, economic and political issues. 5. There is no demarcation between them. Other factors include lack of indebt study of African religion leading to hasty conclusion. Mgmt. 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. It is the most popular for decoration and can often be seen printed on cloth or stamped on pottery.The rapid spread of Pentecostal Christianity and fundamentalist Islam has greatly affected the role of indigenous religion in African society. Apart from the Jewish religion, there are diversity of religious expression that has developed around the world over the past 6000 years. Most indigenous African religions have a dualistic concept of the person. According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. A spirit ceremony is held by the Fon people of Benin, Nigeria, to contact the spirit world. This theological concept in traditional religions has a great influence upon how traditional Africans define the role and function of the Supreme Being, lesser beings, divinities and ancestors in an African community. , 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. >>
It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society and so on .because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people. 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. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. Emefie Ikenga - Metuh, African Religions in Western Conceptual Schemes: The Problem of Interpretation (Studies in lgbo Religion) 2nd ed. The will of the gods or spirits is sought by the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination.  Some recognize a dual god and goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. 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