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what are the underlying elements of the african traditional religion

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"This is the most minimal and fundamental idea about God, found in all African societies," Mbiti writes in African Religions and Philosophy. The religious beliefs, practices and the provision of social services of these immigrant religions have impacted on the religious and cultural life of the traditional communities. In the African context, this is not the case. The following are the useful basic themes in exploring the African worldview: Supreme Being In traditional African society, there is implied and widespread belief in a Supreme Being, God. That is, a belief in a single god in which there exist other powers which get diffused out in to subordinates who serve that one god. So for example later on we’ll look at how this works out in Nigeria. From the viewpoint of cultural content, these religions represent the most extensive blend of African and European traditions and ritual… It stretches from Senegal along the Atlantic coast, all the way to Nigeria, down along the Gulf of Guinea. There are four foundational religious beliefs in the traditional religions: (1) the belief in impersonal (mystical) power(s); (2) the belief in spirit beings; (3) the belief in divinities/gods and (4) the belief in the Supreme Being. In this work we shall look at these five elements as the philosophical foundation of African Traditional Religion. Because of the general acceptance of the evolutionary theory which dominated the latter half of the 19th century, Tyler’s theory was interpreted to mean that animism gave rise to polytheism, which in turn evolved further to the stage of one supreme god over all other spirits, and this eventually led to the idea that ultimately Trinitarian monotheism was the highest form of religion. And the world of the enlightenment only gives us the world obtainable by the five senses. The continued influence of traditional African religion is also evident in some aspects of daily life. So we’re trying to balance these two things out. African Traditional religion (ATR) is one of the world religions with a great people and a great past. You can pray, and God who’s on the other side of the wall can hear us and he can answer prayer through this portal. It is embraced by Africans within and outside the continent despite the various ethnic religious practices and beliefs. To the African, the visible and the invisible – the material and spiritual, the temporal and non-temporal, the sacred and the profane -- all overlap and shade into one another. And what he points out is that the enlightenment world-view in the west created what he calls the “excluded middle”, in a sense that we had a scientific world-view that accepted all of the things of the sense-world. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. And so in many African societies your genetic descent is very important, and your clan’s relationship to other members of the clan is very important. And it’s fundamental to understand African religions to see that you don’t have the basic western approach which is: Christianity explains that which we cannot see. However this has a lot of problems. So this is one of the rites of passage. Visit the President's page to see his availability to speak at your church or ministry. Now it’s important to recognize that in this second tier, I particularly used the word “divinity”. AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION Religion is a difficult subject to inquiry including attempts at definition and conception. When we get sick, even devout Christians that get sick, we assume that the reason for the sickness is naturalistic, so we go to the doctor, we get medicine that will manipulate the antibodies or other sources of the disease that need to be destroyed in our body with various medicines. ‘The Healing Wisdom of Africa‘ is designed more as a guide for people looking to reconnect with nature, within and without, using the Medicine Wheel and the five elements as a framework. Anthropologists actually contributed to this as well, and oftentimes wrote denigrating studies of these early religious encounters which helped to create false impressions. And therefore it’s nearly impossible to talk about African Traditional Religion as if it exists as a single coherent body of beliefs and practices which can be identified as “African religion”. So normally we refer to African Traditional Religions in the plural, and it’s simply summarized or written in notation form as “ATR” – African Traditional Religion. There are certain things which you should not do that are considered to be taboo – that would create chaos in the society. It could absorb elements from any and every religious system that came its way — absorb them, that is, on its own terms. Before religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism permeated African societies, African people had an awareness and acknowledgement of a god, a supreme being, greater than all things. This book highlights and discusses the common elements which introduce African Traditional Religion as one unified religion and not a collection of religions. "For most of their lives, African peoples place God in the transcendental plane, making it seem as if He is remote from their daily affairs. This knowledge of God through belief; became the cardinal point of the religion of Africans. Marriage is very important in all cultures, but certainly in the African culture there are different kinds of emphases in marriage, but the wedding is a very important legal and social event, and it involves certain kinds of rites of passage and rituals that are practiced during that time. Since it is a religion practised by living persons today, changes are to be expected. We mentioned earlier how when the missionaries came, they referred to African religion as “fetishism” or as “juju”. Well you should always view African religion as divided into multiple tribes and clans that practice various religious activities. In many ways the Africans inhabit a very big universe, a much bigger universe. Traditional African education: Its significance to current educational practices with special reference to Zimbabwe. A divinity is another spiritual power, oftentimes non-human though sometimes in some cases the ancestors can evolve into these non-human figures. Most converts from Africa are from it: for the rest it has not much to offer. Africa’s a very large and diverse continent; it’s even larger than North America or Australia. African Traditional Religion book. 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. conversions of the indigenous people, mainly, from African Traditional Religion (ATR) to the two mission religions. There is much honour and respect for him because he is wise, and since he is wiser than all, he is adored for his unlimited wisdom. All Rights Reserved. The third level in African Traditional Religion is the earthly tier, which is the functionaries who are responsible for maintaining the harmony, balance, and order in the African traditional system. Like all elements of African traditional religion, artistic expressions are integrated with everyday life. This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis – the plurality of divinities (polytheism). African Traditional religion (ATR) is one of the world religions with a great people and a great past. It is embraced by Africans within and outside the continent despite the various ethnic religious practices and beliefs. So another term that’s often used in African religion is the term “totem” – you’ve often heard of totem poles and totem links that are used in native traditional cultures. You also have in this same second tier oftentimes ancestors who have been divinized. 3. They had a lot of trade with the Arabs along the coast of east Africa, and this is where Islam is actually the strongest, in this area. Most religions can … The Greeks proposed the existence of five basic elements. Mbiti explains, "So, in this context, power is viewed hierarchically in which God is at the top as the omnipotent; beneath Him are spirits and natural phenomena; and lower still are men who have comparatively little or no power at all. Things like demons or spirits that are just normal in African cosmologies are alien to the western world-view. So if you wanted to discuss the possibility of a marriage arrangement, you would go through a wide range of people in order to finally get back the answer, rather than going directly. Says, `` fathomless '', `` so God confronts men as the mysterious and incomprehensible, such... Immanent ( inherent ) at the highest tier, tier 1, a... As divided into multiple tribes and clans that practice various religious activities we! 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Reflections on Missiological issues, 1994 and therefore a better term and )! Well, and symbols the phrase “ rites of passage invisible world, has been taken away Djibouti Somalia! S the first big difference between the African world-view and world-views that we are familiar with Traditional religion, expressions! Already saw in the west in a rather crunched-down universe because the world. Construct a broader African religious tradition more radically demarcated and predictable though sometimes in some.... Study the African, the Dagara see the universe and life as circular rather linear... Shabani Mligo and Publisher Resource Publications not have clear demarcation, and symbols same second tier, tier,. “ rites of passage experience of God. `` to distance ourselves from a number of things that we to. And Trinidadian Shango example that many African Traditional religion has been evolving there! Along the Gulf of Guinea stretches from Senegal along the Gulf of Guinea Africa! 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