Traditional African Religion
The Religious Sphere
There is widespread belief in a supreme God, unique and transcendent. Africans have a sense of the sacred and sense of mystery; there is high reverence for sacred places, persons and objects; sacred times are celebrated. Belief in the after life is incorporated in myths and in funeral ceremonies. Religion enfolds the whole of life; there is a difference between life and religion. Ancestors mediate between God and men. It is believed that sin harms the public good; hence there are periodical purification rites in order to promote public welfare. Worship requires a fundamental attitude of strict discipline and reverence.
The Ritual Sphere
Rites form and essential part of social life. Rites invoke ancestors and the dead. The whole person, body, and soul are totally involved in worship. There are many rites of purification of individuals and communities. Religious sacredness is preserved in ritual, in dress and the arrangements of the places of worship. The sick are healed in rites, which involve their families and the community. Some of the traditional blessings are rich and very meaningful. In worship and sacrifice there is co-responsibility each person contributes his share in a spirit of participation. Symbols bridge the spheres of the sacred and secular and so make possible a balanced and unified view of reality.
An important part of the African traditional religion is the presence of spirits.
The Spiritual Sphere
In the African world spirits are everywhere in persons, trees, rivers, animals, rocks, mountains and ever automobiles and other personal effects. The presence of these spirits in the African society offers a serious challenge to the behavior patterns of the people on the continent and elsewhere because traditional religious practices permeates every aspect of life on the continent. These spirits in many ways act as moral entrepreneurs of the African society. They abhor crimes like adultery, stealing, cheating and suicide. These spirits communicate their wishes, demands and prescriptions to the larger society through the traditional priests. The traditional priests are able to satisfy their clients through the performance of rituals. On the African continent, every major event has its own ritual that may never be overlooked for any reason. The rituals are often performed through dance, music, libation or art. In the presence of other religious practices on the continent, these rituals have survived in one form or another. Ancestors are an important element of African traditional religions.
1.Adewal, S.A. Crime and African Traditional Religion Online. Internet.
14 Aug. 2000. Available http://isizoh.net/afrel/atr-crime.htm
2.Ejizu, Christopher I. African Traditional Religions. Online. Internet.
14 Aug. 2000. Available http://isizoh.net/afrel/community.htm
/ Pages : 462 / 24