Foundations Of African Traditional Religion And Worldview Pdf
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The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Most religions can be described as animistic   with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over million.
The spirituality of Africa
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed towards ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. Albert Einstein. Everybody has beliefs about life and the world they experience. Mutually supportive beliefs may form belief systems, which may be religious, philosophical or ideological. Religions are belief systems that relate humanity to spirituality.
The following definition from Wikipedia provides a good overview of the many dimensions of religion: Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.
Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture.
However, there are examples of religions for which some or many of these aspects of structure, belief, or practices are absent.
Beliefs in the spiritual dimension of life have existed since time immemorial. Many human societies have left us historical evidence of their systems of belief, whether it was worship of the sun, of gods and goddesses, knowledge of good and evil or of the sacred. In the simplest sense, religion describes "the relationship of human beings to what they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual or divine".
As discussed above, belief is a broader term and it also includes "commitments which deny a dimension of existence beyond this world". Religions and other belief systems in our environment have an influence on our identity, regardless of whether we consider ourselves religious or spiritual or not.
At the same time, other parts of our identity, our history, our approach to other religions and groups considered "different" will influence how we interpret that religion or belief system. Question: What religions are practised in your country? Religions and related social and cultural structures have played an important part in human history. As mental structures, they influence the way we perceive the world around us and the values we accept or reject.
As social structures, they provide a supporting network and a sense of belonging. In many cases, religions have become the basis of power structures and have become intertwined with it. History, remote and recent, is full of examples of "theocratic" states, be they Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or other.
The separation between state and religion is still recent and only partly applied: there are official state religions in Europe and de facto state religions. In most cases this does not pose a particular problem as long as it is tempered by values of tolerance. I regard irreligious people as pioneers. Anandabai Joshee, the first Hindu woman and first Indian woman to receive a medical degree. Statistics on religion or belief adherents can never be very accurate, considering the dynamic nature of this pattern as well as the fact that many people among us live in contexts where freedom of religion and belief is not enjoyed.
The statistics below are, therefore, intended to exemplify the diversity of the global picture. The figures indicate the estimated number of adherents of the largest religions 4 :. The number of secular, non-religious, agnostic and atheists is estimated at 1. Question: Which religions are missing in this list? Different religions and beliefs have long existed in the European region as well.
In some historical periods, Europe has provided refuge to persecuted religious groups and allowed a diversity of religions and beliefs to flourish. At other times, however, European countries have fallen prey to fanaticism and been engrossed in "religious wars", such as the Thirty Years War of that led to the slaughter of one-third of the continent's population.
The misuse, or abuse, of religious arguments has led to the justification of painful conflicts and wars, persecutions and intolerance. Regardless of how we understand these historical legacies, a wide range of religions and beliefs exist in Europe and they have and continue to have an impact on our societies.
In this way, religion and belief are important factors to consider in relation to young people and youth work because, directly or indirectly, they have an impact on young people's identity and sense of belonging. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article The UN Human Rights Committee emphasises that this freedom is "far-reaching and profound", that it "encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief, whether manifested individually or in community with others", that the freedom for conscience should be equal to that for religion and belief and that protection is for "theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief".
This freedom in international law was historically focused on the religious liberty of minority communities. Today, laws securing freedom of religion and belief are no longer focused on the need to maintain the status quo in order not to undermine regional security, but spotlight a number of concerns including non-discrimination, equality and dignity.
Championing this freedom has societal as well as individualist rationales, allowing people the scope to openly seek, vigorously discuss and freely uphold the beliefs that they choose, alone or along with others.
Achieving an enabling environment for this freedom requires not only non-interference on the grounds of religion or belief by the state but positive measures to be taken to achieve and maintain such an environment in society at large. In practice, this should include, for example, the possibility to make available places of worship or to provide moral and religious education. Question: Are you a member of any religious community? How did you get involved?
That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another. In a papyrus from Ancient Egypt. As with all other human rights, this freedom does not "trump" other freedoms and it sometimes finds itself in tension with other human rights, such as freedom of opinion and expression and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sex or sexual orientation.
This is reflected for example in the way Article 9 of the European Convention on Human rights is structured: there is an absolute protection of the right to religious belief, conscience and thought, but the manifestations only enjoy a qualified protection in so far as they do not violate other human rights.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Freedom of religion and belief — including freedom to change religion — is essential to all of us, in our search for meaning, our full development, our identity and our expression as members of a community or communities. Whether we have a firm religion or belief, whether we are undecided, or even if we do not really care much for religion or belief, this freedom matters to people and the societies they build. Are there any communities in your country that do not enjoy the same level of freedom of religion and belief as others?
Religious groups must tolerate, as other groups must, critical public statements and debate about their activities, teachings and beliefs, provided that such criticism does not amount to intentional and gratuitous insult and does not constitute incitement to disturb the public peace or to discriminate against adherents of a particular religion.
Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. Throughout religious history, many religious and societal features have been embedded in the environment where a particular religion was practised, and they are reflected in culture and politics. Many pieces of literature, poetry, art and music, dress codes and ways of organising life together have been drawn from religions. Religion has made a strong imprint on culture, which can be seen, for example, on holy days, at feasts, in marriage ceremonies, burial practices, pilgrimages, the wearing of religious symbols e.
The influence of religions may become even stronger when nations adopt a state religion or religious ideology. In such situations, religion and religious arguments may become confused with the political, economic or social reasoning.
The extent to which freedom of thought, conscience and religion allow distinctive practices of a community of believers to diverge from those of the rest of the society is often debated within the human rights community. Examples of this include attitudes towards women in religious leadership positions, traditional ceremonies involving children, laws surrounding marriage, divorce or burial, prohibition on the depiction of divine beings or other religious figures, and so on.
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. In such contexts, the human rights bodies would criticise harmful practices, regardless of whether they were traditionally condoned by particular cultures, nations or religions. Such criticism is not an attack on culture, nationality or religion but an attempt to strike a balance between the right to one's religions and belief and other human rights, since several of these practices can result in serious human rights abuse.
Harmful traditional practices include female genital mutilation, son-preference which can manifest itself in sex-selective abortion, failing to care for newborn girls, discrimination in education in favour of sons, discrimination in nutrition , arranged or forced marriages, marriage of children, dowry-related crimes and crimes justified by "honour", exclusion or limitation of some rights of non-adherents to a more powerful religious group in a given community, segregation according to religious lines, and so on.
Such practices disproportionately affect women and children: invoking tradition is used to justify discrimination on the basis of gender and age. Furthermore, in several cases, situations which, from a human rights perspective, are a violation of human dignity, remain unrecognised, taboo and unpunished. Few of these practices are based on religious precepts; the fact that they are deeply anchored in culture and tradition do not make ending them any easier. Changes have to come through legislative change, education and empowerment.
Throughout history, religions have played a crucial role in imposing limitations on human action in order to protect the physical and psychological integrity or dignity of other people. Yet, even though religious philosophies have contributed to the development of a conscience of human rights and dignity, the human rights related to religion and belief are no more exempt from the tensions and contradictions that are present in human rights instruments, than are other rights. As seen in the case of harmful traditional practices, sometimes convictions or beliefs are used to justify outright physical harm with severe health consequences.
Religious intolerance can be observed at different levels: among adherents of the same religion intra-religious intolerance ; between one religion or religious attitude and another, manifesting itself in various forms of conflicts between persons and groups of persons inter-religious intolerance ; in the form of confrontational atheism or confrontational theism, which are intolerant of free choice and practice of other religions or belief commitments; or in the form of anti-secularism.
Religious intolerance is often confused with xenophobia and other forms of discrimination; sometimes it is also used to justify discrimination. Most human rights violations related to freedom of religion and belief are also related to freedom from discrimination. Discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief is contrary to human rights but it is nonetheless experienced daily by many people across Europe.
The fact that religion and belief are often confused with culture, nationality and ethnicity makes it more complicated but also more painful on an individual level: you may be discriminated against on the grounds of religious affiliation even if you happen not to believe in the religion you are associated with. Discrimination and intolerance impact negatively on society as a whole, and particularly on young people who experience it. Such effects include:. Religious intolerance is also used to feed hatred in, and to contribute to, armed conflicts, not so much because it is the cause of conflict but because religious belonging is used to draw dividing lines, as armed conflicts in the Balkans and Caucasus demonstrate.
The consequences of international terrorism and the "wars on terrorism" have been particularly devastating in Europe and beyond, notably because religious intolerance becomes mixed with xenophobia and racism. No single social group, religion or community has the monopoly of discrimination. Even though the levels of protection of the freedom of religion and belief vary significantly across the member states of the Council of Europe, religious intolerance and discrimination affects everyone in Europe.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Saint Paul. Of particular concern in several European countries is the rise of Islamophobia, the fear and hatred of Islam, resulting in discrimination against Muslims or people associated with Islam. Islam is the most widespread religion in Europe after Christianity and the majority religion in various member states of the Council of Europe.
The hostility towards Islam as a religion and to Muslim people, particularly following the "wars on terror", has revealed deep-rooted prejudices against Muslims in many European societies. With the perception of the religion of Islam as being associated only with terrorism and extremism, Islamophobia has contributed to negative views of Islam and Muslims, wrongly generalising militant religious extremism and ultra-conservatism onto all Muslim countries and Muslim people.
This intolerance and stereotyped view of Islam has manifested itself in a number of ways, ranging from verbal or written abuse of Muslim people, discrimination at schools and workplaces, and psychological harassment or pressure, to outright violent attacks on mosques and individuals, especially women who wear headscarves. Like other victims of discrimination grounded on religious affiliation, discrimination against Muslims may overlap with other forms of discrimination and xenophobia, such as anti-immigrant sentiments, racism and sexism.
Six recurring prejudices about Muslims All the same: Muslims are seen as all being much the same as each other, regardless of their nationality, social class and political outlook, and of whether they are observant in their beliefs and practice. All are motivated by religion: It is thought that the single most important thing about Muslims, in all circumstances, is their religious faith.
So, if Muslims engage in violence, for example, it is assumed that this is because their religion advocates violence.
Religion and Culture
Download your free copy here. Religion and culture seem like complex ideas to study from the perspective of International Relations. After all, scholars and philosophers have long debated the meaning of these terms and the impact they have had on our comprehension of the social world around us. So is it an impossibly complicated task to study religion and culture at the global level? In this chapter, which completes the first section of the book, we will explore why thinking about religious and cultural factors in global affairs is as integral as the other issues we have covered thus far. Where can we see examples of religion and culture at work in the domains of world politics? How do religious and cultural factors impact on our ability to live together?
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed towards ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. Albert Einstein. Everybody has beliefs about life and the world they experience. Mutually supportive beliefs may form belief systems, which may be religious, philosophical or ideological. Religions are belief systems that relate humanity to spirituality. The following definition from Wikipedia provides a good overview of the many dimensions of religion: Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.
Religion and belief
About the Author s. The Author s. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Negative events can be resisted by imprecatory prayers and curses. Sacred and secular realities are inseparable.
The primary objective of this paper is to define the African traditional religious system as the basis of understanding Christian spiritual warfare within an African context. This background is essential to any application of Christian spirituality in Africa. For this reason, the paper serves only as an introduction to the application of Christian spirituality in Africa.
By Anthony Chiorazzi Harvard Correspondent.
Traditional African religions
African culture and values. The main objective of this paper is to examine African culture and values. Since culture is often seen as the sum total of the peculiarities shared by a people, a people's values can be seen as part of their culture. In discussing African culture and values, we are not presupposing that all African societies have the same explanation s for events, the same language, and same mode of dressing and so on. Rather, there are underlying similarities shared by many African societies which, when contrasted with other cultures, reveal a wide gap of difference.
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Foundations of African Traditional Religion and Worldview - Kindle edition by Turaki, Yusufu. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or.
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