Rev. Introduction Three religions dominates African continent: ATR, Islam and Christianity. Their significance lies in the genealogical positions and the rights and duties which derive from them.” Ancestors uphold right conduct by punishing moral violations, demanding respect and attention, and getting angry when not given due respect. “People may complain to God and the ancestors, but they will never accuse them of any moral wrongdoing. When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Africans. Since God is seen as the Creator, various aspects of the universe are permeated by the sense of the sacred—the religious mentality affects the way people see the universe. Commonly, God is believed to dwell in the skies. This happened in the past, and these codes were stipulated, considered sacred and binding, by the community leaders: The moral and religious order in the universe is articulated and expressed in a variety of taboos and customs that prohibit specific actions contravening such order. There are Then Ana remembered the old stone church. According to Clemmont E. Vontress, the various religious traditions of Africa are united by a basic Animism. According to Mbiti, Africans believe that God has ordained a moral order for humans, through which they came to understand what is good and what is evil, so that they might live in harmony with one another and safeguard the life of the people. Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. This power is not accessible to everyone, and in most cases it is inborn, but the person has to learn how to use it. Africans believe in the existence of a mystical, invisible, hidden, spiritual power in the universe. This order, according to Mbiti, is knowable to humans, by nature. The spiritual medium is the physical embodiment of the religious retributive order in which Africans know themselves to stand.”. Thus, for example, older persons not only possess a more powerful vital force but a greater responsibility in society and more intense mystical powers. African Religions and Philosophy (1969) by John S. Mbiti; African Traditional Religion; Environmental conservation anchored in African cultural heritage by Bakanja Mkenda ; Ecological Implications of Water Spirit Beliefs in Southern Africa: The Need to Protect Knowledge, Nature, and … The point can be made then, that a significant symmetr y The Cosmos Traditional Africans believe that the cosmos was created by a Supreme Being, God. Currently he is part-time professor at the University of Bern, and parish minister in Burgdorf, Switzerland. Among the Chewa, according to James Amanze (2002:146) the ancestral spirits not only sub-saharan Africa is one country with one religious belief and practice. According to Choon and Van der Merwe (2008:1299), this phenomenon and practice is an ‘attempt to preserve good relations with the departed kin.’ The practice and the involvement in ancestral rituals should be seen as religiously motivated. This should make it clear why some African intellectuals would question the relevance of Christianity on the continent. Mbiti regards African Traditional Religion(s) (ATR(s)) as monotheism and as a praeparatio evangelica, and maintains that the Christian God is the same as the God worshipped in ATR(s). Second, Africans believe in a moral order given by God, stipulated by the ancestors in the past. Canon Professor JOHN MBITI, an Anglican priest from Kenya, taught Theology and Religion for many years at Makerere University in Uganda. For a long time it will continue to exist; it will not be easily wiped out by these other religions or by secularism.. John S. Mbiti: The Prayers of African Religion, SPCK, London and Orbis Books, New York, 1975, p. 162.. Mbiti, ibid.. Mbiti, op. User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict. Rent and save from the world's largest eBookstore. The fact that there are no written scriptures by the votaries of African traditional religion, does not in any way mean that the concept of the Supreme Being does not exist in their ontology. African traditional religion is another source for African Theology. She knew the old building was the safest place for her family. It also offers a useful and up-to-date list of books for more advanced reading, questions for ... Read full review. This view influences the way humans relate to the universe: on the one hand, they strive to maintain harmony between themselves and the invisible universe by observing the moral and religious order; at the same time, humans see the universe in a utilitarian way, from the point of view of what is beneficial or harmful to them. Furthermore, the issue is whether a strict order of retribution cannot be tolerated if human ambition gets in the way of realizing enduring moral virtue and well-being. This is a universal belief among Africans. University of Notre Dame, McGrath Institute for Church Life Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, C.S.Sp., is Professor of moral theology, the theology of the world church, and Africana studies at the University of Notre Dame. Therefore, the universe has dimensions of order and power as follows: first of all, there is order in the laws of nature. As I have discussed elsewhere in Morality Truly Christian, Truly African, for example, some African societies are so conscious of the implications of crossing the line on some ethical matters, like adultery, incest, and murder, that anyone who engages in these acts is considered automatically to be putting the very survival of the community in danger. Moral culpability is always on the shoulders of humanity.” The same hierarchy evident in the relationship between God, the ancestors, and humanity is also present in the relationship between the animate and the inanimate world, the former being superior to the latter. They can also be “the dead of the tribe, following the order of primogeniture. The living are the link between death and life. Belief in the ancestors presents the idea of reciprocity in the African traditional moral world. All rights reserved. He discusses od’s transcendence and immanence, and od’s works such as creating, sustaining, judging, protecting, and helping. According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. To understand African tradition, one needs to understand the position of African Traditional Religion on God, the human person, and creation. These traditional reads are brimming with spirited characters and positive values--but with a little extra excitement and bite, so hold on to your hats! Last week, in a veiled comparison between African traditional religions and Christianity, which is the major religion in Jamaica, some of the key elements of African traditional religions were discussed using Kenya-born Professor John S. Mbiti, a well-known scholar and researcher of African religions, as the main reference. However, in African religious thought God is distanced from the task of moral affairs because the task of moral retribution and maintenance of effective moral norms is usually performed by spiritual agents of much lower standing—that is, “by spirits of various sorts, by ghosts and even by human practitioners of spiritual arts.” Other characteristics that show the contrast between (Western) Christian thought and African Traditional Religion, according to Green, are the nonexistence of concepts of heaven and hell in African Traditional Religion, the lack of messianic expectations and hope, and the absence of eschatological thought with God “stepping in to right all wrongs or to punish wickedness.” And although African Traditional Religion affirms the continuation of life after death, where the person is believed to join the spirit world of the ancestors to continue life in some ways similar to the life before death, this belief does not constitute a hope for improved existence or for ultimate reward and punishment since a person’s moral depravity or moral rectitude “[does] not count in the beyond and whatever penalties or rewards those may bring have no bearing on life after death.”. 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