RE.docx - Introduction African traditional religion refers...

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Introduction African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and others, because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people. Traditional African religions are not stagnant but highly dynamic and constantly reacting to various shifting influences such as old age, modernity, and technological advances. They are less of faith traditions and more of lived traditions. They are less concerned with doctrines and much more so with rituals, ceremonies, and lived practices. When addressing religion in Africa, scholars often speak of a “triple heritage,” that is the triple legacy of indigenous religion, Islam, and Christianity that are often found side by side in many African societies. While those who identify as practitioners of traditional African religions are often in the minority, many who identify as Muslims or Christians are involved in traditional religions to one degree or another. Though many Africans have converted to Islam and Christianity, these religions still inform the social, economic, and political life in African societies. Before the introduction of Islam and Christianity, Africa had a very developed system of religion. It was called Animism, which cannot be minimized to a specific set of beliefs, but most ethnic groups believed in: - One supreme God - Several other Gods - Beliefs in spirits of ancestors - Sacrifice (child or animal) to secure protection - Need to undergo a Rite of Passage which is “coming of age” ceremony or ritual. Animism - Traditional African people developed belief systems that helped them understand and organize information about their world. - Developed throughout many parts of the world throughout the course of history - The belief that spirits are present in natural objects Many Africans believed the spirits of their departed ancestors were present on Earth
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