To discourse the inquiry that Christianity should non act upon African Religion, but that African Religion can besides enrich Christianity, it is of import to province what the two faiths are and the misinterpretation that has locked up the two Religions. It is every bit really indispensable to advert the constructs, which were at one clip concrete to African Traditional Religion before the coming of Christianity in Africa.
The really concepts that have added significance in Christianity are the really concepts that African Traditional Religion depended on and believed in all along. These are the same constructs that re-appear in Christianity so as to set up a meaningful relation among the people every bit good as between people and God. In Short, these are the constructs, which African Traditional Religion has used to enrich Christianity.
Therefore, in this paper, my major concern is to discourse issues that so African faith has contributed to the enrichment of Christianity
In this paper, it is besides of import to discourse what Christianity and African Traditional Religions are all about.
Therefore, Christianity is a faith believed to hold been founded by Christ. Christ is believed to be the supernatural Son of God and go-between between people and God. He is considered to be the ascendant in Christianity belief. He is believed to hold died and rose from the dead, mediating for human existences. Christianity is a faith that acknowledges the being of the Supreme Being, God the Godhead the Godhead of the unobserved and seen things. This supernatural Being is called by different names such as the supplier, merely as he has been given different names and properties in African Traditional Religion.
Christian religion is the faith that has patterns and beliefs that are believed to be the instructions are good as the plants Jesus Christ. It is believed to hold been brought to African by the Europeans. It is a foreign faith in Africa from the western universe. When the missionaries were distributing the Christian beliefs and patterns, they used besides their civilization to rule other people including Africans ; who at the clip already believed in African Traditional faith.
As for African faith, many people say that it is non easy to specify. It has made bookmans fail to understand and explicate it to the full. As a consequence they have ended up defining African Religion utilizing nomenclatures, which are misdirecting. They have described African Traditional Religion as thaumaturgy, animism, crude faith, ascendant worship and many more incorrect descriptions.
However, African Traditional Religion is believed to be the oldest faith. It is believed that the beliefs and patterns of the African tradition faith are autochthonal that have been in being from clip immemorial for autochthonal black African people. In other words, African Traditional Religion is portion of the mental cultural heritage of autochthonal Africans and are able beginning of individuality and consciousness, morality and spiritualty, in all domains. It is passed on through traditional instruction done by seniors of the community.
Wilson ‘s thought of educating that:
“ Education involves originating people into assorted signifiers of idea and activity in such away that they are helped to go better informed, more understanding and more sensible. ” ( Wilson 1971:1 )
However, Wilson ‘s position is that traditional spiritual instruction by seniors through unwritten or passing down of civilization in Africa efforts to be as its set accent on maintaining the tradition. The African Traditional Religious position on faith is non an influence from Christianity, but instead enrichment to it.
However, African Traditional Religion is really indispensable in that it is cosmopolitan, unifies and disunites and diverse in nature. Religion is human experience found in all societies in assorted signifiers. Holm ( 1975:7 ) . States that “ a faith is critical, cosmopolitan and that every human being has a signifier of faith ” . Her statement is based on the premise that every individual has farther concern in life. Therefore, a faith is non merely about Christianity. Hence, it is of import for African Traditional Religion to enrich Christianity. Despite that African Traditional Religion unifies, Africa being a multi racial, multi cultural, multi spiritual and multi civilization and belief, it enriches other faiths like Christianity.
However, African Traditional Religion can play a function efficaciously as it assists to take dogmatism and fanatism among Christians ; it helps Christians to recognize that human existences are equal and that they should esteem others their ways of life and beliefs. Such realisation comes about by African Tradition Religion nonsubjective instructions. In this manner it can play the important function of keeping society together in the spirit of Ubuntu- which of a spirit of unity, the spirit of love one another as yourself in the Christian construct.
Actually the Religion is said to hold no laminitis and has no sacred books such as the Bible for the Christians. The beliefs and patterns of African Traditional Religion are said to hold been handed down from coevals to coevals by both verbally and every bit good as by the practical public presentations as narrated earlier on.
African Traditional Religion is based on communitarian sort of life style. That is, populating as folks or kin and as drawn-out households, hence there are so spiritual because of these many folks or kins in Africa, but Africans themselves remain in brotherhood as they have common God to whom they worship. Despite holding many faiths, It is by and large agreed that there is one African Religion because they have common and of import beliefs such as the Supreme Being as already stated above. The Religion puts adult male on the centre as a cardinal concern, the existence, life, decease and life after decease.
The faith does non separate trusters from disbelievers. There is no limit between them. Everyone is welcome in the society because Africans are born into the faith. They born and live in it wherever there ‘s an African, faith is at that place excessively whether in field, at school, at funeral etc.
The faith has influence on all personal businesss of life get downing from before birth of a human being through life itself and even after decease. It is centered on life and how to protect it against bad lucks such as illness, sterility, decease and many more antagonists that can go on in human life.
African Religion embraces Spiritual, political and societal facets of human existences. Its patterns and beliefs are based on the religion of the ascendants. This is what makes African Religion a traditional belief. The beliefs and the constructs of beliefs are found in the thought of God, the Godheads of all things ; the construct that has enriched Christianity. The beliefs are expressed in different ways from civilization to civilization but the same presence of God permeates the lives of Africans. God is believed to be a higher Being Personal with Feelings that he/she can be offended or be appeased. God is thought to be cryptic and he is named harmonizing to his manifestations, for this ground God can be referred to as Greatness, Holy, the Provider, and Healer, Protector, Deliverer, and many more properties. All these rubrics reflect the same to Christianity, hence no influence to African faith.
It is believed that God can be communicated to through the ascendants – those who have died, merely like what happens to Christianity through Jesus. This is one of the issues which Christianity have misunderstood African Religion so that they have ever wanted to act upon African Religion. While at the same clip they are the same valuable elements, which are used in Christianity.
African Religion and Christianity are in changeless misinterpretation though they are compatible. When Christianity was brought to Africa, Europeans thought that Africans did non hold cognition about God. They thought African Religion was all about worshipping of ascendants and that it was a crude faith merely as stated earlier on. I conquer with Richard Gehman when he said that we should non believe that the missionaries were prophesying the Gospel to Africans whose caputs were empty or may be to believe that Africans are non cognizant of the being of God. For illustration, in African faith the spirit of unity has been a practical issue that existed long earlier. This deals with the African construct of the community. In Africa, nouns like cousin, niece, nephew, uncle, and aunt does non be. In Africa, one may hold many male parents, female parents, brothers and sisters. Brothers to their male parent are besides their male parents, and sisters to their female parent are their female parents excessively. That is how the African community is set up. Drawn-out households are appreciated. This is what Christianity of the western universe should make. Westerners who brought Christianity should encompass the drawn-out households excessively, and embrace everyone as members of the same household. Oneness has no bound to atomic household like Westerners who brought Christianity ; it extends beyond the hereditary tree to clan and so forth. The Christian faith alternatively preaches of love your neighbor, which is enrichment from African faith of unity. Furthermore, there is uniformity in African faith. All what they believe in are the same everyplace, unlike Christianity which different in Africa and in the western universe.
The missionaries dominated African with their western civilization to seek to act upon African civilization. They coupled African Religion and civilization with Christianity ; hence the failure to harmonise the two and what has come out is misconstruing. Like in the Ngoni tradition ceremonial ( N’cwala ) of the people of Zambia, the civilization of giving thanks to God for the crop of the new harvests is a long outstanding issue back dated to the clip of our ascendants. This has been enrichment to Christianity, being given a name of Harvest Sunday. Africans in their faith knew that there was a supreme being who deserves grasp. Hence traditional ceremonials like the Ngonis. The harvests are presented before the Paramount Chief for thanksgiving now. And a Chief can be equalled to a Priest in the Christian circles, whom besides performs similar responsibilities of that of a head ; though through different go-betweens, ascendants for the African faith and Jesus Christ for the Christians.
Misconstruing intensify because the westerners came with their ain ways of life and believing together with Christianity as stated earlier on and tried to rob African faith.
Despite the misinterpretation that has been exhibited between African Religion and Christianity it is of import to advert that the two faiths are compatible Though Christians think that African faith is a faith of hereditary worshipping, the African religionist have indicated that it is non about idolizing the ascendants, but instead to honor the ascendants merely as Jesus is honoured
What Christianity has failed to understand is the ground why African Religion venerates and non idolize the ascendants. Actually African Religionists have said that “ we do non idolize ascendants, we remember them and thank them ” . Veneration is honoring the ascendants and their liquors. This is one of the values, which are similar to Christian denominations like the Roman Catholic, and the Anglican churches do the fear when marking the saints. These are believed to play a similar function as mediators and are believed to be closer to God who is the Supreme and Supernatural Spiritual Being.
In African faith, life is perceived to be sacred. There is about a feeling a Godhead jussive mood that life must be lived, is to be enjoyed and to be honoured. No wander both Religions believe that people continue to be even after decease and there is demand to retrieve them as Mbiti said that every bit much as Christianity and African Religion are cognizant of the being of God, they would besides stay in contact with him through mediators. It is believed that the spirit of the populating dead of those who have died in 4th to fifth coevalss ago became ascendants who mediate between God and those who are still populating. Mbiti besides explains that the natural relationship and the sacred position are included in this hereditary. In African tradition faith there is a really high sense of the sacred. There is a fear of sacred topographic points and individuals, and it enfolds the whole of life. The relationship ties continue to be. Hence they are venerated in recollection of them as though they were still alive.
Now Christianity holds the some similar belief that decease is non the terminal of the relationships between the life and the dead. That is why there is the recollection for the bygone 1s. This is what the West failed to understand why African Religion honours the dead.
For illustration, the thoughts of Religions about religion in the Supreme Being, thoughts about morality and worship are concrete to both Christianity and African Religion. Unfortunately such concrete issues and many others have been neglected in Christianity whilst African Religion has been up keeping them. African faith is really being urged to enrich Christianity by pressing it to reinstate the doomed values.
As seen in 1 Corinthians 14:36, Paul gives a image of what an African would inquire the Christians that the values of life can non merely come from the Whites but from Africans excessively. African Religion has something to offer the West as Peter. K. Sarpong states that ;
“ African Traditional faith challenges Christianity to re-appraise it self with respect to the chief constructs which one time were its pillars, but now are vanishing or going irrelevant ”
Sarpong may intend that Christianity has lost really of import elements needed for the better relation between human existences and God every bit good as among people themselves. Like what is go oning today, homosexualism is tolerated among Christians who was at a certain clip criticised but in African faith it has remained an abomination- a tabu up to today.
Last, as a individual born in Africa and attached to an African tradition, can proudly state that there is nil that African tradition faith can enrich from Christianity. Christianity alternatively, enrich from African faith. And I have observed that there is some incorrect perceptual experiences about African faith patterns that are really in some signifier performed in Christianity, and merely failed the other faith.