No longer was reference made to African culture, it became barbarism. Traditional African approaches in the light of natural values, and of modern secular attitude If we are going to speak of traditional African concepts and customs regarding marriage and the family, a few clarifications are called for. Girls and boys grow up; they know what kind of society they are growing in. This is taking human being as a mere animal which is not true. One of the other areas of conflict between the traditional religion and Christianity in Igbo nation is in burial ceremonies. FOUNDED: 200,000–100,000 b.c.e. When early missionaries came to bring the gospel to Africans, it is clear that they might have believed that over time the African spirit world was hopefully going to dissipate if Africans were given more education and religious instruction (2007;375). While some traditions have a supreme being (next to other deities), others have not. Pollutants cause respiratory disease like Asthma and cardiac-vascular problems. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. Berry,R.J. For the purpose of this paper I will only summarize few of areas under which ecological crisis is manifested! These processes of clearing of green covers and making the land available for residential, industrial or commercial use purposes affect the ecosystem immensely enhance interfering with the ecological balance. One religious ceremony practiced in Gabon and Cameroon is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups. Heavy metals, nitrates and plastic are toxins responsible for pollution. Because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African … During these events usually an offering is made to honour, please and thank the ancestors. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. In the United States Vudon is more predominant in the states along the Gulf of Mexico. The issues I presented earlier in this paper that are currently affecting the world concerning ecological crisis are very much evident in the contemporary society. The traditional spiritual beliefs of the Chewa people of Zambia, … The Semitic Abrahamic religion of Judaism is comparable to the latter world view. I wish to point out that for many religions, the natural world is understood as a source of teaching, guidance, visionary inspiration, revelation of power about the supernatural being who is the source of beliefs system. Also religious beliefs and traditions are at the crossroad in the modern world of secularization. Foreign anthropologists from late 19thc. For example the issue of stewardship which is the key foundation of some religious practices are the basis in which religion and ecology are seen offering that the some intellectual energy, symbolic power, moral persuasion within their institutional structures. [8][9], Although the majority of Africans today are adherents of Christianity or Islam, African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. Every aspect of it cannot be described as original. This accounts for the varying figures that are sometimes seen in . I tend to believe that there must have been negative attitudes, which may have caused Christians to neglect their stewardship. I wish to point out that having seen the relationship between religious traditions and ecology, the current position of ecological crisis and the destruction witnessed on the planet earth in view of Christianity and African tradition religious beliefs, ecological crisis posed on the planet are the crossroad. Dirty water is the biggest health risk of the world and poses threat to the quality of life and public health. basically meant to help people in their tribulations but religious pluralism in Africa has brought conflict, tension and confusion in families and communities. It is at this point that we see both biblical and historical analysis necessitates the position and the roots of our ecological crisis. This study attempts to trace the meaning of African Traditional Religion and the roots of the educational influences which were at work in it in order to rediscover and preserve through oral testimony the nature of indigenous religion and education in South Africa. Also, this practice can also give rise to those in these trances uttering words which, when interpreted by a culturally educated initiate or diviner, can provide insight into appropriate directions which the community (or individual) might take in accomplishing its goal. Professor White’s article makes it very clear on the concept of Biblical aspect of man’s dominion over the earth. Since Christianity came in contact with the traditional religion, there has always been … Introduction to African religion. [18], Traditional African religions can be broken down into linguistic cultural groups, with common themes. This is one of the key stumbling blocks in addressing the ecological issues. The Benin Monarchy, Olokun & Iha Ominigbon. Along with this alignment, religions have developed injunctions against overuse of land and species found in numerous scriptures. [35], Traditional African religions generally believe in an afterlife, one or more Spirit worlds, and Ancestor worship is an important basic concept in mostly all African religions. However, as our environment changes, so does the need to become increasingly aware of the problems that surround it. Biblically God created human being to take care the earth and subdue it. 3. This current global trend is the dilemma in which religious traditions finds themselves today. According to Christians traditional arguments, the bible is viewed has one of the tool that has helped towards nurturing the exploitation of nature. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. [38] Traditional African religions embrace natural phenomena â€“ ebb and tide, waxing and waning moon, rain and drought â€“ and the rhythmic pattern of agriculture. For this reason Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt for environmental deterioration( White 1967:1203). Therefore, it is the intention of this paper to discuss the problems and difficulties that religious traditions face when addressing problems related to ecological issues. This has not been enough and thus why there are many challenges encountered when religious traditions are trying to address the issues of ecology in the 21st century. This can be seen from the chapters of Genesis in Old Testament as follows. African world view, ‘all life is religion’(Farrington 1998:16). The ancestors are generally believed to reside in an ancestral realm (spiritworld), while some believe that the ancestors became equal in power to deities.[29]. If the implication were true that Christianity lies at the roots of the modern environmental dilemma, one might expect that those regions of the world where Christians are relatively few might enjoy a better track record of environmental conservation. [16], Animism builds the core concept of traditional African religions, this includes the worship of tutelary deities, nature worship, ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife. So religions are trying to see that human beings ought to regard the nature as the home of man through sustainability of the earth as a moral concern. In reference to this current environmental problems, they tend to pose a lot of risk to health of humans, and animals. For example in the developing countries, we may witness notorious aspect where the production of excessive amount of waste or garbage which eventually get to be dumped into the oceans and sea waters. This experience of a creative force gives rise to a human desire to enter into transformative processes that link self, society, and cosmos. According to Berry (2006), while quoting John Paul II, pointed out that “the earth was made for man, and not man for the earth” . Waste disposal is the other issue due to what I may call over consumption of resources and creation of plastics which are creating a global crisis in the surrounding environment. Ill-health and other misfortunes, which often times defile scientific and orthodox treatments are explained 1. It is in this regard that the paper will discuss the Christianity and African traditional religion thereafter. [10][11][12][13][14] The two Abrahamic religions are widespread across Africa, though mostly concentrated in different areas. The traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. It is in this respect ecosystem which is the bedrock of ecological issues is facing great challenge today. But the relationship between religion and environments seems to be deteriorating where environmental conservation on biblical principles are facing challenges due to issues such as pollution: Pollution of air, water and soil require millions of years to recoup. of traditional African religion alongside their professed beliefs. At the same time, religions may become a means for experiencing a sustaining creative force in the natural and human worlds and beyond. In having this in mind, I wish to point out that the crisis of ecology goes back the Christian attitude to nature. inconsistently used African Traditional Religion and African Religion, while Onibere insisted on African Indigenous Religion. If ignored today, these ill effects are sure to curb human existence in the near future. The ideas that God is the source of all life, that creation is good, that human beings are connected to the earth, and that God is concerned for all creatures strongly suggest that we are to value and respect the earth and its many forms of life. This interweaving of cosmological religious thought and environmental issues are seen below in the definition of the term ecological issues. It suggests as well that human interaction with the sacred often occurs in and through nature and the larger cosmos. Another drawback is that increased use of toxins to make insect resistant plant can cause resultant organisms to become resistant to antibiotics. Modernity has not put a total stop to the influence of Indigenous African spirituality Photo: DailyPost Diverse traditional beliefs and practices of African people, Encyclopedia of African Religion (Sage, 2009). Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. Therefore nature is seen in this light as a revelatory context for orienting humans to abiding religious questions regarding the cosmological origins of the universe, the meaning of the emergence of life, and the responsible role of humans in these life processes. Thus, strictly speaking, religion in its pristine form is no longer in existence. The intersection of religion and ecology opens up for further investigation the broad interactions of humans as individuals and as communities with the natural world and the universe at large. Religious traditions are being affected by both theological problems and political implications of stewardship in addressing ecological issues. New York.Peter Lang, - Publication as eBook and book Olupona rejects the western/islamic definition of Monotheism or Polytheism and says that such concepts could not reflect the complex African traditions and are simplistic. The other challenge in the planet is global Warming: this ecological issue is impacting negatively on climate changes. The term anthropocosmic refers to the linkage in which the microcosm of the individual is connected to the larger human community and to the macrocosm of the universe itself. Lynn White Jr. an American specialist in mediaeval technology, pioneered the idea in the 1970s that Christianity was the world’s most anthropocentric religion and is today to be blamed for the ecological crisis. African Traditional Religions. The current dominance of Christianity and Islam is well evidenced by the Pew Forum project on religion in Africa. Such insights provide powerful grounds for environmental responsibility. Population of the planet is reaching unsustainable levels as it faces shortage of resources like water, fuel and food. This alignment of the passage of human life with natural systems constitutes a profound dynamic of religious energy expressed in cosmological myths, symbols, and rituals. For this case, Christianity and African tradition religions will form the basis of the discussion so as to point out the difficulties that religious traditions seem to encounter when dealing with ecological issues. Among Afro-Asiatic-speakers is henotheism, the belief in one's own gods but accepting the existence of other gods; evil here is caused by malevolent spirits. Overpopulation is one of the crucial current environmental problems. The Arabic language has provided abstract concepts, particularly religious ones, that reveal Islamic modes of thought and expression. Thus, strictly speaking, religion in its pristine form is no longer in existence. This brought together representatives from five of the world’s major religions to discuss religion and nature. In contrast to common assumptions, they are discovering that the Bible contains insights that can help form the basis of a sound environmental ethic. Therefore, religious traditions are at the cross road towards addressing ecological challenges because no item in the physical creation has any purpose towards saving humanity. This is also pointed out by Berry while quoting Lynn White(1967). Asoanya (2011) while defining the term ecology adds that ecology based on the old fashioned name Oecologie appeared around the late 1890’s derived from Greek prefix eco which means house or dwelling place. This type of education has resulted in a According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. 1. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. On the basis of understanding more about religion based on this context, it is of vital to point out that, religions have acknowledged that simultaneously with ongoing seasonal and geological changes there is wholeness and a holiness in the earth. The challenge faced by religious traditions as was seen earlier is the attitude on matters of environmental concept. Drawing the concept ecological issues from the term religious ecology is used here to point toward a cultural awareness of kinship with and dependence on nature for the continuity of all life. One of the best ways is to deal with it religiously, but the problem is that, our current planet earth has a natural environment, known as ‘Ecosystem’ which includes all humans, plant life, mountains, glaciers, atmosphere, rocks, galaxy, massive oceans and seas. This is very evident by the growing threat to the natural order that we face today. The other crisis is seen as a result of overpopulation. Religious ecology provides a basis for exploring diverse cultural responses to the varied Earth processes. The other area of conflict between the two is man’s understanding of the relationship between self and cosmos. Globally, people are taking efforts to shift to renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, biogas and geothermal energy. 5.2.2 Manifestations of African beliefs and practices within a counselling relationship 123 . According to Clemmont E. Vontress, the various religious traditions of Africa are united by a basic Animism. As the European empires in Africa began to break up after World War II, both … The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Therefore the term ecology has today become a household word. Asoanya, A.(2011). The beliefs and practices of the traditional religions in Africa can enrich Christian theology and spirituality." 1, Hutchison, 1913, p.xll. - Every paper finds readers. are used interchangeably, and refer to African Traditional Religion(s)—ATR. All of this is attributed to the influence of Judeo-Christian conceptions of creation . Religious traditions are seen in the view of Christianity, that both attitudes and man’s relation to nature is affecting the ecology. Having the brief overview of the ecological crisis, it is of value to point out that, the respect for integrity, wholeness and harmony of the earth and its life is shared by the great religions. African Traditional Religion has been evolving; there is in it the element of continuity as well as discontinuity. Mugambi, 1995). I mentioned earlier matters of environmental pollution on both living things and non-living things. African Traditional Religion is the traditional religion of the African people before the coming of Islam and Christianity. Traditional African religions are less of faith traditions and more of lived traditions. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on. Africa, the place of origin of all humankind, is divided into numerous political and cultural regions, reflecting its diverse range of histories, ethnicities, languages, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. On my own understanding, religious traditions are thought of divine presence and purpose in nature and the cosmos, through with environmental issues in which they have been shaped by human beliefs and culture. 1. [15], Followers of traditional African religions are also found around the world. Based on the above discussion in view of the current ecological crisis, it is worth noting that religious traditions have a common denominator on the difficulties and challenges in which religious groups finds themselves on matters of dealing with ecological issues. [21][22] New world religions such as Santería, Vodun, and Candomblé, would be derived from this world. Since it is a religion practised by living persons today, changes are to be expected. 2 Wrong ideas: African Religion is ancestor worship. African Traditional Religion has been evolving; there is in it the element of continuity as well as discontinuity. Religious traditions are key aspects which environmental policy and ethics can be resolved if right mechanisms are observed. It is worth pointing out that Christian’s tradition is fraught with a mix of negative and positive motifs: disdain for the body, the earth, and the matter and desire for pure transcendence and spiritualization; incarnational , resurrection, eschatological thoughts that incorporate flesh and spirit, creation and cosmic destiny. [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. "Kings, Magic & Medicine". For some traditions this is a creator deity, for others it is a numinous presence in nature, and for others it is the source of flourishing life. Even though Berry had no idea about African original beliefs that went on fading with time, this concept is very much applicable where stewardship is perceived as slavery. It true that, religious traditions are undergoing through a revolutionary changes as they experience the environmental wave in the 21st century. African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. To this concept human being religiously are pictured as trustees of the earth. - It only takes five minutes Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. This is as a result of religious attitudes and ignorance towards embracing the mandate of right stewardship. The concept of diseases and health care in African traditional religion in Ghana As human beings we sometimes in one way or another become sick, and therefore go for treatment depending on our choice of treatment (religious perspective or Western medical treatment). The anthropocosmic impulse is for rationality, intimacy, and communion with this numinous reality. We now see many of the problems common in western culture also emerging and becoming common amidst African people. If African traditional religion is studied just as a vehicle to understand, or propagate Christianity, such evangelical, or missiological motive could blur hindsight and comprehensive perception of the religious phenomena. London:T&T Clark Int. But today the biggest challenge in the 21st century on the environmental crisis is in Africa. The sub topic discussed here, will briefly asses the “conflict” between religious tradition and ecology. Especially in Africa, religion has been at the heart of much of the contemporary conflicts. Most religions can be descri… There are also religions with a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). This nature is perceived as a home of man. This shows that there is a strong link between religion and ecology. Finally as an African priest, therefore, a leader who accepts that the continent needs an awakening to its values as part of the larger cosmos, the writer feels that sifting through the hidden traditional African religious experiences one might discover something that will help the continent solve its problems, especially economic problems. This condition has resulted to climate changes, droughts and floods amidst other natural problems threatening human life on earth. Due to technological advancement, we have the ecological crisis based on genetic engineering:; Genetic modification of food using biotechnology is called genetic engineering is one of the modification of food resulting to an increased toxins and diseases which are affecting our genetic makeup. 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