relationship between african traditional religion and christianity

Conflict is a universal phenomenon that is inevitable in human interaction. The missionaries were not prepared to face traditional religion. Some of these customs include: the cleansing of the town of pollution and desecration, the institution of slavery, human sacrifice, killing of twins, taking of oath and trial by ordeal, first and second burial for the dead, long mourning period for widows, and of course the practice of polygamy. The historical origin of the Igbo is not yet certain because of the different views by historians and archeologists. The southeastern part of Nigeria consists of five states that are known as the core Igbo-speaking states. The rapid growth of many religions in Africa and the revival of AIR in postcolonial Africa have made inter-religious dialogue an … One of the other areas of conflict between the traditional religion and Christianity in Igbo nation is in burial ceremonies. Besides, there was total lack of knowledge concerning many of these diseases (Asadu, 2014). They left the converts to the vengeance of the gods but the gods seemed to have taken no notice. It is the done thing to glamorise the virtues of African traditional religion and to demonise the missionaries who brought the Christian faith to … . According to Ilogu (1974), three factors usually determine the name given to a child. That action of his worsened his already sour relationship with his father and the people of Umuofia. Agbaogwugwu people of Enugu state call such reincarnated child agụ m (my rib), whereas it is called ogbo m (myself) in Ngwo and most towns in Eziagu and Udi LGAs of Enugu State, including many other towns (Okposi, Abankeleke, Uburu, etc.) Ikenga-Metuh (1972) says, “. This unfortunate situation raises much concern in the minds of well-meaning Nigerians. are a truly religious people of whom it can be said as it has been said about the Hindus that they eat religiously, dress religiously, sin religiously . It arrived in Igbo land in 1857. Christianity frowns at such practices and warns its members never to partake in them. Mbiti (1970) posits that when a person dies, his soul or spirit wanders around the bush, until his relations perform the necessary and befitting burial rites. But Dr. Ekweremadu Boniface (oral interview, 2015) draws our attention to the fact that traditional religionists pray and pour libation to worthy ancestors believed to have lived righteously during their lifetime on earth. The villagers of the different Igbo communities think that diseases were cured by these doctors with drugs and not by any ritual ceremony as they believed. Perhaps, this explains why Wotogbe-Weneka (2013) opines, “The huge resource that would otherwise be generated through tourism industry which is encouraged by government nowadays is lost through reckless destruction of sacred groves” (p. 10). Many Christians are in dilemma when they have marital problems such as childlessness or problem of gender mix in the children. I have read and accept the terms and conditions. If the second burial was not performed, according to Mr. Enem, Ignatius (oral interview, 2015), the proper inheritance of the late father’s property could not be finally settled (the above practice according to him is still in existence in some Igbo communities such as Iwolo, Nenwe and Nkanu in Enugu State, Ohaozaro, and Abiriba in Abia State). Again, Mr. Iweobi, Sunday (oral interview, 2013) says that sometimes, the funeral ceremonies of dead relatives that were not done in the past (due to one reason or the other) are organized before that of a relative who died recently. : (Interfaith Series, Vol. Ala, according to Iwe (1985), is the sustainer of all lives and fertility. But they forgot that apart from August, named after Caesar Augustus, that January to December are all names of Jewish deities, see Ozioko, 2016, for details). Diviners are consulted to find out the cause of death. . Christians are opposed to this aspect of traditional marriage. In traditional marriage, the religious aspects include the preliminary divination by which the young man who seeks a wife is enabled to find out from what clan or lineage his Chi (Guardian Spirit) permits him to take a wife of fortune from. African Traditional Religion and Christianity agree that God has made covenants with humans. In most part of Igbo traditional society, there are rituals concerning the preparation of the corpse for burial. Africans love songs and dances so much so that in almost all situations they find support and conso-lation in them. Conflict arises in the worship of ancestors. Of course, some Christians do resist. The aim of the study is to investigate the conflicts existing between the two religions since the introduction of Christianity in Igbo land, the nature, the pattern, and the rationale of the conflicts. Okonkwo’s homicide was not premeditated, and because of that, it is a female ọchụ (manslaughter) for which its penalty is relatively mild. . The personal god, chi, is what they call the guardian deity deputizing for Chukwu. Chinua Achebe in his novel, Things Fall Apart also recorded the situation when Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, was converted. in Ebonyi State. This is known as life cycle. If ever the man defies the church order and marries more than one wife, he is made a backslider. But in Christianity, according to the book of Galatians, everything created by God is pure and clean. Finally, it helped in refining some obnoxious beliefs and practices of the Igbo race. Just as in the recent times, the early Christian church had conflicts with religions and cultures that do not share same doctrines with it. This is the ceremony of finding out the ancestral relationship of the newborn child through divination. He also translated Animal Farm into the Igbo language. Traditional religion was very much based on fear of the unknown and unending sacrifices, including human sacrifices, to appease the. The Igbo osu caste system is a practice of traditional religion and culture. This destiny can be written on his palm and palmists can interpret this destiny (Ikenga-Metuh, 1972). It symbolizes innocence (Uwalaka, 1996). Igbo people can be seen in some parts of other states. The traditionalists believe that the number of wives a man has shows his opulence. These statements await further exploration by African theologians. Thomas Birth Freeman of Methodist missionary (Ukaoha, 2014). Paperback. From the above, we can see that the indigenous Igbo man still holds tenaciously to the cult of Ala, and the entire spirit world is believed to have its abode under the physical earth on which the people live and derive their sustenance. The Bible was used as a tool to pacify Africans and to make them docile. This is because the word “traditional” helps us distinguish the religion from other religions that has existed in Africa for centuries, i.e. But men have been living in Igbo nation for at least 5,000 years since the dawn of human history. The Jews had no room for compromise with any new ideology, which tended to deviate from the Law of Moses or the traditions of the elders. And, the mortality rate in Nigeria was appalling. After the interment of a fulfilled elder, and after the obsequies must have been completed, the family usually the ọkpala (the first male child in the family), erects a shrine and creates an okposi (ọfọ like sticks) for venerating the spirit of the dead through prayers and sacrifices. Christians believe that as God is the creator of every human being, names should relate to him. By continuing to browse Osu caste system: A dead myth or a reality? Schon and his associates at the shores of the River Niger. He is often distant from humans because of some bad actions of humans. Their firm belief in the Supreme Being is manifest in the names they give their children as Chukwuemeka (God has done much), Chukwuka (God is greater), Chukwuma (God knows), and so forth. Presently, the ambulance may stop over at the dead wife’s paternal compound and the corpse saluted with many canon guns shots. African Traditional Religion, … The Igbo believe so much in the concept of ọfọ. Such people included traditionalists, missionaries, scholars of church history, and so forth. From this explanation, one can easily see that the problems of Igbo Christians are those of a man practicing a new religious system, amid a traditional order that has not yet disappeared. They also acted as priests and prayed for their communities. Christians are opposed to this kind of ceremony. The study validates the facts that there is occasional destruction of lives and property and demolition of the people’s artifacts and groves by Christians, and this has led to a reduction in the sources of economic generation of traditional religionists. Ikenga is usually owned by every adult male who has attained manhood. These first overzealous converts started to ignore and to violate what the people regarded as taboos and abominations. Other material wealth such as gold, money, and many other ornaments were buried with dead bodies. This practice is also the same in Christianity, where a woman after childbirth offers live animals and special cleansing prayer to God, for readmittance into the Christian folk (see Leviticus 12:1-8 and Luke 2:22-24). Christians challenged many traditional burial ceremonies. The Igbo, apart from their belief in the great God conceived as transcendental and incomprehensible, also believe in a pantheon of lesser deities, such as Ala (earth goddess), Ufiejiọkụ (god of agriculture), Idemili (god of water), Agwụ (god of medicine, divination, and possession), and so forth. Since Christianity came in contact with the traditional religion, there has always been a sharp conflict between traditionalists and Christians. The study further adopted the qualitative descriptive and comparative methods in the analysis of data so collected. Igbo people hold most sacred, the Earth (Ala) on which they tread and from which they draw means of sustenance and vital resources such as food, crops, water, and so forth. Christians refused to partake in annual festivals of the ancestors, which have ceremonial rituals. She notes further that “Igbo began to diverge from other related languages, such as Edo and Yoruba 4,600 years ago” (Isichei, 1976, p. 3). African Traditional Religion, Islam, and Christianity in Nigeria. Inter-religious relations, especially, among African Traditional Religion (ATR) worshippers, Muslims and Christians are becoming sources of social tension and violence. She has published widely, and her latest article was with Chukwuma O. Okeke, “Cognitive Domains of the Sense Relation of Selected Igbo Verbs,” in Lingua. It is on land that we build our houses. However, Francis (2007) defines conflict as the, “pursuit of incompatible interests and goals by different groups.” Yet, a more elaborate definition was given by Phil-Eze (2009). Conflicts Between African Traditional Religion and Christianity in Eastern Nigeria: The Igbo Example Chukwuma O. Okeke1, Christopher N. Ibenwa1, and Gloria Tochukwu Okeke1 Abstract Conflict is a universal phenomenon that is inevitable in human interaction. In some parts of Igbo nation, there are certain animals regarded under the traditional religion as sacred and are, therefore, not hunted or killed for food. Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. This product could help you, Accessing resources off campus can be a challenge. Language: English . Find out about Lean Library here, If you have access to journal via a society or associations, read the instructions below. 216 x 140 mm. Christians were opposed to almost all the methods, which the traditionalists used when they were ill, or when they got misfortune and suffering. Together as One: Interfaith Relationships Between African Traditional Religion, Islam, and Christianity in Nigeria. The traditionalist performs some ritualistic ceremonies before burying a dead person. This method of conversion conforms to Ifemesia’s (1972) assertion, which runs thus: “The Christian missionaries were the object of education and religious instruction; and converting the younger people into Christianity was easier, since the young were believed not to be rooted in the ancestral ideas and practices as their fathers” (p. 70). The Christians should take it as their duty to teach and explain to the traditionalists the objective definition of religion. Ùá1ƒã«Ÿ"ì7$XøŒ˜Ô9Xª×í˜ÄÑğ�yÃöyy…¶b GNpLàÿÀæÀĞ°ª!‡9€áƒ€èކ¼I&¦mŒxo0+È+ğ4°4ÕÌc¹ÂÀº�ÍAì@5c. (p. 3). Tradition had it that the fishes were not allowed to be touched or killed, for they were dedicated to the god of the stream, but the Christian converts caught and ate them just to show that the gods of the stream had no powers to harm them, because God created all things for man’s use. .” According to Sir Ogbonna Emmanuel (oral interview, 2016), the issue of free born and osu led to a bloody communal clash in Alor-Uno in Nsukka LGA of Enugu State in 2016. Children are baptized sometimes as infants, in the early youth, and sometimes in later years as the case may be. Second, the number of tourist sites available in many Igbo towns has reduced by 80% because of the activities of Christians. Hence, this book raises such crucial questions as: How… “This also shows that Christianity believes in intermediaries but what and who serves as the intermediary is the problem,” says Chief Raphael Ojike (oral interview, 2016). Parrinder (1975), in his book West African Religion, discusses the beings under four headings: The Supreme God, the Sky gods, the Mother earth, and other divinities. According to the 2006 Census of Nigeria, the Igbo population is estimated to be around 21 million, whereas the land area is about 15,800 square miles. II) (Paperback) Filesize: 8.62 MB Reviews These types of book is the greatest ebook readily available. “The propagators of the crisis are all Christians,” said Sir Ogbonna. II) Filesize: 8.62 MB Reviews These types of book is the greatest ebook readily available. This Ikenga has to be celebrated, vitalized, and consecrated before it becomes effective. This supreme being is viewed in different forms and dwelling places, yet he is the almighty. There are no missionary elders to propagate the religion, and one individual does not preach his religion to another as is the case with nontraditional proselytizing religions. This is so if we agree that God works His ways through every culture and if we also acknowledge that the message of Christ can find root and grow in any culture. God is esteemed by both African religion and Christianity as both the very ground being, and the necessary of life, and any form of being or existence, such as the creation itself. When two different religious systems exist in one community, the tendencies of conflicts of socioreligious, ideological, physical, and even political characters will arise between them. Continue Reading. Hence, ‘the African Traditional Religion has the same kind of validity which Judaism, and Christianity, have for the Western people, or Islam has for the Arabs and Hinduism has for the Indians.’ Not only has the ground for the sowing of the gospel been prepared by ATR, ‘all world religions exist as various paths to God’. From the above conflicts, we can see that although Christianity has made some impact on Igbo people, it has not totally changed their worldview. Caste system also exists in Egypt, among the Hebrews, in China, in Japan, among the Germans, and in Russia, Spain, and Portugal (Ndulor, 2014). Distinctive Features of the Religion African traditional religion relies on the oral transmission. His areas of interest are the Igbo language and culture, and translation. But in the present-day Igbo nation, ohu, in some Igbo states have their freedom but for osu, it is not yet fully practiced. Conflict and violence in Africa in the 21st century: Where is the Afri... Community perceptions and misconceptions of motorcycle accident risks ... What Motivates People to Vote? Diviners and medicine men reported that the divinities were angry because of the new religion and warned that nobody should join the missionaries. : (Interfaith Series, Vol. Canon Onuorah Nnamdi (oral interview, 2016), in the Niger Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Anambra State, a brief stopover in the dead wife’s paternal home is an offense punishable by the absence of the priests and church members in the funeral service of the deceased. For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. They would insist on the completion of such traditional marriage rites as a sort of punishment to the husband, which ordinarily they would have overlooked. In addition, Igbo religion makes use of Ikenga. The e-mail addresses that you supply to use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. It is a taboo in most Igbo communities and in fact, an abomination for a free born to get married an Osu/Ohu. : (Interfaith Series, Vol. In the traditional society, when something goes wrong in the welfare of the individual or his family, he immediately wondered who had caused it to happen. Manuscript content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons Licenses. It is made of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit working together as one. She is responsible for public morality and offenses against the law are against Ala. He has published in many local and international journals. Data for this study were collected using both primary and secondary sources. It is essentially a postcolonial approach to what AIR and its essential characteristics is: God and humanity, sacrifices, afterlife and ancestors. Ogu creates an atmosphere for peaceful settlement. The Igbo language of course is the language spoken in Nigeria by people who are located predominantly in the southeastern part of Nigeria. Moreover, the moral conflict (which, in some cases, had been the result of clash in conscience experienced by individual Christians between the tenets of Christianity and those of the traditional religion) was not the official support given by Christian authorities against the traditional religion and its followers, but was purely the effect of a clash in religious beliefs, which naturally existed between the adherents of the traditional religion and those of the Christian faith in Igbo nation. as could be expected, associated with the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the people of Onitsha were time honoured customs handed down from their ancestors. Ọfọ has various types, namely, ọfọala (ọfọ for mother Earth), ọfọ ụmụnna (ọfọ for the kinsmen), ọfọọzọ (ọfọ for titled men), ọfọ dibia (ọfọ for diviners), and so forth. This brought the first physical conflict between the traditional religionists and the Christians in that part of Igbo nation. Christians condemned magic; they use prayers and sacrament to drive away dangers and difficulties. The Igbo society is not an exception. SAGE Publications Inc, unless otherwise noted. Sometimes, to avoid conflict, many families now combine the tenets of the two religions. It has become customary in modern times to discuss the history of African Christianity focusing only on the period dating back to the colonial days. Isichei (1976) observes that, the first human inhabitants of Igbo land must have come from areas further north, possibly from the Niger confluence. Ugwu (2014) says that the Igbo who belong of course to the West African subregion. Christians should also know that the traditionalists have implicit faith in their ancestors and minor deities because in reality, as the traditionalists look to their religion for answers to those profound mysteries of human conditions that stir the human hearts today as it did in years gone by, so also do Christians look to their own religion. Statues, images, and emblems of remarkable artistic work and aesthetic merit were wantonly destroyed by some of the overzealous converts as idols and works of the devil. In Africa the traditional religions are a major source for the study of the African experience of God. It takes the form of saying “Good morning” to the divinities and of reaffirming his acknowledgments of them to be the controllers of destiny. . Another area of conflict is polygamy. (Onyeidu, 2001, p. 6). Religion in Igbo traditional society partakes fully of all the features of world traditional religion, including its beliefs, sacred myths, oral qualities, strong appeal to the hearts of adherents, high degree of ritualization, and possession of numerous participatory personages such as officiating elders, kings, priests, and diviners. View or download all the content the society has access to. Their occupations include trading, farming, craft making among others. In most Igbo societies, you do not take action against someone who offends you without first of all sending him ogu at least three times. The original religions of Africa “are not static”; according to Mayo, “contacts with Christian and Islamic traditions have brought about transformations and syncretism of all three” a perfect example of the triple heritage of Africa[5]. After sometime, a year or more, the second burial would take place with a lot more elaborate ceremonies than the first. by Aloysius M. Lugira Series Editors: Joanne O’Brien and Martin Palmer WORLD RELIGIONS AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION THIRD EDITION. The Igbo society believes in character and has very strong belief in life after death. This practice persists till today in all Igbo communities. The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. University of Nigeria, Nsukka. If an eke killer is not killed by the mob, he definitely faces social ostracism, and when he eventually dies, he will not be given an honorable burial under the traditional religion. There was no known cure for some deadly diseases, which went wild rapidly and caused a heavy death toll among the people. Furthermore, within the traditional life, the individual is immersed in a religious participation, which starts before birth and continues after death, for the life of an Igbo man is like a religious drama, which vitally links the living with the ancestors and those yet to be born in a mystic continuum. Even to date, most Christian converts are not courageous enough to put their Christian belief into practice in the equality of human beings, by marrying an Osu or Ohu, for they know that the person and his family will be ostracized by all his kindred, who ironically are more of Christians. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. : (Interfaith Series, Vol. Christianity and the Igbo/African culture are compatible … At different times and places, there were face-to-face encounter with Christians and traditionalists, because the early Christian missionaries behaved like social revolutionaries. His latest article was “Cognitive Domains of the Sense Relation of Selected Igbo Verbs” published in Lingua (2017). FundingThe author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. He is denied the Holy Communion and other church rights. Together as One: Interfaith Relationships Between African Traditional Religion, Islam, and Christianity... Kindle \ HZYMSS7D1R Together as One: Interfaith Relationships Between African Traditional Religion, Islam, and Christianity in Nigeria. They opposed the traditional second burial rites. Everyone is in fact a religious carrier. The supreme being in most African Traditional Religions is seen as the creator of humans and all other living things. In Igbo nation, the birth of a child is accompanied by various rites, which involve presentation to ancestors and the cleansing of the mother from the “pollution” at childbirth. He is also a lecturer in the Department of Religion and Cultural Studies of the same university. Also in some parts of Igbo land such as Njaba LGA of Imo state, Udi and Nsukka areas of Enugu state, Awka, Nkpor, Ogidi, Aguleri, an so forth, all in Anambra state, the early Christian converts not only went out regularly to convert their heathen neighbors to Christianity but also showed their contempt for the traditional taboos: for example, eating the forbidden fish from certain streams in the towns. He posits, “Conflict is the expression of disagreement over something important to two individuals, groups, states or nations when they have different views, different goals, different needs and different values and they fight over limited resources to address them” (p. 393). They plunged into the condemnation and eradication of traditional religion. Linguistically, they belong to the new Benue–Congo of the Niger–Congo Language family. This assertion of the Igbo proverb is also emphasized by Madam Nwaku Anwaegbu (oral interview, 2013; see the appendix for the list of interviewees and the dates interviewed), who says that Chi is a force in Igbo social behavior, which is characterized by an attitude of man; every being is the architect of his own fortune. Most of these groves house costly masks that were traded by barter for a piece of singlet, sugar, or mirror to the missionaries, which today are displayed for tourist attraction in many European museums. . Many Igbo clans always use ọfọ and ogu together, for example, “eji m ọfọ na ogu—I have ọfọ (justice) and ogu (innocence).” Ogu is more of a concept than of a physical object. Not only that, ọfọ to him symbolizes fair play, innocence, trust, good luck, peace, equity, sacredness, good moral conduct, good leadership, accountability, and honesty. In some parts of Igbo, for instance, in Nkpor in Idemili-North Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra state, the Ikenga is spilt during the funeral celebrations of the owner. the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Hastings (1911) has defined worship as comprising all modes of giving expression to the various feelings toward the divine power, feelings of awe, reverence, obligation, depreciation, gratitude, hope, and others. Commonalities between Christianity and Africa Traditional Religion By Richard Chowning Creator God. To read Together as One: Interfaith Relationships Between African Traditional Religion, Islam, and Christianity in Nigeria. Christianity preaches that there is only one God, the creator of everything and that no worship could be given to any other false god. Traditional music and song, drama, and dance were totally denounced as bad and immoral. It has also led to syncretism in the people’s culture and has given rise to disintegration and lack of unity among the people. Those who profess Christianity, worship God directly through church services, prayers, songs, meditation, and through other various services. Commonalities between Christianity and Africa Traditional Religion Creator God The supreme being in most African Traditional Religions is seen as the creator of humans and all other living things. The secondary sources included, among others, materials such as textbooks, journal articles, encyclopedia, and Internet materials. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. Not only that, they killed and ate this totem animal, they put its head inside match boxes which when picked up and opened by the traditional religionists, they had to offer special sacrifices to cleanse themselves from the abomination because they had seen the head of eke (Royal python). 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