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Defining African Religion and Insiders and Outsiders - Essay Example

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Summary
Written by Laurentine Magesa, moral traditions of abundant life focuses on the African religions that is practiced by members of the African community. The book is based on the moral principles of the most of the African religions. Religion in the African communities is…
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Defining African Religion and Insiders and Outsiders
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Defining African religion insiders and outsiders Nam Defining African religion from the book moral traditions of abundant life
Written by Laurentine Magesa, moral traditions of abundant life focuses on the African religions that is practiced by members of the African community. The book is based on the moral principles of the most of the African religions. Religion in the African communities is different from the religion in the western world. Most of the religious activities are defined by the use of rituals and celebrations. Rituals are an essential part of the lives of Africans in general. Most of the rights involve observing practices that are out of the extraordinary. The practices all carry a meaning which is meant to act as life lesson. African theology is highly felt in present day America due to the presence of the African Americans.
Most of the religions are an affirmation of the existence of natural law. Natural laws are sets of unwritten laws that place emphasis on morals and obedience. The cultural practices are passed on from one generation to another. Africans practiced their religions before the interference from the white colonialists. At this time, there was no knowledge of factors such as the Holy Trinity or the Bible. Religious practices are geared toward having prosperity, peace and happiness in the community. Each type of religion has a different set of rules that should be followed to the T. lack of commitment to the religion displays disregard for the community. People who are caught committing an offence face a number of punishments which range from minor punishments to cases of exile (Magesa, 1997).
Insiders and outsiders the study of African religion
Jacob Olupona offers an alternative view of the practice of African religion in most of the African communities. The writer takes a different outlook towards the practices of different communities. The book thus gets its inspiration from countries like South Africa and Nigeria. Despite the difference of locations, the two countries have some common similarities. Some of the similarities are seen in the use of proverbs. Africans value the opinion of the elder members of the society. Most of the proverbs are created by the ancestors and passed on to the offspring’s. The use of proverbs has thus been incorporated into the religions. They act as a way of guidance in that they have moral codes of behavior.
The book mentions the importance of rituals in the African community as a whole. Rituals are reserved for several occasions and celebrations in the community. Each celebration has a special ritual which acts as a symbolic example. In the case of religion, Africans dedicate an immense number of rituals to worship. The rituals consist of vigorous dances that can last from morning till sunset. Rituals chase away evil spirits from the community; this is done by the stomping of feet and the use of drums. The elder’s then cleanse the members of the community to maintain the purity of each individual (Olupọna, 1991).
Conclusion
African religious activities have been associated with pagan rituals by the white man. This is beginning to change due to the increased studies of African religions by scholars. The study of African the religion indicates the recognition of African culture that has for a long time been overlooked
References
Magesa, L. (1997). African religion: The moral traditions of abundant life. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books.
Olupọna, J. O. K., International Religious Foundation., & Council for World Religions. (1991). African traditional religions in contemporary society. New York: International Religious Foundation. Read More
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