African Traditions

Published: 2019-06-11 07:30:00
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The world has many religious groups and with the democratic nature of most societies, new religions have come up in different forms. However, there are those religious practices that existed before the introduction of Christianity to Africa. Africans had their own ways of praying and treating their patients which were far different from the current westernized way of viewing religion. This paper will discuss and critically analyze the primal experiences in the primal religions. Additionally, the paper will examine how sorcerers and healers in African tradition were viewed on how they used their powers and the role played by Christianity in delivering Africans from the bond of slavery.

At the core of all primal religions are the primal experiences (Hexham, 2011). Such experiences are beyond rational understanding and explanation. There are very many religious movements that claim to have solutions to most of the problems people are facing nowadays. Each of these movements has their way of practicing their activities and people run to them because they like what they can see. People like to believe in what they can actually see; as a result, these societies have consumed most of people who are trying to find problems that they cannot find their answers scientifically. Primal experiences include; visions, dreams detection of ghosts and spiritual healings (Hexham, 2011). The new religions normally uses these experiences to attract attention of more members; they want to prove that hat they are doing is real and because people are easily convinced with what they can visualize they run to such places with the aim that they will what they are looking for. Such religious societies have manipulated and managed to corrupt the minds of many people in the way they perceive the world. Primal religions are not easily identified and it becomes very difficult to identify such movements; therefore, the society believes that they are not real and do not exist (Hexham, 2011). This approach of thinking has changed the way scientific view such movements; for example, when someone is spiritually disturbed and he goes to the hospital for help because one might not be able to identify the spiritual problems not unless he has the spiritual powers, the scientific approach to such issue makes them arrive to a conclusion that the person might be mentally ill.

Scientific studies do not believe in existence of such spiritual challenges and this is because they deal with what society accepts. Such person might be even said to be hallucinating and referred to a psychiatric specialists. To primal religions, such experiences are real and they tend to believe that they have answers to such problems. People with such experiences finds it very difficult to share their spiritual; experiences with their colleagues who have no such experience, but with the new religion they find it becomes very easy for them to share those experiences because they believe that the people in such religions also share the same predicaments as they are. They become very friendly to one another; for example in some occult groups they call such organizations the brotherhood. This means that it is a place where each member is a brother to the other and ones secret is kept within the organization. People are driven by different desires to join such groups; for example, one may be poor and such groups have offered to lift him out of the poverty.

It can be very difficult to identify the methods used by sorcerers or healers in their religious practices by looking at what they do; but one can only identify what they do though the outcome of their actions (Hexham, 2011). Some of them use tricks such as magic to manipulate the normal way people think and convince them to see what they want them to see. Such kind of powers can be misused to do evil or they can be used to do the right thing. People with such healing and sorcery powers have divine call.

In African tradition, such people inherit the powers from their elders; it can be a grandparent, the parent or a close relative to the family. Because of the worldly desire, such powers can be misused especially the sorcery. In African tradition, sorcery is considered evil and in some communities people who practice such practices are either removed from the community of killed. This is because people who use sorcery misuse their powers for other things other than the one meant.

Such powers in African tradition were meant to save lives and not destroy. But because of the desire for material things, people changed and began using it to hurt others so that they can get an incentive in return. For example, one may come to a sorcerer and pay him to kill another person or even make him mad. In African traditions such things are real; someone can make another person run mad or even block his success so that the person will continue suffering and languish in poverty. Indeed people are tempted to misuse their special powers to exploit others, but I believe this is wrong. In African tradition, the sorcerers were believed to be performing evil and harmful things other than good. The healers were very welcomed in such societies. Even healing powers are now misused. For example, in African traditional societies healers might use their healing power to heal a person by transferring the disease to another person. There are diseases known not to have any healing so the only way to heal the patient is by transferring it to another person. This is not right also; that person they use is innocent and this is just temptation to get incentive.

Christianity is a unique and significant religion among African traditions in the way they quickly came and disapprove the slavery and enhanced the antislavery movement (Hexham, 2011). Christianity is not a normal thing in African traditional societies; before the coming of the missionaries Africans had their gods that they worshipped and Christianity was just adopted after the missionary came. Africans were taken away as slaves during the slave trade in Africa. Most of them suffered in the hands of their masters and lost their families because of the separation. Most of Africans were taken away to other continents and sold as slaves. Christianity played a major role in ending this trade beginning in Europe. Most of slaves were taken from Africa to Europe to work in plantations and this is the continent that was majorly known for slave trade, although there were other places such as Asia. Christian missionaries greatly participated in ending the slave trade both in Europe and Africa leaving Africans free. Slavery was viewed as sin from the Christian perspective and was majorly associated with the Muslims who lived on the edge of civilization.

St. Thomas Aquinas rejected the slavery of one human by another; claiming that subjecting one person to another was not only unlawful but also against the rule of nature that no human being should be a subject to another (Hexham, 2011). He argued that slavery existed because of the original sin and the ideology was spread all across the world until 18th century. Despite the attempt to eradicate the slavery, some people opposed this idea and it marked the beginning of transatlantic trade (Hexham, 2011). Most of the people who opposed the idea of ending slave trade claimed that slave trade was Biblically justifiable and they were not doing anything contrary to the Biblical way. I believe that Christianity played a major role in eradicating slavery both on Africans and other races. Slavery is a way of dehumanizing others and is not both ethically and logically right. One should compare the case with him/her own. What if someone subjected you to such misery? How would you feel? People should do to others what they would like to be done to them.

In conclusion, most of the countries in the world have adopted the democratic way of living where everyone has a right to do anything so long as it within the rule of law. New religions come up frequently with different objectives; some wants to save others while others want to exploit them. One should be driven by self-conscious on what one believes in. some primal experiences such as visions may influence someone to change his/her personality. I strongly believe that most of the prima religions do not have the answers to what we are looking for and therefore, one should stop wasting his/her time going there.

Work cited

Hexham, Irving. Understanding world religions:[an interdisciplinary approach]. Zondervan, 2011.


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