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Authenticity of Belief in African (Igbo) Traditional Religion

A Critical Appraisal in the Light of Christian Faith


Aloysius Ndiukwu

The work presents Abrahamic monotheistic religions and the belief of the traditional religions in Africa, especially in Igboland. Religion exists notwithstanding many rots and bad religious behaviours through systematic and atheistic upbringing. It is true that in the history of mankind, different religions have come and gone and many are still in existence and they are religiously or socially formed. The monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have their complementary religious conviction with Igbo religion. They have the image of God as one and only. The authentic carriers of Igbo religion include religious functionaries, the family, and the elders. The religion is culturally, socially and ethically oriented and so the Gospel message of Christ should not neglect them.
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Chapter 1: Religious Concept, Faith, Belief and Tradition


1. Introduction

In this chapter, we shall explore in-depth what religion and religious concepts are. We shall also examine the concept of faith and belief and their relationship. So many authors have used the words faith and belief interchangeably in their works, but this work will throw more insight into what faith and belief are, and which precedes the other. In differentiating faith from belief, Frederick Tennant writes: “Belief is more or less constrained by the fact or actuality that already is or will be, independently of any contriving of ours and which convinces us. Faith, on the other hand, reaches beyond the actual or to the given to the ideally possible, which in the first instance it creates… faith may similarly lead to knowledge of actuality”.1 These differences become a window through which we see the slight cut difference between faith and belief. They cannot exist on themselves; rather on religion and other disciplines. People practice them and use them as a way of life, a way of living and a way of worship. They are nursed and nurtured in religion by reason, superstitions and myths. Religion is the soul of the society and it plays a vital role in shaping the ways of life of the people and contributing to the advancement of the society.2 Religion cannot exist without rites and rituals and they are meaningful only in the society where the religion is practiced.

1.1 The Concept of Religion

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