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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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What does one understand under “Religion”? The phenomenon of Religion exists still in our days, notwithstanding many ventures of totalitarian nations of the 20th century to rot out Religion and religious behaviours through systematic and atheistic upbringing and Propaganda and the discussion about the end of Religion. There is no plausible reason to believe that this would Change. “There is nothing, whose death has been proclaimed like Religion. It is undoubtedly true, that in the history of mankind different religions have come and gone. However, in all societies, beginning from the primitive to the modern ones, there has always been socially formed, more or less firm obligatory social Systems, which combine world orientation, legitimation of natural and societal orders and the individual transcendentory Interpretation (for instance the family relation) with practical introduction to lifestyle and biographical commitments.”1 However, this diachronic and synchronic universal phenomenon of Religion seems not to be grasped easily in a particular Definition. The statement of Augustine about time (“What is ‘Time’? I know what it is, if no one asks about it; however, if I want to explain it to somebody, I realise that I do not know it”)2 seems also to be valid for Religion. Besides, the complication of the Topic stems from the fact that the contemporary concept of Religion arose in the philosophy of modern Europe. The dialectic theology of Karl Barth has questioned the proportionality in its relation to Christianity and the religious sciences have doubted its capability...

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