The African Traditional Religious Ontology of God, Divinities, and Spirits

The African Traditional Religious Ontology of God, Divinities, and Spirits

John Mwangi (Mount Kenya University, Kenya) and Loizer W. Mwakio (Mount Kenya University, Kenya)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4595-9.ch003
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Abstract

Earlier scholars of religion argued that Africans were animists and polytheists who didn't have the concept of a supreme being because they did not see clearly the distinction between the supreme being and divinities. It's recent that indigenous scholars disputed this and redefined the relationship as ‘diffused monotheism'. God seemed to be remote to the Africans' daily affairs of life, and African culture of respect and honor had a role in this. The authors attempt to present a reality of an accurate outlook of the obscure yet clear religious ontology of God, divinities, and spirits in the African indigenous religion. Durkheim asserted religion divided society into two categories, the profane and the sacred; nevertheless, in the African religious ontology, the two are intermixed in everyday experiences. On the flip-side, to overlook the concept of spirit being in the African worldview is to proscribe an African religious belief system.
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The Root Of Misunderstanding Of The African Concept Of Supreme Being

African indigenous (native) religions for several reasons are difficult to be understood by non-natives.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Profane: Consists of all empirically observable things, things that are knowable through everyday experiences. The profane had little to do with public relevance, even though it may have been shared by more than one person.

Spirit-Beings: Are another level of the hierarchy of beings that exist as good and bad exist in association with living beings although. They are capable to affecting human life for the better or the worse.

Diffused Monotheism: Is the remote association of the Supreme Being and divinities who act as vassals who reign and superintend on God’s behalf.

Divination: Is the practice of attempting to acquire hidden knowledge and insight into events—past, present, and future—through the direct or indirect contact of human intelligence with the supernatural.

Sacred: Consists of things that are awe-inspiring and knowable only through extraordinary experiences. Durkheim believed the sacred had the capacity to represent norms, values, power, and beliefs.

Divinities: Are spirit beings in the second order of beings from apex that reign and superintend on God’s behalf.

Worldview: Refers to a comprehensive and usually personal conception or view of humanity, the world, or life.

Supreme Being: Refers to the being believed in monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity to be the all-powerful all-knowing creator of the universe, worshiped as the only God.

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