world religions african religions

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  • WorldReligionsAfricanReligions

  • Gods & SpiritsPolytheistic, usually believing that one supreme deity created the world, then left it for lesser gods to squabble overUltimately came to feel that the high God was too distant. Spirits became importantEarth, sky, seas, and natural events, are believed to contain spiritual life or force similar to that of humans and are often worshiped. When water is used for worship rituals, it must be living water from streams, lakes, etc. The water cannot come from a well or be boiled

  • AncestorsBelieve ancestors exist in a spiritual world, but still have interest in the affairs of living persons, often interfering in the lives of the livingVeneration of ancestors is a potent part of the religions. They are feared more than the godsThey cause droughts, floods, famines, earthquakes, and childlessnessSacrifices are frequent, including animal blood sacrificesAncestors are believed to communicate with the living

  • Communicate mostly through dreamsSome messages are clear, others are unclearWhen unclear, a diviner is sought outOften the message is believed to be given directly through circumstances or other incidentsCommunication with AncestorsSacrifice Daily libations: pouring a bit of drink or tossing a bit of food are most common Dogs, birds, sheep, goats, and cattle are often sacrificed, and their blood poured over an altar. This is prior to battle or when there is drought or illness Rarely is human sacrifice practiced.

  • Rites of PassageBirth Births are important and celebrated The birth of twins is often considered an evil omen Twins indicate that the wife has been unfaithful to the husband and that the children have two fathers Often one or both of the babies are killed In some tribes children are not named until after their first week of life, due to the high infant mortality rate After the child is born it is shown to the moon Children are instructed in their societal roles At puberty this instruction becomes more rigorous

  • Rites of PassageBirth (cont.) Children are taught tribal myths and rituals Older boys may undergo whippings and harsh trials For boys, circumcision is often practiced For girls, some form of genital mutilation is often undergoneDeath Surrounded by much ritual to assure that the dead do not return to haunt no judgment Women are concerned that husbands do not return to seal the womb

  • Religious LeadersPriests are not needed except at special timesWitch doctors are relied uponThis doctor to the bewitchedhas as his primary responsibilitythe discovery of the causeof evil fortune