African Religions and Philosophy

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Black Religion
Position Paper

Many of the Africanisms described in the book African Religions and Philosophy, written by John Mbiti, are part of “the African contribution” to the African people’s docility towards early African-American religion. Although it is important for you to know the significant divide between African traditional beliefs and the early African-American religion, I will focus on the Africanisms that produce a foundation for the African’s transition to Christianity. Mbiti presents Africanisms such as religious universe, eternity, and spirituality. I will prove how these beliefs, although completely different from Christianity, allow the African people to better understand and accept Christian teachings in the United States. The main point I will make in this paper will be that Africanisms allowed many of the African people to be compliant to the new religion, which in turn allowed some of them to be obedient in their present condition.

African traditional beliefs like eternity, religious universe, and spiritualty formed bases for African’s to understand Western religion because their beliefs were the reality of their lives. Let me give an explanation, someone who has not grown up hearing about the spiritual realm and living forever does not have bases for Christian beliefs. For example, my roommate is an atheist who does not believe in eternity, she would have a hard time believing in eternity because life to a human is constructed by time. She does not contemplate living forever in any realm nor is that her reality. In the traditional African belief, time was a different concept because they had their own beliefs of immortality. The African tribes believed in a limited future, spanning only as far as two years ahead. They believed the day starts when it starts. This could contribute to docility in the African slave’s condition because they do not look into the future for a change in situation. The African slaves go from day to day in...
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