Factors Responsible for the Changes and Development Among Religious Groups in the Caribbean

Topics: Rastafari movement, Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Marcus Garvey Pages: 3 (1052 words) Published: April 11, 2013
The Caribbean has been described as a ‘melting pot’ meaning as a region it has a cornucopia of different cultures coexisting in relative harmony. One such example is religion. Due to various sociological factors there have been a plethora of changes and developments to contemporary religion giving rise to syncretic religion such as the Rastafarian faith in Jamaica. This essay serves to inform the reader on the social and historical factors which led to the creation of the faith and to examine the beliefs, regulations, and behaviours of the aforementioned. The movement was founded by Leonard Howell in 1933 modeling Marcus Garvey’s philosophy of black consciousness (Mustapha, 2009). During this time period ‘blackness’ was something looked down upon and the mindset of white superiority was prevalence is almost every aspect of Jamaican life, even religion. The contemporary Christian church at the time, namely the Roman Catholic and Anglican church viewed God in a Eurocentric point of view. They depicted Jesus Christ was the quintessential Caucasian male thus only stressing the supposed superiority of white people. Howell rejected that ideology by claiming that Christ was black. He also believed that Marcus Garvey’s prophecy of a black king had been fulfilled with the crowing of Ras Tafari Makonnen or Haile Selassie II of then Abyssinia and that he should be revered and worshipped. Also, the 1930’s was a time of great social unrest. The then majority lower class Afro-Caribbean workers were rebelling against the unfair labour laws which disadvantaged them and the poor standard of living the West Indians were experiencing. The Rastas used this as a selling point to emphasize that the white men are the ‘downpressors’ and that black people should emancipate themselves from mental slavery. Rastafarianism was developed to give an identity to a people without an identity. Howell like Garvey promoted ‘black consciousness’ and encouraged black people to be proud of their...
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