Rastafarian

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Investigating the Rasta movement

This essay is investigating the Rasta movements. The main points that will be focused on are Marcus Garvey, Haile Selassie, original and modern beliefs, beliefs about race, customs/ dreadlocks /food/ colours/ language/ cannabis, holy days, rites of passage, women, Rasta music, Bob Marley. Marcus Garvey philosophy of Rastafari helped him to become a well-known person within Rastafarianism. He was born in Jamaica on the seventeenth of August 1887. He taught about black self-empowerment this is considered as being the sources behind the founding of the religion. Marcus Garvey was never a believer of Rastafari although he is thought to be one of the religions prophets, because of his ideas, he believed all black people should return to Africa, he also was involved in the universal Negro Improvement Association which he founded in 1914. He became an inspiration to all black people because of his idea of separating the races. Garvey was a powerful speaker this helped to gain him many supporters. Haile Selassie was thought of as a God because of Marcus Garvey’s prophecy although he never considered himself or he didn’t worship Rastafari, people also regarded him as emperor of Ethiopia. The idea is supported by the Rastafarian idea that God is black this is a claim backed by a ‘biblical text’. Many Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is related to King Solomon and the Queen Sheba. This shows Haile Selassie is related to Solomon’s father King David and therefore to Jesus. Rastafarians consider Ethiopia as their homeland and think they will eventually return. In the past Africans were sold to white people as slaves, this is why they found themselves in Jamaica which is regarded as hell. Although they do many don’t want to live in Africa and are happy to live outside it. Original and modern beliefs of Rastafarians are explored in the 1977 book The Rastafarians, The dreadlocks of Jamaica by Leonard Barret who puts forward what he believes are the six basic concepts of Rastafari. He acquired the list by attending public meeting. An example of a few of his beliefs is: Haile Selassie I is the living God and in the near future blacks will rule the world. Although Leonard Barretts list is considered to be right it’s thirty years old, and some of the concepts listed may not be considered as important to modern Rastafarians. This is significantly true since the recent development of white Rastafarians, due to this recent development some of Leonard Howells views come into conflict with it. Some of these statements are about racial matters, hatred of whites, superiority of blacks, revenge on whites for their wickedness, the negation, persecution and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica, repatration, Haile Selassie will lead blacks to Africa, acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as God, and the ruler of black people. In 1973 Joseph Owens published a more modern approach to Rastafari beliefs. The main concepts in contemporary Rastafari are: The humanity of God and divinity of man, God is found within every man, God in history, salvation on earth, the supremacy of life, respect for nature, the power of speech, evil is corporate, judgement is near, the priesthood of Rastafarians. To modern Rastafarians the most relevant theory is belief in the divinity of Haile Selassie I. The Rastafarian’s belief about race is that they consider themselves the genuine Israelites. The treatment of the blacks by the whites as slaves led to the move from Ethiopia to Jamaica, but they think they will move back to Ethiopia. Due to their rigid adherence to the Old Testament laws, they believe this is the reason they are the authentic Israelites. Some Rastafarians take the code literally unlike others who adopt some of the rules listed and chose to ignore others. Here are a few examples of the concepts Rastafarians adopt: no sharp implements to be used to damage man, vegetarianism, only to worship Haile...
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