Christianity and Rastafarianism
A Discussion of Six Similarities
Christianity and Rastafarianism are both rooted in Judaism and draw from the Hebrew sacred scriptures. Rastafarianism evolved as a reaction to the Christianity that was imposed upon African-American slaves and their descendents. There are several other aspects in which these two religions are similar, the purpose of this paper is to explore some of those similarities. The Christian religion began around 2000 years ago in Judea, which is now Israel. Christianity began with Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples. Jesus traveled from village to village, teaching in the synagogues, and healing those who were sick and suffering. He challenged the authorities to repent from their sin. Jesus' teachings created instability, which the Jewish religious authorities feared. Soon, a faithful group of men began to follow Jesus and call him teacher. These men became His disciples. Jesus taught His disciples about the will of God and about the new covenant God will bring to humanity through Him. Jesus helped them to see that mankind is bound to the pain and futility of life as a result of sin. Because of sin, mankind lost his relationship with God. The purpose of the new covenant was to bring his followers a renewed fellowship of forgiveness and love with God. Jesus was crucified and three days later rose again. After which, the disciples continued to proclaim the gospel. And share the message of hope throughout the territories (The History of Christianity). The Rastafari movement began in the Jamaican slums in the 1920s and 30s. Marcus Garvey founded Rastafarianism, a black Jamaican who taught in the 1920s and whom some believed to be the second John the Baptist. He taught that Africans are the true Israelites and have been exiled to Jamaica and other parts of the world as divine punishment. Garvey encouraged pride in being black and worked to reverse the mindset of inferiority that centuries of enslavement had ingrained on the minds of blacks. The reggae music of Bob Marley, brought international recognition to the Jamaican movement. Bob Marley is likely the most famous Rastafarian. The Rastafarian movement is named for Ras Tafari Makonnen, who was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia in 1930. Followers of the movement are known as Rastafarians, Rastafaris, Rastas, or Ras Tafarians. Rastafaris dislike the term "Rastafarianism" because they reject the "isms and schisms" that characterize oppressive and corrupt white society (Rastafari). The Rastafari movement has a lot of variation and little formal organization. Most consider Rasta to be more a way of life than a religion. The belief in the divinity of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, the influence of Jamaican culture, resistance of oppression, and the great pride in their African heritage are the uniting factors of the Rastas. Rastafaris ritually use marijuana, they avoid alcohol, wear their hair in dreadlocks, and are usually either vegetarian or Vegan. In an environment of great poverty, depression, racism and class discrimination, the Rasta message of black pride, freedom from oppression, and the hope of return to the African homeland was gratefully received. (Rastafari) Even though these two religions are different in many aspects there are also several similarities. Six examples are provided below. First Similarity-The Divine Reality:
Christians and Rastafarians both view their divine reality similarly, through the incarnation of God. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, part of the Trinity. What this means to them is that God came to this earth in the form of a man, in order to die on a cross for all humanity. Jesus is often referred to as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world because of His death on the cross. (History of Christianity) The Rasta movement accepts Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia, as Jah. This is the Rastafarian...
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