African Socio Cultural Values Theology Religion
The world of spiritual pluralism and the acknowledgment of the values in other faiths in the universe has non merely made interreligious duologue jussive mood but as validly ordained by God as a manner of understanding the snap of the Godhead presence, in every faith, people and state. Looking at the different faiths with a dialogical lens, one finds out that each has rich values that cut cross the other. Christianity and traditional African faith portion a batch of these values in common which would do duologue between them more enriching and create room for a more stylish and incorporate contextual divinity today. Therefore, duologue is a nucleus value found in all human civilizations nature endows humanity with, as a agency of deciding issues in human relationships in the society be it political or spiritual. Traveling by its dictionary significance inter alia, duologue is a “ conversation between two or more individuals, ..an exchange of thoughts or sentiments on a peculiar issue, particularly political or spiritual issue, with a position to making an amicable understanding or colony. ”[ 2 ]
Framing the above into the context of interreligious duologue, it calls the people of religion to see interreligious duologue “ as a procedure of conveying better understanding between spiritual people and communities. ”[ 3 ]In a much edifying and practical manner, Paul Knitter offers an in-depth but concise account of interreligious duologue as “ the interaction of common presence, speech production and hearing, witnessing the committednesss, the values, and the rites of others. ”[ 4 ]It is another manner of stating that duologue physiques Bridgess between faiths which is the lone manner to get the better of the barrier that has caused series of struggles among faith communities, like traditional African faith and Christianity. It is on this value-based background of duologue that this paper is devoted to, sing what unites the people of religions instead than what divides them. This paper concentrates more on two signifiers of duologue: the duologues of life and action because of their interrelation. It sees them as more functional particularly within the African context that places accent on the cosmopolitan humanity, which imposes the duty of being one another ‘s keeper on people irrespective of credo. This paper argues that these two signifiers of duologue arouses “ the desire for deeper apprehension and regard ”[ 5 ]for other spiritual beliefs and patterns, which consciously or non helps to get the better of “ the many biass, stereotypes and myths ”[ 6 ]that darken the heads of Christians and the traditional disciples in Africa.
The first portion of this paper deals on the interactions Christianity and traditional faith have had in Africa. It exposes the initial heat in the spirit of African cordial reception with which Christianity was received and finally the generation of the tensenesss between them which unluckily, has continued in most grassroots degrees in some parts of Africa. Apart from tensenesss, deeper theological contemplation shows common beliefs among Christianity and ATR- monotheism, ancestors/saints, etc. The 2nd portion argues that if these dogmas can be decently harnessed without haughtiness and complex, Christianity and ATR can heighten divinities of each and unify the religion practicians as people of the same God who is approached in different ways whether or non “ holding religion in Jesus Christ ”[ 7 ]is concerned. Last, the 3rd portion of the paper trades on the values of life and sense of community which are common to the couple, puting them side by side with the duologues of life and action, reasoning that these dual crease heritage bring apprehension and regard for the self-respect of each individual and their religion as they concentrate upon the “ love for life ”[ 8 ]which obliges integrity on everybody.
At her early phase in Africa, Christianity and the traditional faith had no tenseness. Religion, as a value and an facet of civilization in traditional Africa, is non competitory and needs no campaign or jehad of evangelism. Therefore, African traditional faith holds no sole claim but operates in the head frame of unrecorded and allow unrecorded, a spiritual inclusivist position. This spirit of cordial reception or inclusivism histories for why Christianity was welcomed to Africa. Samson Fatokun, composing from his Yoruba background, Nigeria, gives an history of the cordial reception of the traditional believers in welcoming the missionaries to Abeokuta land whose coming had been predicted by the Ifa prophet every bit early as 1830, depicting Christianity as “ power from across the sea ” with good portents, while pressing people to welcome it.[ 9 ]As the first missionaries made their manner to Abeokuta, December 1842, “ The autochthonal spiritual believers… consulted the Ifa prophet once more to cognize whether or non these Christian missionaries were the people predicted to get, and to obtain farther counsel about them. The prophet confirmed the coming of the missionaries as the fulfillment of the earlier godly promise, and reiterated that their coming would be a existent aid and a great approval to the people. ”[ 10 ]The accent here is on the generousness and inclusiveness of African Traditional faith to recognize that it has non got all the values in this, to let Christianity into its district. Harmonizing to Fatokun, on the arrival twenty-four hours of the missionaries, “ The traditional religionists.. , lined up on the streets to give the Christian missionaries a befitting welcome with effusions of “ Aku! Akul! ” ( Welcome! Welcome! ) . There was much wave of custodies, plus acute efforts to agitate custodies with the missionaries. ”[ 11 ]
Unfortunately, the African cordial reception was “ misconstrued for failing by the historic faith. ”[ 12 ]As Christianity settled, the traditional Religion was tagged fetish and idol worship and therefore it faced the crises of ‘extinction ‘ from Christians who make “ a claim on African peoples, ..invading the countries of traditional faiths since the nineteenth century. ”[ 13 ]With exclusivism, the missionaries “ proclaim ‘fierce evangelistic runs and grim proselytization ‘ against African traditional religion.. and positioned themselves as antagonists of African faiths. ”[ 14 ]This gave rise to divisions in most topographic points or households, and a batch of clangs between the diehards and the converts to Christianity. To some Christians it is in fulfillment of the Scriptures ; “ Do you believe that I have come to convey peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but instead division. From now on, in one house five will be divided ; three against two, and two against three. ”[ 15 ]This literalist reading, coupled with the military tone of the missional injunction, “ I have been given all authorization in Eden and on Earth. Go, hence, and do adherents of all states… ”[ 16 ], bring forth monolithic onslaughts on and, redoubling of attempts against traditional faith to suppress and win Africa for Christ before the Second Coming. However, it must be noted without bias that both political and economic welfarism every bit good as religious additions are behind the driving force in the spiritual huntsman’s horns. Benezet Bujo raises some pertinent concerns as to “ whether the missionaries in Africa truly made any honorable attempt to understand and continue the faith of Africa or whether they have non been more concerned with fostering European political and economic involvements than with assisting the people of Africa ”[ 17 ]. Bujo ‘s concern could be reframed in another manner therefore, what has Christian religion brought to Africa, good intelligence or decomposition and struggles, the guest turning the host? Let us see some countries of tenseness between Christianity and ATR.
Areas of perceived aggression/tension between ATR and Christianity
One of the major jobs that continues to widen the spread between ATR and Christianity flexible joints on the claim that ATR is non an organized faith with a systematic formulated philosophy and a peculiar laminitis like the faiths of the book. Harmonizing to Francis Oborji, the job is instead one of salvific value, “ whether there is any salvific value in ATR? For the virtue of any serious faith depends on whether it can convey redemption to its disciples. ”[ 18 ]The issue of redemption remains equivocal as it is non clearly defined, what it wholly entails and from which position. However, the inquiry is implicative of the sole claim of the ownership of the absolute truth by Christianity. In this manner, the traditional faith has been described as incapable of presenting humanity from its corruption to the freedom God has called God ‘s kids excessively. Christians hence see traditional believers as those in darkness, who follow after images or Gods with oral cavities that can non talk, custodies and pess that can non travel, eyes that can non see and ears that can non hear, whose disciples will come to be like them.[ 19 ]The above look, “ war of words ”[ 20 ]harmonizing to Kalu, is readily heard on the lips of Christians against the traditional believers during their campaigns and house evangelism to the aggravation of the diehards. This aggressive attitude has led to divisions in the households or communities as Christians would non desire to hold anything to make with traditional believers. ATR disciples, on their side are neither pacificists nor warriors in this ‘war of words ‘ . They have reacted in similar mode against the Christian fundamentalists. In the articulation of Kalu,
ATR sees the Christian Gods as Gods who are far from their people, whereas their Gods live side by side with them. They see the Christian Gods as Gods excessively slow to move and to reconstruct order in the society. Hence, ATR accuses… Christian religion of being responsible for the corruptness and moral degeneracy in the society, because their Supreme beings are slow to anger thereby excusing immorality. In traditional faith and society, the Gods are the constabulary and ‘chief security officers.[ 21 ]
Kalu therefore, expresses the deep belief in traditional African society that prior to the coming of Christianity in Africa, there was peace. They believe strongly that things changed drastically for the worse since Christianity settled in Africa and people left their traditional Gods to give to foreign Gods.[ 22 ]Amongst the diehards lies the belief that if leaders were to fall back to the traditional ways of cursing people into offices with juju and the traditional spiritual symbols like the Ofo[ 23 ]instead than the Bible or Qu’ran, that offense and corrupt patterns would vanish, for the Gods would non neglect to strike dead anyone who violates any contract taken utilizing their names or before them.[ 24 ]However this is said and accepted, inasmuch as there is an component of truth in what ATR claims, it can non be taken hook, line and doughnut. Christianity in its philosophy does non promote people to be perverts or jurisprudence surfs. Abuse made of a thing does non annul its kernel. That some Christians indulge in offense does non intend it is portion of the Christian philosophy. Again, offense and corruptness are human intrigues, no faith encourages its disciples to take portion in such Acts of the Apostless of societal agitation.
Besides the ‘war of words ‘ , there have been instances of physical force in defense mechanism of faiths between African faith and Christians in some topographic points. The exclusivism of Christianity makes it master and justice of what is right and incorrect, to be accepted or rejected by Christian converts in Africa. As a consequence of this, certain cultural patterns are seen as diabolic and unworthy of a Christian engagement or commitment. For case, some societies have yearss they refrain from traveling to the farms, have some animate beings they regard as community totems with which the community identifies herself, and have some yearss marriage dialogues are non carried out. In some communities, there are traditional dancing groups of work forces, immature and old, of immature maidens and of married adult females. These dancing groups play outstanding functions in the social coherence, farther love and solidarity among the people and give a hallmark to the community. Of much in importance in the society, like the Igbo, is the ozo rubric which is really outstanding and a grade of unity that confers on its carrier the keeper of the Ofo stick.[ 25 ]These groups help to instil morality and order in the society though there are could be some restrictions in them. Without, proper survey of the divinity of these sacred establishments, “ Christianity came with a new instruction and political orientation that looked upon everything traditional as ungodly ; commitment to the traditional establishments was seen as commitment to the swayers of this universe. ”[ 26 ]In most topographic points Christians who are besides title holders are asked to abdicate them, without which they are excommunicated and denied Christian entombment at decease. This has non merely generated disaffection from one ‘s cultural individuality but besides inflicts psychological anguish and physical combat between diehards and Christians. As Christians ‘desecrated the sacred establishments, in some topographic points, by firing the native shrines and symbols of divinities, etc, the diehards besides embarked on reprisal onslaughts by firing the churches and statues.[ 27 ]In some countries some Christians are ostracized from the community while mulcts are imposed on anyone who portions things in common with them. As Kalu notes, some Christians are victimized by the denial of communal sharing of farming area and other rights and destruction of their houses and belongingss.[ 28 ]Similarly, Elizabeth Isichei observes that there is serious animus between the traditional faith and Christianity originating from the mass hegira of disciples of traditional faith to Christianity. Harmonizing to her, “ As the figure of converts increased, the [ traditional ] swayers became progressively dying about the being of a rival Centre of authorization particularly when partisans intentionally flouted traditional imposts. All this led to conflict and persecution. ”[ 29 ]It might be interesting to note that in some topographic points traditional religionists originally saw Christianity as the faith of the slave bargainers and as a visitant who will finally travel like slave trade.[ 30 ]As clip has proved otherwise, Christianity alternatively of traveling as the diehards had thought, continued to permeate and commemorate its influence, change overing people from their traditional beliefs into its crease. The diehards think if they keep quiet in the face of Christian evangelism, the tradition of the ascendants will finally decease out. This distressing concern among the diehards degenerate frequently into onslaughts or break of Christian activities on Sundays and topographic points of worships. There has been noteworthy instances of the usage of the mask cult by some diehards to endanger, battle and sometimes inflict lesions on some Christians and interrupt their worship.[ 31 ]Some immature work forces, who for the ground of non acquiring their ways through into friendly relationship or matrimony with some Christian misss use the mask cult as an chance to crush the misss for non giving to their petition.[ 32 ]
Sequel to the traditional animus is the absence of definition of footings or understanding before enlargement Bachelor of Arts initio between the traditional swayers and the Christian missionaries. In some topographic points as Fatokun notes, the traditional swayers welcomed Christian missionaries for political additions to spread out their rulership and commemorate their names in the annals of history and non needfully for religious campaign and enlargement. Harmonizing to Fatokun,
The causes of these crises are non farfetched. Although Christianity was welcomed by Yoruba traditional heads, this was non done as a affair of deep strong belief or a clear apprehension of the Christian absolutist claim and the presentation of Jesus as the Saviour of the universe, and the lone nexus between estranged humanity and Olodumare. Alternatively, most traditional rulers.. allowed Christianity a transition into their land for personal addition… ‘The reaction of traditional swayers to missionaries depended on their political involvement ‘ . For case, in Badagry, the Wawu, who was traditionally forth in rank to the Akran, welcomed the missionaries and English bargainers in order to utilize them to claim a first-class position. Similarly, the manner in which the Egba received the missionaries with unfastened weaponries was non unconnected with the awaited political and economic additions and prosperity Christianity carried along with it.[ 33 ]
Again, with the ‘operation release saga ‘ in Africa today by some Christians, an political orientation that has led to many healing Centres and prosperity sermon, another fire of crisis has been lit. This crisis is that of altering of names, both household and community names. Some curates and therapists continue to carry “ converts to Christianity… to alter their native and traditional names as marks of their separation from ‘evil ‘ tradition to a ‘new ‘ life in Christ. ”[ 34 ]They are instructed that their names have connexions to traditional divinities which hinder them from having God ‘s approvals so that the lone manner to interrupt up from such hereditary expletives is to alter their names and give themselves and their small towns afresh to God. Harmonizing to Kalu who quotes the plants of Vincent Ujumadu,
A recent illustration of a alteration of a traditional name to a Christian-based name which led to a violent clang that left 5 people dead and 15 injured along side with the devastation of belongingss occurred in Awka, Anambra State ( South-East ) Nigeria on September 3, 2009. The crisis started over the alteration of the name of the community from Nkerechi to Umuchukwu[ 35 ].
It is no hyperbole to province that there was no proper survey and duologue taking to communal understanding prior to the alteration of the community ‘s name. If there were, such a crisis that led to the loss of lives would non hold been averted. It is all due to the fundamentalist attitude of some Christians who are brainwashed into believing that Christianity is the lone true faith capable of ministering release to people. While Christians may be right in contending for what they believe, one may inquire, is fall backing to aggressive means the best manner? Again, could ATR disciples non see some sense in the visible radiation of the modern twenty-four hours narrative that there is demand for dynamism, re-evaluation of some claims one time held inviolable in order to react objectively to the marks of the times and the turning demands of the modern-day universe? For how long will these types of clangs claiming guiltless lives and maiming others last between Christianity and ATR that hold life as sacred and as gift from God? The of all time ceaseless crises between traditional believers and Christians is an indicant that ATR is still active and alive in the Black Marias of most Africans. Dialogue therefore is of necessity for common apprehension and regard.
Dialogical Valuess Of Common Tenets[ 36 ]Of ATR and Christianity- spiritual values.
Religion has ever meant the consciousness of the being of the Supreme Being who is the writer and Sustainer of the existence and who besides initiates relationship with people of different races. The invitation and the quest to function and dialogue with God basically comes from God who in assorted ways reveals Godself to all peoples through what is available to them.[ 37 ]Therefore, the self-respect of humanity lies in its career to be in Communion with God. Harmonizing to the Council male parents, “ From the really circumstance of his beginning adult male is already invited to discourse with God. For adult male would non be were he non created by God ‘s love and invariably preserved by it ; and he can non populate to the full harmonizing to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator. ”[ 38 ]The desire for and belief in God is outstanding in both traditional faith and Christianity.
However, before the coming and being of Christianity, the consciousness of and belief in God has been in the traditional faiths. Mbiti argues strongly that “ African faiths are historically older than Christianity and Islam. ”[ 39 ]God permeates every facet of life in Africa. It is found in the names Africans bear, in their sacred times and jubilations.[ 40 ]Expressing the spiritual nature of Africans, Mbiti avers that “ Africans are notoriously spiritual… Wherever the African is, there is his faith: he carries it to the Fieldss where he is seeding seeds or reaping a new harvest ; he takes it with him to the beer party or to go to a funeral ceremonial. ”[ 41 ]This means that entire surrender to the supreme will of God lies at the root of traditional faiths and that they can non make or accomplish anything without God. Again, that Africans take faith everyplace they go affirms their belief in the ubiquity and omniscience of God[ 42 ]whose presence sanctifies everyplace. This belief sums up the African universe position of life as a continuum, without a differentiation between the sacred and the profane.[ 43 ]Describing the deepness of belief among the disciples of African faiths, Mbiti writes,
African cognition of God is expressed in Proverbs, short statements, vocals, supplications, names, myths, narratives and spiritual ceremonials. All these are easy to retrieve and go through on to other people, since there are no sacred Hagiographas in traditional societies… God is no alien to African people, and in traditional life there are no atheists. This is summarized in an Ashanti adage that ‘No one shows a kid the Supreme Being ‘ . This means that everybody knows of God ‘s being about by replete, and even kids know him.[ 44 ]
One of the important elements of the belief in God in traditional faiths is that there is no designated sermonizer, no evangelism, proselytism. There is no excusatory nor catechism category to teach its disciples about them. Each individual is merely born into the faith, grows with it and patterns it on a day-to-day footing which forms their nucleus narrations in life. Mbiti expresses it good that “ in traditional faiths there are no credos to be recited ; alternatively the credos are written in the bosom of the person, and each one is himself a populating credo. ”[ 45 ]
However, in traditional faith God is perceived as transcendent and imminent. As a nonnatural world, in ATR, God is qualified as dues otiosus, i.e. , Withdrawal of God from human personal businesss, a belief that is rooted in the African myth of beginning.[ 46 ]Explaining this belief, Kalu writes, “ In ATR, the Supreme Being is by and large non involved in the daily personal businesss of his animals. He is the withdrawn God ( dues otiosus ) who ‘after the work of creative activity retired to a distant topographic point, holding small contact with the universe and day-to-day operation. He may be appealed to at times of great crisis ‘ . ”[ 47 ]The aloofness of God does non connote failing nor absolute indifference to the day-to-day sitz in Leben of people. Inasmuch as God is believed to be withdrawn or far, God is besides perceived to be at hand to people for “ God is everyplace… . In about all state of affairss, Africans express their sense of dependance on God, who is held to be close and accessible but at the same clip far from human existences. ”[ 48 ]Kwame Gyekye argues that “ these two beliefs about God are non inconsistent ”[ 49 ], they express the world of God whose ways can non be to the full grasped by persons. Throwing more visible radiation on this, Kofi A. Opoku clarifies that “ The backdown of God from the universe or ‘separation ‘ between God and adult male, as many African myths narrate it, make non state of physical separation of God from adult male. Such narratives allude to the distinctness of God, for God is above his creative activity but is at the same clip involved in his creative activity by continuing and prolonging the existence. ”[ 50 ]However, God ‘s transcendency arouses the desire, the hungriness and thirst to seek God continuously and is an chance for God ‘s agents to be involved in the running of human personal businesss. These agents are like council members in God ‘s council. In other words, traditional faith has belief in the hierarchy of existences with God as the Supreme Creator of Eden and Earth.
Among African theologists, there is consensus that the Land/Earth[ 51 ], ( Ala- Earth goddess[ 52 ]) , ranks following to God in the hierarchy of being, and is revered as “ the constitutional divinity ”[ 53 ]and “ the keeper of morality ”[ 54 ]. Harmonizing to Therese Agbasiere “ Ala is the principal, approving authorization from which stems the impression of nsoala, ‘prohibition of Ala ‘ . ”[ 55 ]Ala is reverenced as a great and merciful female parent[ 56 ], “ hence the representation of her nursing a kid ”[ 57 ], whose maternal mildness is seen in the proviso of “ birthrate ” and “ productiveness of the land ” for her kids such that “ without her, life would be impossible ” .[ 58 ]This is the same regard the church is accorded as amother who feeds her kids.
Apart from the Earth goddess, traditional faith has a belief in the ubiquitousness of liquors who is ranked following to the Earth divinity. In the traditional belief system, the universe is Spirit-filled. Harmonizing to Bolaji Idowu, “ liquors are omnipresent ; there is no country of the Earth, no object or animal which has non a spirit of its ain or which can non be inhaled by a spirit. ”[ 59 ]In other words, the whole universe of Africans is charged with the presence and actions of liquors for “ the bulk of the people, ” harmonizing to Mbiti, “ keep that the liquors dwell in the wood, shrub, forest, rivers, and mountains or merely around the small town. Therefore, the liquors are in the same geographical part as work forces. ”[ 60 ]However, the ubiquitousness of the liquors does non intend that traditional faith does non separate between good and evil liquors. Good spirit brings good newss from God to people, reveals to them herbs of medicative values for wellness and warns people of impending danger while admonishing them to forbear from evil Acts of the Apostless. The evil spirit is agonizing and harmful to people and are warded off through some forfeit.[ 61 ]Paramount to the traditional belief is the ascendants, who, harmonizing to Mbiti are “ the living-dead.. the defenders of household personal businesss, traditions, moralss and activities. ”[ 62 ]The ascendants are believed to hold strong influence in the lives of the life and are the unseeable constabulary to the people.[ 63 ]Ancestors are non merely any dead individuals. Harmonizing to Barth Abanuka, “ ascendants are those who crossed seven rivers and seven seas for the good of their community. ”[ 64 ]Ancestors are generous and hospitable individuals who ne’er cease to assist and interact with the personal businesss of the life. Seen in this manner, Mbiti says that “ they are the closest nexus between work forces and God: they know the demands of work forces, they have ‘recently ‘ been here with work forces and at the same clip they have full entree to the channels of pass oning with God straight or, harmonizing to some societies, indirectly through their ain forbears. ”[ 65 ]Therefore, the ascendants are bilingual for they speak the linguistic communications of the spirit and worlds and are in the best place to stand for the life before the supreme council of God.
God remains the same God worshipped everyplace and is approached otherwise and at clip with aid of the angels and saints humanity finds entree to God. Traditional faiths hold God in high regard that traveling straight to God is considered a bold measure therefore Africans worship ( conjuration ) and offer forfeit to God through the ascendants and the liquors or divinities. To clear up this more Nkemkia argues persuasively that
For Africans, there is merely one God, but many are the ways to meet Him. These ways or mediators should ne’er be exchanged for God himself… God is the concluding end of every forfeit or worship. All that is sacred, the forfeit, the objects of forfeit and the deities are all agencies of come ining into Communion with God and portion in his life. One of the grounds why the God of the Africans is merely one lies in the fact that God is ever the God of the community, the people. It is non possible to hold more than one God for the same people. It is possible to happen each tribe.. with its ain rites of worship, distinct from other tribes.. , nevertheless these are non different Gods.[ 66 ]
The dogmas of African faith tally about the same manner like those Christianity. Christianity is monotheistic, believes in the ubiquity and omniscience of God and with great fear for the angels and saints who are said to be in Communion with the church on Earth and are invoked in worship of the one God. Harmonizing to the Catholic catechism, “ The confession of God ‘s unity, which has its roots in the godly disclosures of the Old Covenant is cardinal to Christian belief. God is alone ; there is merely one God: the Christian religion confesses that God is one in nature, substance, and kernel. ”[ 67 ]However, it is one of the nucleus beliefs in Christianity that God is a God of history, who has revealed Godself in assorted ways through the Prophetss.[ 68 ]And at the appointive clip, God definitively broke into human history in the embodiment of Jesus, the Jesus[ 69 ]whose coming has a cosmopolitan salvific significance. The embodiment gives acceptance to the separating belief in Christendom of the philosophy of the Holy Trinity, “ the cardinal enigma of Christian religion and life… , The beginning of other enigmas of faith.. , the most cardinal and indispensable instruction in the hierarchy of the truths of religion. The history of redemption is indistinguishable with the history of the manner and the agencies by which the one true God, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, reveals himself to work forces. ”[ 70 ]The above is the summing up of the Christian credo, ‘Jesus Christ true God and true adult male, consubstantial with the Father… And the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son ‘ . Therefore, the singularity and strength of Christianity is in Jesus Christ as articulated in the Scriptures and professed in the credo as Lord and God. Basic to the Christian belief is the singularity of the name of Jesus as the name above every other name at whose reference every articulatio genus in Eden and on Earth bows and every lingua confesses his Lordship, in this manner doing him the lone manner to God.[ 71 ]Not merely is Jesus God, besides his manner of life signifiers the ethical manner of life for Christians as seen in his instructions on the land of God and the discourse on the saddle horse.
With some of the dogmas of both Christianity and traditional faith above, it behoves ground to see that faith by its nature has values that are similar in different patterns. Of extreme importance is the dialogical nature of faith between God and humanity and among humanity. This dialogical nature of faith offers people of religion the chance to enrich each other through common exchange of thoughts instead struggles. One thing faith attempts to sharpen in humanity is the thought that life is a journey from different angles but with a common destination- God/Reality. Sing the rich values in African faith, John Paul II holds that the church has a batch to larn from it. He encourages for interreligious between Christianity and African faith based its rich values touching that the African spiritual beliefs have great similarities with Christianity. Above all he says,
“ The boies and girls of Africa love life.A It is exactly this love for life that leads them to give such great importance to the fear of their ascendants. They believe intuitively that the dead continue to populate and stay in Communion with them. Is this non in some wayA a readying for belief in the Communion of the Saints?[ 72 ]
That was insightful and every bit good disputing to Christianity.
Dialogues of Life and Action: the necessary platforms for common interaction
In his position and every bit good noted in the 1984 papers of the Church on Dialogue and Mission, Michael Fitzgerald notes that duologue has four signifiers though non an thorough typology- duologues of life, action, theological exchange and spiritual experience.[ 73 ]Lodging to duologues of life and action, we shall continue with values: of Life and community consciousness and societal interaction to suggest for interreligious duologue for common apprehension, regard and grasp between ATR and Christianity, for these values provide platform for common interaction and their worlds interconnects people, though values in general are dialogical or communitarian in nature.
Dialogue of Life with the value of life: Life by its really nature from the beginning to the terminal, decease, initiates duologue. Put in other manner, life is dialogue and duologue is life. Dialogue of life purposes at set uping good neighborliness and harmonious life[ 74 ]. Life, as a value, is really dearly-won and is ranked as the highest gift from God both in Christian and traditional spiritual positions. It is sacred by the virtuousness of its beginning, God. In Christian and traditional spiritual instructions, human life is a engagement in the life of God, who out of generousness and freewill, extends God ‘s breath and image to worlds.[ 75 ]In his position, John Paul II specifies that “ Man is called to a comprehensiveness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly being, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. ”[ 76 ]This shows “ the illustriousness and incomputable value of human life ”[ 77 ]so that any force against life is therefore the highest of all offenses and ethically is the most serious misdemeanor of a individual because of its conclusiveness. Life, in ATR is understood as “ Communion in interaction ” among all the classs of being there are with human life as the greatest.[ 78 ]This accounts for why they hold human life in a really great regard, have great regard for the holiness of life and loathe the sloughing of blood. A misdemeanor of human life is considered the greatest offense anyone could perpetrate against God, humanity and the universe. Not merely is it seen as a offense but more strikingly, as an abomination, a tabu. Hence, Bujo notes that “ the morality of an act is determined by its vitalizing potency: good Acts of the Apostless are those which contribute to the community ‘s critical force, whereas bad or violent act, nevertheless seemingly undistinguished, are those which tend to decrease life. ”[ 79 ]Life is the lone hub that connects events together both spiritual and societal It becomes baronial responsibility for both Christians and diehards to hold a common frame to give life the robust support it needs to boom by sharing the joys and sorrows of each other like observing the reaching of new births, calling ceremonials, matrimonies, birthday banquets, love banquets, exchange of gifts and visits and solidarity on occasions of decease, illness and adversities. As Fitzgerald suggests, duologue of life makes room for sharing and larning from each other ‘s spiritual religion and holding involvements in the personal businesss of each which enriches the wealth of cognition of the members of each group[ 80 ]. In sharing, common intuition and nearsightedness that beclouds and bound each other gives manner for the find of life as a engagement in God ‘s ain life which does non split harmonizing to spiritual affinity. Sharing in life which God is, is like the symbols of the Moon and rainbow which are one but have their beams everyplace and fancifying the universe with multiple colorss. Therefore, life as a value is inclusive and pluralistic and creates the chance for the life to be inclusive and pluralistic or robust in attack to worlds in the universe sacredly or societal. In this manner, Neither would Christians see Traditionalists as graven image believers nor are the Traditionalists to see Christians as slave Masterss and value destroyers. With their belief in one God as the Sustainer of one life, nevertheless God is approached by each, it should be seen as a manner of enriching and spicing up the worship and traditions of the other. In this manner, God ‘s enigmas and disclosures are invariably widened in people ‘s skyline and religion in God and friendly relationship among God ‘s believers are obviously initiated, sustained and renewed. It is merely life lived harmoniously that can convey about reclamation in people and link them to God.
Dialogue of Action with the value of community consciousness: Dialogue of action is the duologue of motive for committedness in the battle for societal justness, peace, security and proviso of basic comfortss in the community. It draws people together from all plants of life irrespective of spiritual association. It is both a societal Gospel and a duty of all to better the quality of life in the society. Therefore, duologue of action is interlinked with the duologue of life for whatever affects the society be it political, ecological, etc, affects life. Inasmuch as Christians are intent on the land to come, there is demand to care for the society by interpreting into action the fruits of the Gospel in societal web without segregating. Noting the sacred responsibility to contend for justness and peace, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, reawakens in the church the sense of community consciousness that “ There is demand besides to fall in together in seeking to work out the great jobs confronting society and the universe, every bit good as in instruction for justness and peace. ”[ 81 ]The Igbo would state “ agbakoo aka nyuo mamiri ya gboo ufufu or igwe bu Eisenhower ” ( cooperation is the gustatory sensation of life or solidarity is strength ) . For security, instruction, justness, development, etc, to be achieved in the society, joint attempt of the full people of religions is needed without faith compartmentalisation. Stressing more on this, the papers on Dialogue and Proclamation states that “ there is need to stand up for human rights, proclaim the demands of justness, denounce unfairness non merely when their ain members are exploited, but independently of the spiritual commitment of the victims. ”[ 82 ]Linked to this cosmopolitan humanitarianism is the African construct of “ imi bewe anya ebewe ” ( once the nose Begins to shout the eyes cry excessively ) , or as Mbiti attractively expresses, “ I am because we are ; and since we are, hence, I am. ”[ 83 ]This goes beyond boundaries of belief or ethnicity or position but a life together and a sense of community of ‘brothers and sisters ‘ that are the bases and the looks of the extended household system characteristic of Africans and each individual from childhood to maturity is groomed in it.[ 84 ]
Dialogue of action novices common interaction, friendliness and sense of duty towards people and the community. It makes the “ community sacred instead than secular ” and evokes the “ usage of the first individual plural ‘we ‘ and ‘ours ‘ in mundane address, ”[ 85 ]action and undertaking. For case in the building of local roads in the community, development undertakings like proviso of electricity, pipe-borne H2O, edifice of educational establishments, local markets, monthly environmental sanitations, community or civic halls, community hospitals/clinic, it is ever ‘ours ‘ and non theirs, his or hers. Consciously or non, the spirit and attempt in the executing of these common undertakings provide platform for common relationship, regard and trust among faith people. This same spirit novices security consciousness in the community through articulation or rotational vigilance man groups. In the spirit of the community, everyone participates and besides portions from the dividends irrespective of credo. Each individual becomes a mirror, a watcher for another individual ‘s dorsum, guarding off any menace to life in assorted ways. Tied to this is honesty, committedness to each other as a spiritual responsibility born out of love, which is the fruit faith bears among people.
Similar to this joint attempt is the united voice for justness in the society. Justice is a aureate regulation in Christianity and ATR and by its nature is communal and initiates duologue. The oppressive governments in many parts of Africa affect all people of religion. Contending for justness would loathe discordant voices. Dialogue of action creates room for integrity of voice without credal fond regard and involvement. Issues of colza, slaying, snatch and sloppiness of the authorities in some communities all attract communal attending and could be a platform for integrity and understanding among people of religions in order to eliminate them. Linked to this is the psychological or emotional strength each member of the community irrespective of religion, derives from the others when anybody falls victim to such. In many African societies where the authorities has failed to present the dividends of democracy to the people, “ faith continues to supply many options to societal unfairnesss and ailments: hope that the hereafter will be bright for 1000000s of people traumatized by the failure and corruptness of the authorities, emotional strength to manage emphasis, … societal support for adult females, kids and partners. ”[ 86 ]Through these actions, people of religions can construct Bridgess towards one another alternatively of barriers that leads to hostility and high quality composite.
This paper looked in the relationships between Christianity and African faith. There have minute of friendliness until the rise of tenseness in their relationships due to superiority factors and political additions in most topographic point, besides imperialism. However, it is dialogue based on the values in Africa that can reconstruct relationship. Life is a value believed in both faiths, crisis therefore is a threat to it. To instil the spirit of duologue and regard in each, there is demand for the Traditional faiths to be enrolled both in primary instruction and third establishments including the spiritual houses of formation. Conflict can be avoided if instruction, workshops, cultural events, etc could be promoted, it can re-program people positively. Christianity needs to look into those transitions in the Bible that accent peace, rapprochement, etc, instead than those with military tones in the likes of Elijah and Gideon- by fire by fire. Life is the lone tool that can construct span over the troubled Waterss and take all to the one God.