Major Beliefs in African Religion

As an all-embracing worldview, African religion has a number
of beliefs held in common by the community. Individuals
cannot reject a particular belief, since beliefs are part and
parcel of the wider community. The term “community” is
used here to refer to a grouping of persons in a particular area
who lead a fairly similar cultural life, within a given people or
in a town.
BELIEF IN GOD. Belief in God is found among all African
peoples. The Creator and Preserver of all things, God is
invisible, but the ongoing work of creation points to God’s
existence and involvement in the world. There are no
atheists in African traditional society; belief in God is part of
the common knowledge of everyone, including children.
There are no pictorial or other representations of God by
African peoples. Oral appellations of God include Father,

AFRICAN RELIGIONS

Mother, Parent, Friend, Savior, Protector, Giver of Children,
Giver of Rain, the Shining One, the Kind One, and the
Everlasting One. God is good, compassionate, just, and
loving to all people. The overall picture of God is of one who
is above gender classification, neither male nor female, since
God is Spirit. To grasp some aspects of God, people find
anthropomorphic concepts useful and, according to the
situation, may speak of God in male or female terms for that
purpose. Furthermore, many African languages do not
distinguish gender grammatically. People express their belief
in and awareness of God through prayers, invocations,
sacrifices and offerings, praise songs, and dedication of
children to God. In some areas priests and priestesses
officiate at religious ceremonies, pray on behalf of their
communities, and pass on the theological, philosophical,
and practical knowledge of their religion. They are, or
should be, morally upright. In Nigeria and Uganda, priestesses
regard themselves as “married” (i.e., wholly dedicated) to
God for a given period of time in their life, but later marry
human husbands.

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