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Africa- Religions
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Africa- Religions






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Africa- Religions Africa- Religions Presentation Transcript

  • Religion in Africa An Overview
  • Overview
    • Religion in Africa very diverse
    • Traditional religions vary across continent
    • Islam and Christianity very prominent - many times forced upon African
  •   View slide
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  • Indigenous Religions
    • No single word for religion in most African languages
    • Religion was not separate from everyday life, part of every action and event
  • Indigenous Religions
    • Like most religions, African religion sought to find order in the universe, explain good and evil, define behaviors, create rituals, and determine afterlife
    • Many were polytheistic - with one major god and many sub-deities
    • Priests oversaw shrines and religious ceremonies, and communicated with spirits
  • Role of the God
    • These characteristics are general
    • All powerful creator of humans and the world
    • Not in direct contact with world and humans
    • Spirits go between physical world and spiritual world
  • Spirits
    • Very much like angels
    • Ancestor spirits - deceased relatives who provide guidance and protection
    • Respect towards ancestors important
  • Spirits
    • Nature spirits - some tribes believe spirits live in nature, animals, etc.
    • Evil spirits - cause misfortune and bad events
  • Arrival of Islam
  • North Africa
    • Egypt becomes gateway into Africa
    • Arab traders and then Arab rulers brought Islam across
    • Established Arabic culture and language in N. Africa
    Map of the Muslim World, 661 AD
  • North Africa
    • Egypt becomes gateway into Africa
    • Arab traders and then Arab rulers brought Islam across
    • Established Arabic culture and language in N. Africa
    Map of the Muslim World, 900 AD
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Arab merchants travel across Sahara to trade salt for gold
    • Muslim clerics join merchants
    • Muslim advisors in Ghana – Mali and Songhai become Muslim kingdoms
    Map of the Muslim World, 900 AD
  • East / Swahili Coast
    • Early spread stopped by Christianity in Ethiopia/Axum
    • Integration of Arab merchants and indigenous peoples, new culture develops – Swahili
    • Only on coast – why?
    Map of the Muslim World c.A.D. 1500
  • East / Swahili Coast
    • Trade partners brought goods from interior
    • Later in 18 th /19 th century, Arab-Swahili plantation owners start slave trade on East Coast
    • Would be interrupted by Europeans
    Map of the Muslim World c.A.D. 1500
  • Key Points in the Spread of Islam
    • Conversions occurred gradually – sometimes over generations
    • The success of Islam in Africa is partially the result of its ability to respect and absorb other traditions
  • Islam in Africa
    • Practice of Islam influenced by indigenous beliefs and practice
    • Islam brought education throughout the Muslim world – built universities, developed algebra, astrolab
    • Islam promoted human welfare, part of the Five Pillars
  • Christianity in Africa
  • Christianity in Africa
    • Spread to North Africa during Roman Empire
    • Egypt and Axum early Christian Empires
    • 400 CE Axum converts to Christianity – over next 1600 years it develops a distinct form of Christianity
    • Resists Muslim incursions over the years
  • Christianity in Africa
    • In 15th century Portuguese began spreading Christianity along coast
    • Kongo Empire became Christian in 1491
    • European colonialism would bring Christianity to continent
  • Religion in Africa Conclusion
    • Numerous indigenous religions still observed
    • Islam initially accepted more willingly because it was tolerant of traditional religions
    • Christianity spread during colonialism