African Civilization an Africa Outlook Characterized by Mbiti and Temples Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Mbiti and Tempels

There have been many religious theories previously based on the part of the world it originates from and the people it represents. One of such theories is the Africano theory which is further represented by two different theories which represent the religious beliefs of the African people. These theories have been named Mbiti and Tempels.

These theories have in common the fact that both of them believe that Africans and religiously notorious and people have their own set of beliefs and practices. Though Africa is a country which tend to represent people who have more or less a similar background but it is an undeniable fact all of them have their own sets of beliefs.

The major reason why Africa has so many religions is the fact that Africa is represented by tribal people and each tribe has its own religion. The renowned fact about African religions and their philosophy is a fact that these people carry their religion where ever they migrate. They have a very strong attachment to their tribal beliefs. Knowing the facts about the African people and their religious features, its important to discuss the two main theories of "Mbiti" and "Tempels."

The Mbiti theory is not old enough to be called a pure traditional theory but it has gained its popularity over time due to the growth it has seen in the past few decades. The Mibiti theory dates back to the early twentieth century. The theory says that there Africa is a region that has regular contact with the outside world and there has always been some give and take on the grounds of social, religious and economic means. The theory argues that African religions follow the same theories as other famous religions in the world including Christianity, Islam and Judaism as all these religions believe in some form of spiritual beings and so does the African religions. The theory further says that there are three classes of religions in the African world. The first one is Monotheism which basis its beliefs on the fact that there is one supreme god, the second one is Polytheism which has its belief that there are many gods or spirits and the third one is Animism which gets its roots from the belief that there are countless spirits.

The Mbiti theory further explains the concept of time in the African religion. It explains the fact that every human being is engaged in a religious philosophy from the day he is born till the day his life ends. As per the Mbiti theory, the Africans believe in the fact that man exists with the pure purpose of religious worship whether it be Polytheism, Monotheism and Animism. The African soil pthough representing the newly converts to Christianity and Islam has not been penetrated by these religions as the roots of the African people come deeply from their traditional beliefs and the impact of such converts on the African tradition is small relative to the beliefs of the global community regarding the spread of religions such as Christianity and Islam in the African region.

The theory further divides the African religious ontology into five parts. The first one of these categories is " God" which basically includes which is the basic link to the existence of the religion, second is "Spirits" which include super human beings and the people who died, the third one is the man itself which basically includes human beings being alive and about to be born, the fourth one includes the beings who have biological life but other than human beings which basically means animals and plants and the last one is the phenomena and objects without biological life.

These five categories form as the main features of the religious theory of Mbiti. It explains how the religion as a whole is linked through these five categories. It explains that the fist category which is the god is the originator and sustainer of man, the spirits explain the destiny of man, Man itself is the being which is the centre of all these five specimens and the animals, plants and objects form the basic environment in which the man lives and to whom he relates itself to.

These five categories explain that god is the being to which all the other categories relate to and god has the ultimate power without which the existence of other four categories is not possible. The theory explains the African proposition of religion through the theory of time. It explains that African people do not give much importance to time in their traditional life. For the African people, time is simply a step-by-step occurrence of events that happen over a period of time.

African Outlook to the World

The way conventional religions perceive African belief system is mostly underlined by biased judgements, misinterpretation, lack of knowledge and stereotypes. This is because the while the African belief system and theology is a closely knitted religious structure, it is largely comprised of mythical stories and rituals rather than textual principles. This creates a great divide between a typical African religious cult and the mainstream world religions such as Christianity or Islam. Most religions of the world, whether monotheist or polytheist, allow for in depth theological research to be carried out and conclusions and view points to be established as their foundations, principles and belied system is well documented in the books that have been transferred from one generation to another. While the African religious system is also passed on from generation to generation but this is done on the basis of oratory propagation of mythical stories. The amount of written scriptures any form that can lay a basis of concrete evidence is in negligible existence.

The African society is deeply merged into religion from before birth until after death. Rituals and rites outline their activities on routine basis. However, since there is no logical explanation to thos rituals and rites to content the questions raised by the modern world, African theology are often wrongly perceived as taboo or something off the track. The difficult part is that studying the African theology and religion is hard because there are no written scriptures and almost every event in life paves way for a new innovative ritual to please or repent God. There has been little work done about the history of the rituals and why people approach religion in such a vague and incomprehensible manner.

Lunar changes determine calendar system in an African tribal society and their daily routine works on a certain pre-set track. Each day starts and closes down in the same manner and with the same set of activities. The time they sleep, the time they wake up, the time they feed and milk their cattle, every single activity is merged in a pool of religious rites that are to be performed. Thus it is a wrong perception that African's are away from any religion whatsoever. The fact of the matter is that their daily life constitutes their religious belief system. The time they attribute to each activity of their daily routine is part of their belief system and deviating from that time track is considered to be an act of blasphemy or deviance.

Interestingly, the view of time is very clearly defined in the African belief system. Africans are firm on the belief that there is little existence of or need to foresee the events that might come up in future. They believe in living building their belief system from past experiences and applying them to live in present and making a better today.

Further focusing on the Bantu philosophy, the philosophy argues that the world outside Africa is totally different to their religion. They are the people who when they get in pain return to their original religious practices no matter how far they have gone from their religion. The theory further argues that the reason Africans are totally different to the world because they developed their own practices over a period of time where as in religions such as Christianity, they were left behind a reason in the form of their forefathers which explained the major problem of humanity and which caused them to return to their religion when ever they were in vein.

The theory explains the African religious views as totally magical as it is not based on one common belief which is followed by religions such as Christianity. It explains that as the Africans were not left any solid base to follow as religion by their forefathers, they came up through things over a period of time through self-learning. As all human behaviour depends upon a set of principles, the African principles are not consistent enough to let them through a clear path of spirituality as seen in other religions such as Christianity. The theory quotes the following:

"Behaviour can neither be universal nor permanent unless it is based on a concatenation of ideas, a logical system of thought, a complete positive…

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