AfricaThe Future Of African Religions
African religions are alive in the early 2000s but often continue to be described, erroneously, as animism. Indigenous religions face prejudice from other religions—converts to Islam and Christianity still call African religions paganism. Hackett has argued that indigenous religions are being revitalized through the universalization, modernization, politicization, commercialization, and individualization of religious ideas and practices. African religions have a future for many reasons. First, these religions articulate worldviews that continue to provide a basis for morality, supporting what Laurenti Magesa has called "the moral traditions of abundant life." Second, African religions are linked to royal authority, influencing the selection and installation of royals and their system of governance. Third, celebrations and rituals will keep indigenous religions alive. Fourth, the need for healing will keep African religions alive. Fifth, the survival of African religions in the diaspora is testimony to their staying power. Sixth, the scholarly study of African religions could contribute to their survival. Growth depends upon how practitioners address issues in daily life. African religions have always paid attention to individuals and the community; such attention in the twenty-first century could have a positive bearing on a contemporary society in need of revitalization.
See also Ancestor Worship; Animism; Arts: Africa; Humanity: African Thought; Immortality and the Afterlife; Masks; Oral Traditions: Overview; Personhood in African Thought; Philosophy, Moral: Africa; Ritual: Religion.
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Elias K. Bongmba
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