Traditional Religion Characteristics

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This essay will analyse the primary and secondary characteristics of African traditional religions and discuss why they are not considered world religions. It will explore the manner in which African traditional religions differ from world religions. A world religion can be defined as an “all-encompassing ideology” and is not restricted by geographical barriers, has scripture, a set of beliefs and an all-powerful being (Shaw 1990, 340). It also has “statistical weight” meaning that there is a large number of followers (Shaw 1990, 340). The primary characteristics of African Traditional religions is the fact that it is ethnocentric, and it is local (Shaw 1990, 345). This gives it an inability to spread in the same way that world religions can. People…show more content…
With world religions there is a systemised way of practising the religion and many people across the world would practise in a similar fashion with a difference most likely stemming from cultural beliefs but in African traditional religions it varies in every individual setting (Shaw 1990, 342). The last point being mentioned in this essay is the fact that many of the scholars that have studied African traditional religions have viewed it from a western perspective and have contrasted it with religions that are dominant in the west such as Christianity (Shaw 1990, 343). This has brought about the issues of misinterpretation, denigration and a eurocentrism that does not accurately and fairly analyse the intricacies of African traditional religions (Ukah 2016, 48). One can see that through the differences between African traditional religions and world religions that African traditional religions do not fall under the category of world religions even though there are similarities, their differences are too great for it to be classed as a world

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