Re: TAKING BACK OUR GODS AND HOLY TEMPLES
Posted By: Ras Tyehimba In Response To: Re: TAKING BACK OUR GODS AND HOLY TEMPLES (Bantu-Kelani)
Date: Thursday, 29 April 2004, at 12:44 p.m.
In Response To: Re: TAKING BACK OUR GODS AND HOLY TEMPLES (Bantu-Kelani)
Kelani: "IMO, the mental liberation of Black people will never happen practicing a “No Religion”. The African mind has been robbed of African characteristic be it in religious beliefs, social structures, sense of ethic and esthetic, morals etc. So, today to overthrow the authority which alien traditions exercise over Black people this demands that the mind, spirit, body and society of Blacks dressed up with African personality, kind like a medical knowledge, which is IMO, better appropriate to our needs and fit our thoughts."
The qualifications that were made are very important, and thus the mere statement of 'no religion' does not properly bring across the point that was made. So i will go a lil further into the concept to make things clearer. As explained many times on this board, the word 'religion' comes from the latin word 're' mean back and 'ligio' meaning to link. So essentially religion means to link back to the source. And this generally was the essence of the livity and principles of indigenous African societies in which their every action was an expression of their principles. Thus in that context, the meaning of the word religion is radically different to the modern understanding and patterns of religion.
So in a sense, Africans didn't have a religion but rather they had a way of life, that was so intertwined with their values and beliefs that it is difficult to use the word religion as understood now to represent what they had. Because of the influences of colonialism as well as the different environmental factors, the practice of ancient African 'religions' may be in some way disconnected from their everyday lives. But in spite of this i see there being a lot of valid things that exist within those practices that needs to be continued and preserved. However, i see the principles and lessons that underlie these traditions to be of more importance than the forms which can simply be adopted by anyone. This is not to say that the outwards expressions should just be dropped, but there is need to revisit the principles closest to the root as possible. For example I have observed some practices of Orisha take on some very patriarchal and western tendencies, which is understandable given the context in which it had to survive, but opportunities are availing themselves presently that allow people to become more informed.
Also i don't think that honoring our ancestors and our traditions means that we have to do everthing that they did.
'In truth, popular traditional African religions express philosophy and the metaphysical essence of the African existence.'
i agree with this, but still even though there is much to learn from it, i don't see the mainstream forms as offering a holistic path towards self realization. It however can be useful stepping stone to higher especially as it points in the general direction of the source...Africa.
Ayinde said: "The problem today with someone first taking on the symbolic trappings of any cultural form is that many can do the same, try to claim the culture, and distort the true meaning of what it is all about."
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