THE AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION IN THE MIDST OF SECULARISM

Author: Nweke Innocent Ogbonna
Department: Religion and Human Relations
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The research studies how secularism has affected African Traditional Religion. This work will not understudy all the Africa world, it will for clarity sake study the African Traditional Religion in the old Anambra Local Government Area, comprising Oyi, Anambra East, Anambra West and Ayamelum Local Government Areas of Anambra State. It equally answers the question on whether African Traditional Religion is still relevant in the midst of secularism. It traced the historical development of secularism, and it was discovered through this study that secularism came from the West. It was traced back to the ancient philosopher Protagoras who propounded the theory, “man is the measure of all things”. This theory introduced into existence, the enthronement of man and reasoning, and the dethronement of God. However, the 18th – 19th century philosophers took after Protagoras and through their idea, the idea of God was relegated to the background, and reasoning was enthroned. It was also discovered that secularism came into Africa from the Western world and it came as a result of poverty, Christianity, colonialism and identity crisis. Secularism came in and changed the mentality of Africans from being “notoriously religious”, living communal life and having regard for life, to disregard for God, individualistic living and the abuse of life. Secularism, as discovered in this work, can be seen in different areas of the life of Africans – cultural, religious, and educational life. This work adopted the primary and secondary sources of data collection. The data collected were thoroughly analyzed with firm objectivity using historical and phenomenological methods of interpretation. The work argues that although secularism has done more harm than good to the African Traditional Religion, the African God is still relevant to the African man, bearing in mind that Africans are by nature religious. The study advocates the need for the media to be educated on a study of African culture since a lot of information pass through the media, and also the need for Africans to develop a theology that affirms the human person, in order to re-mould into shape the original identity of Africans. The study also reveals the need for Africans to develop the character of self – acceptance as against self – rejection. Africans should accept themselves first, what they have, and accept their values before others will accept them. The dissertation is of importance to the scholars of African Traditional Religion and lovers of African culture, who may want to embark on similar studies.

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