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Switch to Forum Live View Too Much Emphasis on Communalism
6 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2008 - 12:07PM #1
Truth27
Posts: 523
Hi,

My personal issue with practicing an African Religion (as well as certain other indigenous religions) is the degree of dependance that must develop on other people.  As I've mentioned on another thread, I understand that most of Africa has West African roots, and that a major element of many West African communities was agriculturally based communalism.  However, that doesn't seem suited for today's Western oriented society.  Spirituality in the West African tradition seems so public and intimate.  Its uncomfortable sometimes to spiritually release in front of a bunch of folks who you're not related to in the way you'd be related to them in a small communal society.  And its hard to develop a small communal society in a Western urban context.  I much prefer Eastern religions such as Buddhism for this reason.  They allow you private contemplation and practice with a community element that, though not central, complements practice.  I just find that there is too much potential in African religion to have to involve oneself in the sticky, petty personal issues of others.  Any thoughts?

Peace.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 07, 2008 - 11:54AM #2
Buddhamom08
Posts: 15
HI Truth.  I am not sure I understand your comment/question?  This could also be due to the fact that I have not been exposed to African Religions, so to speak. 

As a Buddhist, I think that there is a strong emphasis on community and oneness.  While the practice does promote the ideals of personal study, indivdiual prayer, and personal experience, it also encourages our ability to help each other as mentors and disciples, and as members of the whole.  For instance, our home visits, study adn discussion meetings are all the community or body of believers geting together as one.  We are interdependant on each other, and not co-dependant, in my perspective.
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2010 - 1:42PM #3
Bairre
Posts: 122

Apr 16, 2008 -- 12:07PM, Truth27 wrote:

Hi, My personal issue with practicing an African Religion (as well as certain other indigenous religions) is the degree of dependance that must develop on other people. As I've mentioned on another thread, I understand that most of Africa has West African roots, and that a major element of many West African communities was agriculturally based communalism. However, that doesn't seem suited for today's Western oriented society. Spirituality in the West African tradition seems so public and intimate. Its uncomfortable sometimes to spiritually release in front of a bunch of folks who you're not related to in the way you'd be related to them in a small communal society. And its hard to develop a small communal society in a Western urban context. I much prefer Eastern religions such as Buddhism for this reason. They allow you private contemplation and practice with a community element that, though not central, complements practice. I just find that there is too much potential in African religion to have to involve oneself in the sticky, petty personal issues of others. Any thoughts? Peace.



This is because Western Culture is alienating.  Its designed to be.  Insofar, as it is primarily based on Judeo-Christian concepts which put the Church and its Hierarchs are the primary focus of the community.  Therefore, people are meant to view their neighbors as outsiders and to focus on the individual sins and righteousness mediated through a priest.  This effectively eliminated communal access to the nature of their worship and it served as a means to disconnect from the communal needs.  Traditional Religions, African or otherwise, are much more in tune with the fact that we are all in this together.  We're all connected, as we are all human, and we all have the same needs, but it also realizes that individuals can provide these needs in different ways.  I think you are generalizing the nature of Traditional Religions.  Individualism is very much a part of Traditional Religions, as much as communalism is.


It is also the case that modernity has served as an alienating force that disconnects us from nature which we are all dependant on no matter how you look at it.  Therefore, perhaps, looking at Traditional Religions and their values as essentially more in tune with the "real" world might serve as a means to move forward in modernity.  By that, I mean, to evolve socially away from the alienation that we currently live in.

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