|About the Book|
What is the world’s oldest religion? What is the true religion for Black people? What was Africa’s original religion?If I earned one pound for each time I was asked these questions, I would be a wealthy man by now.As a Black Studies lecturer ofMoreWhat is the world’s oldest religion? What is the true religion for Black people? What was Africa’s original religion?If I earned one pound for each time I was asked these questions, I would be a wealthy man by now.As a Black Studies lecturer of many years experience, no course module generates more controversy and debate among the adult students than religion. Everyone has something to say or contribute.I have never presented any definitive answers to the big questions of the nature of the divine force or forces, human existence, ethics, destiny, etcetera. I have always left this up to the students to make up their own minds. What I have done, and continue to do even in this lecture-essay, is to provide adult students with the intellectual data with which to think. In doing this, I only present data that can be verified.In teaching this module I used to recommend perhaps a dozen books for the adult students to read. Sometimes it was a page here and there. Sometimes it was a chapter. With some books, I recommended reading them from cover-to-cover. However, I never came across any self-contained book on religion that said everything I wanted it say. Consequently, I wrote this lecture-essay directly based on one of my classes so that it would say everything that I wanted it to say.This lecture-essay traces the origin and evolution of religious ideas in early Africa. The paper also highlights parallels between the religious ideas in early Africa and the ideas believed in and practiced by traditional African societies uninfluenced by Islam or Christianity.As with my other writings, I highlight unapologetically what Africa and Africans contributed to human culture. To this aim, I challenge both the racism and the religious bigotry that has conspired to bury the contributions of Africans to religion. Just for the record, some of the religious bigotry is even perpetuated by Black believers themselves.I owe major intellectual debts to scholars who have gone before me in this endeavour. Chief amongst these were Dr Femi Biko, Professor Yosef ben-Jochannan, Professor John Jackson, Professor George James, Professor Charles Finch and the Reverend Mbiti.This lecture-essay presents what is currently known about the early religious history of the human race. Yes I address questions such as: What is the world’s oldest religion? However, I prefer to reframe the question as: What is the world’s oldest religion that we can document? If this question interests you, read on.There are other difficult questions such as: What is the true religion for Black people? What was Africa’s original religion?I believe that the question on the true religion for Black people cannot be answered definitively. Each person must make their own decisions. That decision, however, should be informed by verifiable knowledge. I present some of that knowledge here.On the question of Africa’s original religion, this can be answered definitively. African regions had regionally defined religions. No single tradition covered the length and breadth of the African continent. However, these religious traditions shared many common features with each other. If these features interest you, read on.