The Yoruba , like other Africans , have always had their own traditional (indigenous) religion which is monotheistic; a belief in Olódùmarè the most Supreme Being and the creator of all there is, who has other divinities as His aides. Religion is the keynote of the Yoruba’s existence; forming the foundation and all governing principles of their lives. Oral literature for instance, enshrines the theology and cosmology of the people, and reflects their ethos and moral values. This is why early Yoruba writers in their works, bear a carry-over of this traditional function in their literary creativities. Being this religious, it is not surprising that the Yoruba received foreign religions like Christianity, Islam and other ones, from the West, East and other places respectively. The fact remains however, that the foreign religions have not been received and adopted hook, line and sinker, to completely replace the traditional religion of the people. In the spirit of Yoruba religio-cultural nationalism, there had been signs of rebellion against the modes, content and practice of the ‘alien’ and ‘threatening’ religions. Their (the religions) appearances of being ‘fashionable’ and that of the ‘enlightened’, and having enlarged the people’s visions, liberated their minds from un-necessary fears and superstitious inhibitions, thereby giving them a progressive outlook and sense of personal values, has led to a kind of syncretism of Christianity and Yoruba tradition. Example of this is the birth of African Indigenous Churches.*
The emergence of the African Indigenous Churches, as well as temples, such as Ijo Orunmila Adulawo has its parallel in the Yoruba diaspora, including the Shango Baptists of Trinidad, the Spiritual Baptists of St. Vincent, the Oku and Mami Wata traditions of Guyana, as well as the Baptist traditions of the American South, all of which effectively Africanized the Protestant religion to varying degrees. Today, there is a growing movement to make use of these traditions to complete the Africanization of American spiritual traditions. It signals a tremendous opportunity to continue to build cultural, economic and spiritual bridges between Africa, the Caribbean and North America. Join us for community WORSHIP every Sunday in Oakland, CA. We welcome the Good Spirit.
*Language Use in Ìdààmú Páàdì Mínkáílù: A Yoruba Religio-Satiric Play
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Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.