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Study of African world view teaches me that there are a lot of similarities between African nations and Western nations. Indeed, God, community, and rituals show that Africans are able to imagine, analyze, and have their own moral laws. I would like to concentrate on Jewish religion and Gikuyu religion because they are examples of Western and African traditions. Judaism is an example of Western tradition because majority of Jews lived in Europe, and Christianity is derived from Judaism. Gikuyu religion is an example of African traditions because these people are indigenous population of South Eastern part of Africa.

The description of God by Gikuyu people is very similar to Jewish description. God is one. Gikuyu call God by the name Ngai, brightness. God can not be seen by ordinary eyes. Ngai manifests himself as the sun, the moon, the stars, rain, rainbow, lightning, and thunder. Also God must not be needlessly bothered.

Monotheism is a big similarity between African religion and doctrine of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although there are no main examples of credo statements in Africa the sentence from the Facing Mt. Kenya by Jomo Keyatta “The Gikuyu believes in one God , Ngai, the creator and the giver of all things,” is similar to Christian, Judaism , and Islam credo statement. For example, credo statements: ”Hear Israel, G-d is our G-d, G-d is One” in Judaism, and “ There is one G-d, and Muchamed is a true prophet” in Islam are often said by Jews and Muslims. Light (brightness) is one of the symbols of God in the Bible. Jews and Christians often light candles. Gikuyu often say, “Ngai ndegiagiagwo” which translates as “Ngai must never be pestered.”

Role of thunder us is important for ancient Jews and for Africans. For instance, Gikuyu should not look toward the heaven during a thunderstorm. I consider the following explanation. Since thunder, lightning, rain, and rainbow are manifestations of God and Gikuyu should not pestered Ngai; therefore, people do not look towards the heaven during a thunderstorm. Another rational reason that thunderstorm can kill person or ruin agricultural plants. Therefore, Gikuyu connect thunderstorm with powerful God. In the Exodus God spoke to Jews in thunder so powerful that Jews were afraid to look at and to speak with God and ask Moses to be a mediator between God and Jews.”Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder”(Exodus 19:19)

Other similarities are a sacred place, worship to God during crisis and the changing of the person’s status. There is a sacred place. This is Mount Kenya for Gikuyu and Temple in Jerusalem for Jews. In both cases people offer sacrifices. Africans turn towards this mountain in their prayers. For the Jews the wall with Torah is placed toward the wall of this Temple. Jews and Gikuyu people worship to God when there is a moral or a natural disorder.

African initiation and Bar-Mitzvah are similar. Boys should be teenagers (13 for Bar-Mitzvah, and probably 12-15 for African initiation).In both cases boys should pass tests. In Africa they run a race and are circumcised, and Jews read Torah. In both cases after the initiation boys become independent from their parents. Boys are perceived as members of the community. I consider some rational reasons for these similarities such as circumcision (Jews also do circumcision, but when the child is eight). Some recent studies shows men who made circumcision can have better sex life, and there is less chance for women to get cancer. Maybe a warm climate can be another reason. The age for the initiation is not an arbitrary number. At these age people are mentally ready to be farmers, and physically ready to have sex. Indeed, children at these age knew how to cultivate land and how to take care of a cattle. The role of community is crucial for Gikuyu and Jews. ”I am because we are; and since we are, therefore I am,” say the Gikuyu. Most of the Jewish prayers are community oriented. If a person us ask God he usually use the word “us” instead of “me”. In both cases the goal of a person is to be respectful by his community. One reason for this, that in agricultural society a person can not live in isolation from other people. People need to talk with each other, help in work, and perform rituals.

I consider that the main similarity is that religion occupy Jews and Gikuyu daily, and each aspect of their life is related to another. If African people continue to strengthen the community, and focus on creative work they will not lose their culture. I think that religion for African can help strengthen the community or hurt such as accusing innocent people as harmful witches.

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Mazel tov to

Alexandry Vladimirovichy and
"Sare Abramovne" on
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