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RELIGION AND THE PERCEPTION/PROMOTION OF HUMAN LIFE INAFRICA: EXAMINING THE IGBO OF SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA
This study is concerned about the place of religion on how the African perceives and promotes human life. Knowing too well that African people are incurably religious people, some pertinent questions quickly come to mind: Does the religious background of the African has any influence on the way and manner he understands and appreciates life? What are those distinctive characters that make the African to stand out as a promoter of life? Therefore, employing the methods of analysis and hermeneutics, the study attempts to address the above and related questions. It focused on the Igbo people, one of the prominent races in Africa. The study observed that the human life for the African is sacred and is perceived as the highest good and more so as an integral whole; life is given and controlled by the Supreme Being: Chukwu. Life for the African (Igbo people) is viewed, accepted and lived in a communal setting – involving the living, the ancestors/the living-dead and the not-yet born. Upon these perceptions of life which anchor heavily on religion, the African has an interesting attitude towards the promotion and preservation of the human life. Holding life in high esteem, the African takes good care to preserve it. The study concludes that the African is a strong promoter of life as manifested in effective health care delivery, traditional medicine – the dibia/doctor phenomenon, traditional morning ritual prayer and various sacrifices and good intake of natural food, among others.
Keywords:- Religion, Human life, African, Igbo people, Supreme Being