Rev. Fr. Dr. Christian O. Ele


This paper discusses African Traditional Religion in Modern Africa. One would have expected to see the relics of African Traditional Religion (ATR) only in history books, archives and museums with the existence of Christianity and Islam that are on mission for centuries on the continent with teeming adherents but this folk religion is resilient, has practitioners and has embraced modern forms. This background of continued dynamic existence and impactful influences is the curiosity of this paper. Some decades ago, the debate in religious studies in more forums than one was whether African Traditional Religion had a future. It was believed that its adherents were few and old and could join their ancestors without successors-in-faith. But there came an unexpected phase in the history of this religion. Today, for instance, there is a twist as youths, educated elites and those who have other types of exposure to other cultures are busy practicing African Traditional Religion. The findings of this paper reveal that ancient practices like masquerade culture, groves and festivals have been revamped, dilapidated shrines have been re-built with modern materials and the traditional medicine men have left the obscure domains for the cities. Again, some members of other faiths are open or hidden supporters of afro-indigenous religion. This paper strives to find out what enlivens this religion and the pastoral prospects of Christianity under this circumstance. The methodology employed in this work is historic-descriptive which means that these historical facts have been studied over time and presented here using analytical frameworks.


African Traditional Religion, Cultural Dynamism, African Society, Modernity, Abrahamic Faiths.

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