A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion by Arvind Sharma

By Arvind Sharma

Philosophy of faith as a self-discipline first arose in Europe; its material has been profoundly stimulated through the practices of eu Christianity. whereas japanese and Western religions consequently discovered a spot in those reviews, one worldwide spiritual culture, specifically, the primal culture, is still unrepresented in its discussions. This publication examines the considerably diverse views provided via primal religions on nearly each subject matter mentioned within the philosophy of faith.

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It may be more philosophically expressed, especially with the African material in view. In doing so it is well to remember that because “nature of Other Concepts of God 39 time in African religion is much more past-oriented by comparison with the future-oriented Western thought,”30 the idea of creation achieves a salience not paralleled in Western thought. The point needs to be explained in some detail: Each African people has its own history. This history moves ‘backward’ from the Sasa [proximate] period to the Zamani [remote], from the moment of intense experience to the period beyond which nothing can go.

As Huston Smith points out, in primal religions we find nothing like the notion of creation ex nihilo. 46 Primal people are, we are emphasizing, oriented to a single cosmos, which sustains them like a living womb. Because they assume that it exists to nurture them, they have no disposition to challenge it, defy it, refashioned it, or escape from it. It is not a The Concept of God: Monotheism 31 place of exile or pilgrimage, though pilgrimages take place within it. Its space is not homogeneous; the home has a number of rooms, we might say, some of which are normally invisible.

It is obvious, as Mbiti notes, that: This type of argument and interpretation places African religions at the bottom of the supposed line of religious evolution. It tells us that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are at the top, since they are monotheistic. The theory fails to take into account the fact that another theory equally argues that man’s religious development began with a monotheism and moved towards polytheism and animism. We need not concern ourselves unduly here with either theory. We can only comment that African peoples are aware of all these elements of religion: God, spirits and divinities are part of the traditional body of beliefs.

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