African-based Spiritual Outlook: Rastafarianism Essay

African-based Spiritual Outlook: Rastafarianism Essay

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Rastafarianism is an African-based spiritual outlook that emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. It is considered as a religion by few, but by many people it is considered as “a way of life” because it is not very organized. In 1927, Marcus Garvey who is an Afrocentric, black political activist, made a prophecy that his race will be emancipated after a black king is crowned. Three years later, in 1930 Haile Selassie was crowned as king in Africa. Selassie was later declared as the savior by four Jamaican ministers.

Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie is the messiah, who they refer to as “Jah” or God. They believe that one day he will lead them to the Promised Land. Although, Selassie died in 1975, his death is not accepted by many due to the fact that they believe he will come back one day; reincarnation. Selassie was known as “Ras Tafari Makonnen”, and this is how the name of the religion came to be. Rastafarianism began as a social stand against white people and middle-classes, because they viewed them as oppressors. They also wanted to recapture and reestablish their African heritage, because many of them felt that by being captured and taken to the Caribbean by slave traders, they were defrauded out of their heritage.

The Bible is taken as the sacred text by Rastafarians, but it is interpreted in an Afrocentric way. The reason behind the different interpretation of the Bible is to reverse the changes that they assume were made by white powers. They hold the black race as one of the tribes of Israel, and believe that the promise to the chosen people is relevant to them as well. Rastas also obtain many of the Old Testament prohibitions, like forbidding the cutting of their hair, and eating pork and shellfish. Rastafarians ac...


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... during slavery. In Rastafarianism, no two weddings are the same, they choose to be very diverse and different.


Lastly, Rastafarianism is growing very rapidly between people of many different cultures. The Rastafari movement has spread all around the world because of Bob Marley's famous music. The lyrics to most of Marley's songs contained the Rasta doctrine and many of things about the religion/way of life. Bob Marley's style of music was Raggae, and it was very popular, and still is on a certain level. There are many Raggae artists today, like Shaggy & Barrington, Sizzla, and Gyptian. Today, there appears to be more than one million followers of Rastafarianism, and most live in communes. Although, Rastafarianism is spread through Africa, most Rastafarians are from Jamaica. They settle in other places around the world like the Caribbean, US, UK, and Canada.



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