Papua New Guinea: Religion, Tradition and the Ensuing Violence

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A small nation with widespread brutality and domestic violence, Papua New Guinea, located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, struggles with multiple developmental challenges. It is one of the poorest countries on the planet per capita, as well as one of the most culturally diverse with over 800 languages are spoken there (Campano). According to ReCom, a research and communication on foreign aid organization, it is ranked at 148 on the Human Development Index and most human well-being indicators show that the conditions there are similar to those in Sub-Saharan Africa (Stewart). The country is in desperate need of social services for the many abused and battered woman and the vengeful violent acts that take place for accused witchcraft and sorcery. Christian missionary shelters and hospitals are some of the only places for these people to receive care. However, while nearly 95% of its citizens are self-proclaimed Christian, traditional beliefs and values largely prevail. The deep set beliefs and cult-like traditions of the country make religious conversion complicated and somewhat superficial, as even those who call themselves Christian, and attend church weekly, behave in vicious animal-like manners. This “Christian” nation is atypical of civilized Christian communities and without aid and intervention will surely see flagrant and public attacks and violence continue to spiral out of control.

Early Religion in Papua New Guinea
Historically, early religion in Papua New Guinea varied by tribe, but had a strong focus on supernatural forces, ritualistic traditions, and sorcery. While the different societies varied, most were animists, believing that both animals and plants have spirits (like human souls) and that these need to b...

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