After reading, Things Fall Apart, we might ask what are the differences between the religions that the Ibo Clan practice, compared to a highly practiced religion, Christianity. Some of the differences are how the Ibo religion practice polytheism, belief in more then one God, and the Christians practice monotheism, belief in only one God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, his name is God. Others are, how they believe in animated Gods, which are alive and there Gods can be seen, and Christianity believes in inanimate gods, which their God is eternal. There is a huge difference between the Ibo Clan religion and Christianity, it will be shown.
When Mr. Brown, the missionary, comes to the village of Umuofia to spread the word of God to the Ibo Clan, he met Akunna. Mr. Brown and Akunna has a conversation about their differences in religion, Akunna telling Mr. Brown that the Ibo Clan believes in one supreme God but had others that they worship, the name of their God is Chucku, because “he made all the world and not other Gods.” Akunna also mentions to Mr. Brown that they also worship carved wood, “they tree from which it came was made by Chukwu, as indeed other minor God were” Akunna tells Mr. Brown that the Ibo religion “make sacrifices to the little gods, but when all else fails there is no one to turn to they go to Chuckw.” (180)
Another God, besides the carved wood, that the Ibo worship, is the Oracle of the Hills and Caves. The Ibo believe that they must do whatever the Oracle of the Hills says, if the don’t the people of the village will be punished. An example of this is when the Oracle of the Hills pronounces that Ikemefuma, the boy living with Okonkwo, need to be killed. Since the Oracle of the Hills and Caves says that it must be done, “the men of Umuofia took the boy outside the village and killed him” (57). The Ibo religion is very different from Christianity. Since Christianity only believes in one God, they don’t have all of these other Gods as the people of Umuofia believed in, such as the carved wood, and the Oracle of the Hills and Caves.
Sometimes thinking that the Ibo religion would only have one or two gods, but they didn’t. Included with the other Gods that they worship, there was another which was the snake known as the sacred python. When the Christian missionaries come to the village, the son of the snake priest says that he “ate and killed the sacred python” (185). The son of the snake priest was named Enoch, he did eat the sacred python, when he decided to convert to Christianity. This is one huge difference between the Ibo Clan and Christianity, of how and what they worship.
However there are some differences between Ibo and Christianity is the belief in animate Gods, and inanimate Gods. Christians have an inanimate God, which means that He cannot be seen, and Christians also believe that God is eternal. Unlike Christianity, the Ibo believe in animated Gods, which are alive and their Gods can be seen, such as the spirits. When the Ibo Clan would talk to their spirits, as when the egwugwu had emerged once again from their underground home, they saluted on another and then reappeared on the ilo (92).
The Ibo Clan Gods’ emerged from underground, and that they speak to them just as humans would. Comparing that to the Christians way, is different. Christians don’t believe of having spirits rise from the dead, or from the underground to come and solve problems. Christians just believe that God is number one, and that they pray to God for helping them solve problems, but not face to face as the Ibo Clan claims to do with their Gods.
Another contrast between the two religions is the practice of polygamy compared to monogamy. Polygamy is what the Ibo Clan practice, which is having many wives at one time. In Umuofia, the more wives a man had, the better, just like Okonkwo, he had three wives, and “another man in the village was a wealthy man who had three barns and nine wives with thirty children” (18). But this is all common practice for the men in Umuofia to have more then one wife. Each wife and her children would live in different huts, and the man lives by himself in his obi. In contrast, Christians practice monogamy and that’s being married to one wife at a time, Christians believe that when a man and women become united in Christ, they become one.
In conclusion, Things Fall Apart portrays, social, culture, and religious aspects of Africa. Christianity and Ibo are both types of religions, but they are practiced in very different ways. A difference was the practice of polytheism, which would be the believe in more then one God and monotheism, belief in one God which is practiced by the Christians. The second difference was the Ibo worship animate Gods, unlike the Christians who worship inanimate God. In addition is that the Christians practice monogamy, being married to only one wife, and the Ibo practice polygamy, more then one wife. Here were two very different religions and practices but each had the choice of which one they wanted to follow, some stayed with the Ibo Clan religion, but others converted to Christianity, it’s their choice.
Courtney from Study Moose
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