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Things Fall Apart: Christianity vs. Animism


Things Break Down: Christianity vs. Animism

Christianity vs. Animism A significant element of one’s society is religion. Without it, the way people hold themselves responsible would be nonexistent. In addition, numerous moral standards that exist today are worths taken directly from religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Presently, there exists a fight in between people who believe in a god, and of those who do not. Eventually those who believe in a greater power will battle versus each other.

In “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe exposes the distinctions and similarities of Christianity and Animism in order to show the effects of religion upon one’s society, which is exemplified by Okonkwo and his individuals. This is noticed in the lives of the Ibo, the missionaries, and Okonkwo himself. The differences and resemblances in between Animism and Christianity do not end up being apparent up until the arrival of the white males and the missionaries. Due to the distinctions, the Ibo and the missionaries ultimately go from cohabiting in harmony, to being on the brink of war with one another.

One such distinction is seen in Mr. Smith’s actions towards church members and the members of the clan: Our Lord utilized the whip only once in His life– to drive the crowd away from His church. Within a couple of weeks of his arrival in Umuofia Mr. Smith suspended a girl from the church for pouring new red wine into old bottles. (184– 185) In doing this, Mr. Smith showed the Ibo individuals that Christianity is a religious beliefs that is special, and is only for an elite few. On the contrary, Animism is traditional to the Ibo and is to be followed by all members of the clan.

As a result, much of these half-heartedly committed members are held unaccountable for their actions and rely on precedents set by their forefathers and seniors, unlike Christians whose laws are described in the bible. Mr. Smith’s follower, Mr. Brown, likewise showed a distinction because the God of Christians is to be declared as a caring god who is to be feared only when His will is not done. On the other hand, Animism’s followers live in worry of their gods’ wrath and suffer spiritually, mentally, and emotionally for their gods’ happiness, “‘You stated one interesting thing,’ stated Mr. Brown. You are afraid of Chukwu. In my faith Chukwu is a caring Daddy and need not be feared by those who do His will'” (180– 181). Mr. Brown subtly raises a doctrinal paradox that is, “What is the point of living for a god that must be feared?” This distinction greatly impacts the Animistic and Christian way of living. Christians are to get the word out of God, serve their fellow males, and repent, and in doing this they need not fear God. Animists, specifically the Ibo, are to commit themselves to their chi or individual god, make sacrifices to their gods, and hope that their gods are not mad with them.

Surprisingly, there is a resemblance throughout all of this diversity. A huge part of their religions is the belief in one God that produced everything. Animists think in Chukwu, who created whatever including the other gods. Christians think in a single God who likewise produced whatever but is divided by the Trinity into the Dad, the son, and the Holy Spirit. This is brought up by Akunna “‘You say that there is one supreme God who made paradise and earth,’ stated Akunna on among Mr. Brown’s sees.’ We likewise think in Him and call Him Chukwu.

He made all the world and the other gods'” (179 ). Akunna and Mr. Brown eventually find a similarity in between their religious beliefs and this enables their individuals to exist side-by-side for a long time. The beliefs are not similar in that they think in the exact same God, however rather they think in one supreme god who shares power without any one else. The Ibo would not have actually been able to understand and assess specific downfalls of their society had it not been for the missionaries. Simply as the missionaries gained from the Ibo, the Ibo individuals had been educated also.

Though the Ibo never took an interest to Christianity, unless it was an Ibo being transformed to the brand-new religion, they did become informed about the religious beliefs that would quickly overcome Africa. Throughout the novel, the egwugwu are mentioned on numerous celebrations. These “spirits” are truly simply masked men of the clan, however instead of them being seen as simply symbolic figures, they are thought to be real spirits of their previous ancestors, “The egwugwu house was now a pandemonium of quavering voices: Aru oyim de dei!

Filled the air as the spirits of the forefathers, simply emerged from the earth, welcomed themselves in their esoteric language” (88 ). These guys or “spirits” are seen throughout numerous routines in the book, but their true result upon the Ibo is not fully seen till a court proceeding at which the egwugwu decide a male’s punishment for breaking a law (87– 94). In the majority of, if not all, predominantly Christian nations, the citizens have some sort of judiciary system where he or she is penalized for their crimes.

The Ibo would not be any various if it were not for the reason that the jurors are believed to be the spirits of dead ancestors however in actuality are just guys. This practice permits the select couple of egwugwu to judge their peers as if they themselves were gods. Not just does the judiciary process vary in between the 2 religious beliefs, however as does the judgment of one’s actions that effect their spiritual lives. The Ibo think that one male’s transgression has the possible to trigger punishment towards the entire clan.

This worry is observed when Okonkwo beats his wife throughout the Week of Peace, and he is commanded to make a sacrifice to Ani in order to satisfy the god (29– 31). In Animism, a man should not just strive to please the gods for his sake, however for the sake of his fellow clansmen too. In Christianity, one guy’s sin does provoke God to penalizing others however rather an individual is penalized on a specific basis. In such a way, this belief holds Animists responsible in the sense that their transgressions could not only stimulate divine persecution, but persecution from the whole clan.

In order to interact with the gods or God, one must have a way of doing so. In both Animism and Christianity, there are “priests”. In Animism, specifically the Ibo, there is the Oracle. In Christianity, particularly Catholicism, there is a priest. This similarity is seen in the Ibo through the Oracle, The Oracle was called Agbala, and individuals originated from far and near to consult it. They came when bad luck dogged their actions or when they had a dispute with their neighbors. They pertained to discover what the future held for them or to consult the spirits of their departed daddies. 16) In both religious beliefs, the priest functions as an intermediary in between the gods or God so that individuals seeking spiritual advice might receive it in confidence, understanding that the info is originating from a male with a connection to the gods or God. The Ibo are rooted in a legacy of traditions given by their forefathers and the majority of Ibo individuals live their lives as their ancestors had with the exception of a couple of. One of these few individuals is Okonkwo. Okonkwo is a victim of the religious war that has actually invaded Umuofia.

Throughout his entire life, Okonkwo worths masculinity. These worths cause for Okonkwo to blow up at Christian concepts and beliefs because they represent love and compassion, all of which are hated by Okonkwo. Coincidentally, the subject of Okonkwo’s Masculinity happens whenever he experiences circumstances that compare and contrast Animism and Christianity. In Christianity it is a sin to eliminate somebody, even if that individual is an opponent of yours. In Ibo-Animism, murder is observed fairly typically and goes unpunished. An example of this is seen in the murder of Ikemefuna. 61) Okonkwo ends up feeling guilty about the murder of Ikemefuna not due to the fact that he saw murder as incorrect, however because he had a psychological connection with him. The reasoning behind Okonkwo’s actions runs out worry that he may be viewed as weak among his fellow clansmen. On the other hand, the action of not murdering is seen in Christianity as an indication of strength and represents one’s power to manage himself when upset. Another difference between the 2 faiths is seen when Ekwefi remembers the time when she initially satisfied Okonkwo. She remembers the time when she had actually very first wed a guy called Anene since Okonkwo was too poor to wed at that time.

Eventually, she was unable to continue the way she was living so she fled from Anene and went to Okonkwo. (109) Both Ekwefi and Okonkwo would remain in infraction of Christian law. Ekwefi since she separates her other half and commits adultery. Okonkwo since he likewise devotes infidelity. This act appears to go undetected by the Ibo and Okonkwo. He saw absolutely nothing wrong with Ekwefi fleing from her partner but in Christianity, this would be seen as a severe sin that must be dealt with according to God’s Will, which is shown in the bible.

When again, Okonkwo shows the differences between the faiths in his actions. Though his sins, or disobediences, are different in the sense of what guidelines have been violated, they are still sins, no matter the faith. Once once again, taking a look at the time when Okonkwo violated the rules throughout the Week of Peace, he was punished for his wrongdoings, “His tone now changed from anger to command.’ You will bring to the shrine of Ani tomorrow one she-goat, one hen, a length of cloth and a hundred cowries'” (30– 31). Given that Okonkwo beat his better half, he was needed to make up for what he had actually done wrong.

In this case, he was told to make sacrifices to Ani and hope that he did not need to suffer the wrath of Ani. In Christianity (particularly Catholicism), a guy or females who has actually dedicated a sin is needed to go to the priest and admit their sins. They are then required to pay a “penance” in order repent and they are to then request for forgiveness. Though the process by which the “sinner” sets about doing so is rather different, one must repent in both religious beliefs. Okonkwo is just another device utilized by Achebe in “Things Fall Apart” to compare and contrast the religious beliefs of Christianity and Animism.

The religious beliefs have more distinctions then similarities and since of this, a war was initiated to dispute who had the much better culture. Eventually Christianity will dominate, however the significance of the Ibo society and the Animist religion will continue to carry on in memory. One must understand the significance of religious beliefs and the result it has upon one’s life. Another battle has actually currently begun in between Christianity and Islam and the religious beliefs’ spiritual significance has actually started to be overrun by political programs that will ultimately result in the appeasement of one culture to the other.

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