West African Religion

The earliest debate on West African Religion (WAR) bordered mainly on whether the term religion should be pluralized. Considering the enormity of WAR and its seeming polytheistic nature, as well as the size and multiethnic structure of the African continent, some have argued that it is better to describe WAR as WAR(s). In this entry, we hypothesize that the name WAR(s) does not adequately define the religion. An attempt is made to suggest what might be the acceptable name.

Most of the definitions of earlier writers on WAR were descriptive, explanatory, pictorial, but not definitive. Some nomenclatures employed were derogatory. These include paganism, heathenism, fetishism, idolatry, and animism. When a religion is properly named, a comprehensive theology of the religion emerges. When a religion is not ...

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