Wednesday, 15 September 2021 12:43

Christianity And Traditional African Heritage - Class 8 CRE Revision Notes

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African stories of creation

  • In traditional African society, different communities had their own creation stories People in TAS believed that God is the sole creator
  • Human beings are the most important of God’s creation
  • TAS stories are called myths
  • A myth is a story with a message
  • Different communities explain how they were formed:
  1. Agikuyu

    • People of central Kenya believe that God created the universe
    • He then created a man called Gikuyu
    • God gave Gikuyu a wife called Mumbi
    • They both lived at a place called Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga
    • They had nine daughters
    • Gikuyu offered sacrifices to God who offered nine handsome men to marry them Thus the gikuyu community today
  2. Akamba

    • They had a God called Mulungu, Ngai, Mwatuangi
    • He created the first man and woman
    • Let them down from heaven and fell on earth
    • They landed on a stone on Nzaui hills
    • God blessed them with many sheep cattle and goats
    • Akamba people are believed to have come from anthills
  3. The Nandi

    • They believe to have come from a knee
    • The knee belonged to a certain animal
    • It got swollen and finally it burst
    • Out of it a man and woman
    • They became the first parents of the Nandi

Biblical teachings about creation(Genesis 1:4-13)

  • The story of creation is illustrated in the bible
  • God is the sole creator
  • He created for 6 days the world and everything in it
  • He created human beings last
  • God gave him authority over all creation


  • The learners to give the order of creation

Traditional African Society And The Christian View of Life

Traditional African Society View of Life

  • The relationship between the unborn, the living, the living dead and ancestors In TAS, life was very important because it is given by God
  • Every stage of life was related to the other
  • None of the stage was important than the other
  • Life has no end
  • Life began before birth and it continued after death
  • Before children were born, they were considered as part of the society A person who has died continues to be a member of the society In TAS, life existed in four forms,
    1. The unborn
    2. The living
    3. The living dead
    4. The ancestors


  1. Unborn
    • These were members of the society who were not yet born
    • Everybody in the society looked forward to the birth of the unborn They were protected
    • Expectant mothers were given healthy food and avoided heavy duties When children were born they became part of the family and community They replaced the dead
    • Children ensured life continuity in the family, clan and community
  2. The living
    • The other form of life is living
    • It is made up of the community who are alive
    • Once children were born they became living members of the community
  3. The living dead
    • These are community members who died recently
    • Their physical appearance, behavior and character could still be remembered by the living members of the community
  4. The ancestors
    • These are the community members who died long time ago
    • No living member of the community could recall them
    • Information about them is passed by the word to the next generation
    • They are important for they founded the clan
    • They are remembered in the history of the community
    • NB: Ancestors and the living dead exist in form of spirit
    • Ancestors and the living dead influence the life of the living through dreams or visions They are believed to be closer to God and therefore acted as mediators
    • They could warn people and rebuke any evil done in the family or community
    • In TAS. ,life began before birth, one was born, she/ he then died

The Christian View of Life

  • Christians also have ancestors also called patriarchs
  • These are people whose has greatly influenced the ChristiansGenesis 13: 14-18, 50: 24-25, Mathew 1:1-17In the book of genesis, we read the origin of the people of Israel
  • From Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their children
  • The generations that existed before the birth of Jesus that took place in the new testament Abraham, joseph and david are the ancestors of Jesus
  • Christians share in the life of Jesus through believing in him


  1. What is the difference between the living dead and the ancestors
  2. Write down three ancestors of Jesus
  3. Mary the mother of Jesus received the good news about the birth of Jesus in ?
  4. How do the dead influence the life of the living

Continuity of life in Christianity and African traditions

  • Both Christians and people in TAS, believe that life is a gift from God and it has no end
  • There are differences between Christian understanding and traditional understanding concerning the continuity of life
    Christian understanding Traditional African understanding
    Christians hope to live forever with God in heaven Life continued after death in spiritual; world which is not definite
    Those who die without believing will be punished by God on judgment day. They will not receive eternal life Evil doers are not welcome in the spiritual world. Such spirits were the evil spirits
    Christians who die will resurrect and be given heavenly bodies  When the living died, they became part of the living dead. They continued to live in form of spirits


  1. How do we become a member of Christian family?
  2.  Where did life continue in African society?
  3. ____________ teaches about resurrection of the body.

Respect for life of the unborn in Traditional African Society and Christianity

Traditional African Society view

  • Life is a gift from God.
  • Expectant mothers were taken care of.
  • They were protected from any evil forces.
  • The unborn were regarded as potential human beings
  • Life begins after conception
  •  Expectant mothers were not allowed to do heavy duties.
  • They were fed with a well balanced diet.

Christian View

  • Psalms 139:13-16
  • Christians teach that life begins at conception.
  • The unborn should be loved and taken care of.
  • God formed me and put every part in my mother’s womb.
  • Life should be highly regarded.

Nb: both African Traditional and Christianity does not allow for abortion.
Life should be protected and valued.


  1. Why is abortion a sin
  2. Why do Africans regard life as sacred?
  3. Memorize verse psalms 139:13-14

Concepts of God in African Traditional society and Christianity 

  1. African tradition considers God to be as follows:-
    1. All powerful
    2. All knowing {omniscient}
    3. Everywhere {omnipresent }
    4. God is eternal – has no beginning or end.
    5. He is the creator of the world and all that is in it.
    6. God is a spirit.
    7. God is merciful
    8. God is good.
    9. God is the father, mother, friend e.t.c
    10. God is the provider.
    11. God is holy
  2. Christians consider God to be as follows
    Matthew 6:9, john 1:3, 6:35, 8:12, 14:6, 15:5
    1. Giver of life and creator
    2. God is the provider
    3. God is good.
    4. God is merciful
    5. He is our father.
      He is the bread of life
    6.  He is the provider
    7. Omnipresent
    8. Omniscient.
    9. Omnipotent.

Nb: God manifests himself as the trinity. This means 3 persons in one- God the father, son and the Holy Spirit.


  1. Give similarities between African and Christian concepts of God.
  2. Where do African names of God come from?
  3. State 3 title given to God in T.A.S

Response to God in Traditional African society

Africans responded to God through

  1. Offering sacrifices
  2. Prayers
  3. Consulting special people
  4. Ritual cleansing
  5. Dance and songs.


  1. Offering sacrifices
    • People worshiped God using birds and animal sacrifices.
    • The sacrifice was either offered whole or a half and the other half was eaten.
    • Birds and animals were of the same color without blemish.
    • The colors preferred were black or white.
  2. Prayers
    • Traditional Africans prayed to God for help in different situations.
    • Example, Elders prayed and blessed warriors when going for war
    • They asked God to give warriors courage and victory.
  3. Consulting special people
    • These special people were seers and diviners.
    • Diviners found out about the future events by receiving signs from the spirit world.
    • Seers foretold about God’s will in the community
    • They also foretold the future events from the dreams they had.
    • They also advised people on what to do if the annoyed God to please him.
  4. Ritual cleansing
    • This is done after the death of a spouse in a community. Example Taita people
    • When one spouse died they had to cleanse the living spouse.
    •  She/he had to be taken to the river for a ritual bath.
    • This was important for one to be accepted by God.
  5. Dance and song
    • People sang different songs
    • Some songs were sacred or religious.
    • As they sung, drums were beaten to remove evil spirit.E.g the Swahili people had a ceremony called “Kupunga pepo” and it was accompanied by dancing and drumming
    • This was to get rid of the evil spirit that possessed people.
    • Medicine men conducted the ceremony but God cured people.


  1. Why did people pray in the African Traditional society
  2. State 3 ways in which people worshiped in African traditional
  3. Explain how people responded to God in African tradition

Ways of reconciling with God in African tradition society

  • People reconcile to heal broke relationships
  • There were ways in which people offended God e.g
    1. Refusing to offer sacrifices
    2. Refusing to give offering after harvest
    3. Breaking rules in the society.
  • Reconciliation ways include
    1.  Animal sacrifices
      • An animal was burnt as a sacrifice to him
      • The best animal was chosen
      • Animals with blemish were not allowed.
    2. People also offered grains e.g. maize, bananas, beans e.t.c
      • These were taken to the shrines and left there
    3. Cleansing Rituals
      • If one committed a sin she/he became dirty’
      • She/he had to be cleansed to reconcile her/him with God.
      •  A ritual bath had to be taken using water and special herbs, which were anointed with special oil.
      • The appropriate ritual bath was given by a medicine woman or medicine man
    4. Special types of clothes were worn to seek reconciliation with God e.g when one was sick or under a curse.
      • The clothes were prescribed by a medicine man.
    5. Prayers
    6. Libation was poured to the ground and elders talked to ancestors to seek reconciliation with God.

Similarities between Christianity and African Traditional beliefs and customs

  1. Believe in God as the creator
  2. Belief in life after death.
  3. Power of covenants.
  4. Presence of evil.
  5. Belief in prophets and prophecy
  6. Giving offering ad first fruits.
  7. Power of prayers.

The difference between Christianity and African Traditional beliefs and customs

  1. Belief in trinity
  2. Belief in lesser Gods
  3. Belief in magic and witchcraft.
  4. Animal sacrifice
  5. Human sacrifices.
  6. Image of God
  7. Places of worship
  8. Jesus and ancestors
  9. Baptism
  10. Lord’s supper
  11. Tithing

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