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African religions : Anthropocentrism and animal protection


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Horsthemke, Kai:
African religions : Anthropocentrism and animal protection.
In: Linzey, Andrew ; Linzey, Clair (Hrsg.): The Routledge handbook of religion and animal protection. - Abingdon ; New York : Routledge, 2019. - S. 23-34. - (Routledge Handbooks in Religion)
ISBN 978-1-138-59272-8


This chapter investigates a few core aspects of African religions and explores how they impact positively and negatively on the treatment of animals. African religions (like African ethical traditions) emanate from small-scale communities and societies, and are infused with values like communalism, a fundamental preoccupation with the common good, harmony and the ‘interconnectedness’ of all life. What they share is belief in either a single supreme being or a multitude of gods, belief in a realm of spirits (ancestral and nature spirits, as well as deities) and belief in the sanctity of a unified society – which is sufficient for warranting the use of ‘religion’, in preference to the more neutral and general term ‘worldview’. A further commonality that sets African religions apart from the well-known global religious traditions is the absence of any scriptures or sacred texts. It should come as no surprise, for example, that there is a great diversity of creation myths that have been transmitted over many centuries through the living, immediate medium of oral tradition. These creation myths are diverse and distinct from one another. Yet, there are not only certain parallels between the various myths (for example, human disobedience and recklessness, and God’s subsequent displeasure or even anger), but there are also some interesting commonalities between the various African religions. The hierearchy of being, too, is a noteworthy commonality, with God at the apex, and then at different levels below, the ancestors or ‘living-dead’ , then human beings, and finally the rest of animate and inanimate creation, including animals. The hierarchy of beings invariably places non-human animals in an inferior position to humans, despite their predominant innocence and blamelessness for any disruption or chaos caused. Nevertheless, it is not they but rather humans who have been created in the image of God. In acting responsibly and morally, human beings are fulfilling their divinely allocated role. They have moral responsibilities and duties not only to God and the ancestors but also in respect of the rest of creation.

Weitere Angaben

Publikationsform:Aufsatz in einem Buch
Schlagwörter:African religions; anthropocentrism; creation myths; hierarchy of being; ubuntu; ukama
Institutionen der Universität:Philosophisch-Pädagogische Fakultät > Pädagogik > Lehrstuhl für Bildungsphilosophie und Systematische Pädagogik
Open Access: Freie Zugänglichkeit des Volltexts?:Nein
Begutachteter Aufsatz:Ja
Titel an der KU entstanden:Ja
Eingestellt am: 22. Nov 2018 10:34
Letzte Änderung: 22. Nov 2018 10:34
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