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Mircea Eliade - African tribal beliefs of God



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative religion

The Alundas, another Bantu tribe, believe that their Nzambi is very distant and inaccessible to men....

We find the same situation among the Angonis, who have a Supreme Being; with the Tumbukas, for whom the Creator is too unknown, too great 'for the common affairs of man'; with the Wembas, who know of Leza's existence; with the Wahehes, who picture the Supreme Being Nguruhi as omnipotent creator.

The Wachaggas, an important Bantu tribe of Kilimanjaro, adore Ruwa, the creator, the good God, guardian of the moral law.  He is active in myth and legend, but plays only a moderate part in religion.  He is so good and so kind that men have no need to fear him.............

The remoteness and impartiality of the Supreme Being of heaven are admirably expressed in a saying of the Gyriamas of East Africa who describe God thus 'God (Mulungu) is on high, the manes are below (literally on earth)'.

The Bantus say 'God, after having made man, pays no further attention to him'.  And the Negrilloes say again and again 'God is far from us'.  The Fang peoples of the plains of Equatorial Africa express their philosophy of religion in the following song:

Nzame (God) is on high, man below
God is God, man is man
Each is at his home, each in his own house

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps