Diaspora Stories: Monotheist Kenyan Christian Meets The Polytheist Maya Culture

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Diaspora Stories: Monotheist Kenyan Christian Meets The Polytheist Maya Culture

Diaspora Stories: Monotheist Kenyan Christian Meets The Polytheist Maya CultureMost of the inhabitants of Kenya believe in a supreme supernatural God. All Bantus including Kikuyu, Kamba, Meru, Embu traditionally believe in a supreme God – Ngai or Mulungu. The Luo, also, believe in a spiritual supreme being whose name is Nyasaye or “he who is praying” or Jok, a term that designates the souls of the dead that have merged with the soul of God, by creating a single entity. The Maasai belief system is monotheistic. The deity is spiritual called Engai and has a dual nature—both benevolent and vengeful. The most important figure in the Maasai religion is the laibon, a kind of priest and shaman, whose role traditionally includes healing, divination, and prophecy and a link with Engai.

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The Kamba, the Bantu scion I come from, believed in a monotheistic, invisible and transcendental God, Ngai or Mulungu, who lives up in the sky. Another venerable name for God is Asa (the strong Lord or the Father). He is also known as Ngai Mumbi (God the creator, fashioner or maker), na Mwatuangi (God the ‘distributor’ or ‘cleaver’, from the human act of slicing meat with a knife or splitting wood with an axe), and Mulungu (‘creator’), which is the name most commonly used in East Africa for the creator God, and exists as far south as the Zambezi of Zambia.

Ngai or Mulungu is perceived as the omnipotent Creator of life on earth, Protector and as a merciful, if distant, entity. The Kamba say that God does to them only what is good, so they have no reason to complain. He protects people, and is known as both ‘the God of comfort’ and ‘the Rain Giver’ (rain is sometimes called the ‘saliva of God’, and for this reason to spit on something (such as a child) is a symbol of great blessing).

The Kamba consider the heavens and the earth to be the Father’s ‘equal-sized bowls’: they are his property both by creation and rights of ownership; and they contain his belongings, including livestock, which he lowered from the sky and gave (perhaps ‘lent’ is more correct) to the Kamba.

What is substantial about the religious beliefs of most of the tribes in Kenya is that they are monotheists and believe in life after death. These are the basic beliefs in Christianity. On many occasions, I have differed with the accounts of the early missionaries to Kenya who gave an account of how it was difficult to convert a “native” to Christianity. Both traditional beliefs and Christianity preached monotheism and life after death. There were only a few modifications from the fundamental belief in One Omnipotent God and life after death and these modifications should not have accounted for the difficulties the missionaries stated they had in the spread of Christianity.

From a traditional monotheism belief and later a Christian believer the author of Life Lessons of an Immigrant gets a different perspective of God and afterlife concepts when he takes a vacation in Mexico – specifically in the land of the historic Maya people and their civilization going back to 3,000 BC. Find out this experience from your copy of Life Lessons of an Immigrant by John Makilya at www.Amazon.com. Also, for more information visit: https://johnmakilya.com.  However, those wishing to get an autographed copy of the Life Lessons of an Immigrant by John Makilya please call or text the author at 617-653-8386.

By John Makilya: Diaspora Messenger Contributor

 

Diaspora Stories: Monotheist Kenyan Christian Meets The Polytheist Maya Culture

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