Wednesday, February 26, 2014


While reading the conversation between Mr. Brown and Akunna, when Akunna describes the Ibo religion, I noticed many similarities between Ibo beliefs and Hindu beliefs. Although Hindus worships over 330 million gods, some believe that reality is ultimately made up of one essence. Hindus believe that everything in this world is one, all the gods are of the same essence. Each god in Hinduism is a part of the whole. Akunna explains to Mr. Brown that, "We also believe in Him and call Him Chukwu. He made all the world and the other gods." Like in Hinduism, the Ibo religion chooses to worship various gods which they believe make up one essence. When the Ibo people worship a piece of wood, they understand that it is just a piece of wood, but it is a piece of wood that was created by Chukwu, just like the gods and humans. Mr. Brown tries to persuade Akunnu that a piece of wood is worthless but Akunna defends his beliefs by explaining, "It is indeed a piece of wood. The tree from which it came was made by Chukwu, as indeed all the minor gods were. But He made them for His messengers so that we could approach Him through them." The Ibo people also believe in having a chi just as Hindus believe in having an Atman. In a way, a chi is similar to karma, everything thing that happens to someone happens for a reason. The Ibo people and Hindus also believe in reincarnation. Both religions consider time to be cyclical rather than linear. Both see a connection between the spiritual world and the material world and stress the importance of respecting one's ancestors. Although their isn't as much of a defined caste system in the Ibo culture, their still seems to be characteristics of one. In the Ibo culture there are outcasts who hold no titles just as in the Hindu culture. However, in the Ibo culture, one has more opportunities to improve their titles and rank within society. For example, Okonkwo wasn't born with his rank, he was self made. The Ibo culture does not judge someone based upon who their father is, one is given the opportunity to improve their rankings and detach themselves from the reputations of their fathers. In Hinduism, it is much more difficult to improve your ranking within the caste system. One is born into a position and isn't given many opportunities to improve. Hindu's believe that if you are in a lower caste, that is because you had done something wrong in your past life and are now enduring the punishment in your present life. Yet, when comparing any religions, one can find many similarities. After Mr. Brown and Akunna's conversation, I found more similarities between Christianity and the Ibo religion than differences. Worshipping a piece of wood didn't seem as ridiculous to me. If someone believes in God, shouldn't they also believe that God created EVERYTHING? Worshipping something that God created while keeping in mind that God created it doesn't seem so irrational.

1 comment:

Kincy GIbson said...

I think Achebe purposely made christianity sound a lot like the Ibo culture. My impression when I read this dialogue is that the priest is not listening to Ibo speaker that he does not see the similarities. Both have one divine spirit. Even though Ibo culture has many sub gods, they all represent part of the main one. The chi in everyone reminded me a lot of the holy spirt. In christianity the holy spirit is like a conscience and helps make your decisions, but also is part of your being, kind of like part of your spirit or destiny. Both have physical symbols of their God. I think that Achebe was trying to prove a point that the Ibo religion was very civilized and similar to christian religion, maybe even so much that they never even really needed to be converted.