Igbo And Western Religion In Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Religion is often a means through which humans attempt to make sense of their place in the vast universe; however, this interpretation varies between belief systems and cultures. While many citizens of those countries that are considered “rich” or “developed”—usually Europe and parts of the Americas—(hereinafter “Western” countries) are relatively familiar with the religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—including non-practitioners thereof—the traditional religions of African cultures can seem unusual and foreign to Westerners discovering them for the first time. This is particularly true of readers of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the beginning of which describes in great detail the organization, traditions, and religion of the Nigerian Igbo culture around the turn of the twentieth century. The Igbo religion is polytheistic and is centered around nature, with the earth goddess being the most important, influential, and powerful deity in the belief system. While the Igbo religion’s polytheism and focus on the natural may seem highly dissimilar to the monotheistic belief systems prominent in the United States, both types of religion seek the same goal: to foster spiritual connections and pursue understanding of one’s place in the world. The differences between the Igbo and Western belief systems are immediately obvious to the reader of Things Fall Apart, and the former can seem strange to those who have been exposed only to Western religions. In many ways, Western

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