The Power Of Religion By Chinua Achebe

1171 Words5 Pages
The Power of Religion

A religion to some is the basic world views for a person, to some it is the basic behaviors and practices and to others it is an order of existence. Throughout history, the world has witnessed a religions power to guide a society, but many have also witnessed a religion destroy a society as well. Within the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the world witnesses many religions, for example the Ibo religion and Christianity. We are able to get a delightful insight on their ways of functioning and beliefs. For the durations of the book, we observe the destructive power of religion. Religion can absolutely destroy a society and break it into pieces because religion creates fear within the people who follow it,
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This fear does not allow people to do things they want and is against the basic fundaments of a healthy society. In a healthy society, people would be free to go outside during night and kids would be free to whistle. If these fears do not change, then the society will be destroyed because freedom is a basic necessity for a health society. Continuing on, another example of fear being fabricated in the minds of the people is during the appearance of the ancestral spirit, during the funeral of Ezeudu. The ancestral spirits have “a sickly odor hung in the air wherever he went, and flies went with him. Even the greatest medicine men took shelter, when he was near.” (122). The Ibo religion once again is able to fabricate fear into the minds of its followers. The religion places a fear of ancestral spirits thus making the society sacred of walking around during the appearance of spirits, which once again violates the freedom of the people. If a religion is implementing fear within the society, it is slowly killing itself because people deserve freedom. Fear leads to destruction. In addition, a religion can unquestionably destroy a society due to class divisions. Osu’s are the outcast of the Ibo religion. “An osu [can] not attend an assembly of the free-born and they, in turn, [can] not shelter under his roof” (156). With a religion like Ibo creating class divisions, it
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