Rastafarian Religion Essay

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Rastafarian Religion When most people hear the word “Rastafarian” or “Rasta” or anything dealing with Jamaica, they think of dreadlocks, smoking marijuana and reggae music, or they ask, “What’s that,” but what most people don’t realize is that it is more than a religion, it is a way of life: with it’s own beliefs, concepts, and ideology. I will talk about Rastafarian religion and how it got started, what they believe in, and the look and sound of the culture, and how they influence others. Compared to other religions like Catholicism or Buddhism, Rastafarians do not have a governing body telling them what to do, like the Pope for Catholics and the Dali Lama to Buddhists. They have spiritual guides that manifest themselves such as Marcus Garvey, who was an influential black spokesman and founder of the “back-to-Africa” movement. He proclaimed one day to, “Look to Africa for the crowning of a black king, he shall be the redeemer” (The Rastafarians: Sounds of Cultural Dissonance). A few years later after Garvey’s prediction a man named Ras Tafari Makonnen (this is where Rastafarian comes from) was crowned king of Ethiopia and took the name Haile Selassie meaning, “Power of the Trinity” on November 2, 1930. At his coronation he took up the titles, “The King of kings” and “Lord of lords” and “the conquering lion of Judah.” Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie was the incarnation of Jah (God) on earth and is the second spiritual guide to lead them. Though Selassie eventually died, Rastas still believe that he is alive in “perfect” skin leading them. The Rastafarian religion was first set up to empower the black people of Jamaica in a time of strife and poverty. They set up rules or doctrines to lead them away from the oppressors that they refer to as Babylon and follow the path to freedom back to Ethiopia or as they refer to it as Zion. There are 6 doctrines
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