Thinking Globally about African Religion

Jacob K. Olupona

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Thinking Globally about African Religion


The global dimensions of African religion sweep across the plains of the African continent and into the African diaspora. Contemporary “African religion” is itself a product of globalization, for it is less a single tradition than a sociological context in which the elements of a variety of indigenous religious experiences are combined with Islam and Christianity. New religious structures reflect emerging values and the adoption of new practices in a changing social context. In the case of the African religions, this process reflects a growing pluralism among religious institutions in Africa. There are independent churches in Africa, including the Celestial Church of Christ, the Christ Apostolic Church, and Cherubim and Seraphim in West Africa; Zulu Zionist churches in South Africa; and the Simon Kimbanque Church in Zaire. This article also discusses Pentecostal or charismatic churches, mainline mission churches, indigenous traditions and faiths, and civil religion in Africa.

Keywords: Africa; globalization; Islam; Christianity; independent churches; pluralism; charismatic churches; mission churches; indigenous traditions; civil religion

Article.  3018 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations

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