Comparing Rastafari And Vodou

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Rastafari and Vodou are two major world religions that are both intertwined with a long history of oppression, persecution, and connection to the African people. While not as well known as the other more “traditional” religions like Christianity or Islam, Rastafari and Vodou are both religions with followers numbering in the millions. They have had extraordinary impact on the cultural and political scenes in their respective countries of origin. While not everyone agrees with the beliefs of these two religions, most people can agree that they are unique in their own right, and deserve to be studied and broken down in order to better understand the core of Rastafari as well as Vodou.
First I would like to give a little background knowledge
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Similar to how slavery played a very important role in the founding of Rastafari in Jamaica, Haiti was a country plagued by centuries of a complex slave trade with European oversight. White, Christian slave owners severely restricted the practice of any foreign African religion, and more or less forced their slaves to convert to Christianity. Unlike other religions that may have died out at this point, Vodou simply went underground, and essentially played the Europeans at their own game. Over the years of religious persecution that Vodou followers faced, they adapted and incorporated Christian ideals into their own hidden religion, allowing them to mask their true beliefs from their oppressors; this alone explains why such a large number of Haitians seem to practice both Vodou and Christianity concurrently. Even after Haitian slaves were freed by the French, Vodou still faced heavy opposition in their country, where the act of practicing Vodou was punishable. Haitian Vodou’s rich history is filled with persistence in the face of oppression, and has allowed it to become a very flexible religion that, although can change to adapt its environment, never loses its core …show more content…
Both Rastafari and Vodou grew out of an environment that heavily relied on the enslavement and trade of African people. They both also faced significant resistance from the governing and social establishment in their countries, who seem to be responsible for the well known stereotypes these religions often have to carry (Rastas are lazy, weed smoking people and the Vodun are strange mystics). One key difference that I noticed between the two is that Rastafari has more or less had a doctrine that most of its followers agree to be 100% true with no exception, while Vodou is more in the shadows about its beliefs, and it allows its followers to tailor the religion to their own needs in a non-selfish

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