Ifa and Christianity

Procession for Iemanjá with followers of religions of African origin

Some people who convert to Ifa from Christianity wonder if it is okay to practice Ifa and Christianity together. While there is no hard and fast rule as to whether such a practice is acceptable or not, there are a few things you should consider before making such a decision.

The Ifa religion is a tradition practiced in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. It is one of the oldest religions in Africa. The word Ifa is sometimes translated as “knowledge of destiny” or “divination.”

Ifa was created by Orunmila, the oracle of wisdom and divination. He created it to help people better understand themselves and their future. Ifa devotees believe in many gods and goddesses with different powers and responsibilities. Priests and priestesses help people communicate with these gods through prayers, rituals, chants, dances, sacrifices, etc.

WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY?

Christianity is a monotheistic religion founded by Jesus of Nazareth. It focuses on the teachings and life of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity, who died for our sins and was resurrected from death, thereby providing us with eternal life. The Christian faith has significantly impacted Western culture, particularly in Europe, where it has played a significant role in shaping Western civilization.

HOW ARE IFA AND CHRISTIANITY SIMILAR?

The similarities between Ifa and Christianity are that they both believe in one God, Heaven, and the concept of evil. There are also intertwined beliefs in lesser deities or spirits referred to as Orishas in Ifa and angels in Christianity. Both religions adhere to strict moral codes and dietary laws. However, dietary laws in Christianity apply to all believers, while dietary restrictions are primarily based on individual or communal taboos in Ifa.

HOW ARE IFA AND CHRISTIANITY DIFFERENT?

Sacrifice is a vital part of the Ifa religion. Without it, there would be no rebirth, cleansing, or shedding of the old ways. Sacrifices are offered to the orishas (deities) to bring wealth and prosperity, health, fertility, and good fortune to adherents. The central sacrifice in Ifa is through animal bloodshed. However, offerings of plants and other natural materials are also given in ritual ceremonies.

Divination is also known as one of the critical components of the Ifa tradition. In this religion, divination plays a vital role in everything from healing to finding love. Diviners are specially trained professionals who commune with various aspects of the spiritual realm. The science of Ifa divination is fundamentally based on mathematics and patterns found in nature, while the art includes stories, proverbs, and parables.

Christianity is a monotheistic faith based on Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. In Christianity, Jesus is the only intermediary between god and humans. Though throughout Christian history, there have been many debates about the role of Jesus as an intermediary between god and humans. Some Christians believe that Jesus is the only one who can mediate between god and man, while others believe that he is just one of the many worthy mediators.

Overall, Christianity rejects the worship or veneration of other gods or deities. Animal sacrifice is no longer necessary in many Christian circles due to Jesus’ sacrifice. The practice has largely died out in most countries due to European influences.

Necromancy and other forms of divination are strictly forbidden in Christianity. Christians believe that the process of divination is a form of witchcraft. In fact, the Bible even condemns it as one of the practices of ancient Israel’s false prophets (Ezekiel 13:6-17). While necromancy and other forms of divination are not talked about in great detail in scripture, there are several verses condemning them.

CAN YOU PRACTICE THEM TOGETHER?

The answer is yes. It is possible to practice both Christianity and Ifa together because they have many similarities. In fact, many people have found that practicing both of these religions together has helped them grow spiritually and develop their connection to the divine.

However, incorporation both system can also lead to confusion and problems when not properly reconciled. So, there are things you should consider before integrating the two.

Synchronicities

It is well-known that many people practice Christianity and Hoodoo. Many adherents have found that practicing these religions together has helped them grow spiritually, develop their connection with the divine, and feel more fulfilled in their spiritual journey.

Hoodoo is a form of folk magic derived from African Americans in the southern United States. This practice can be traced back to the West African tradition of Vodun, which shares many aspects of Ifa. Hoodoo uses an assortment of spells and charms activated by Biblical scriptures and Christian prayers.

However, Hoodoo is not connected to Orishas or deities in the same way as the Ifa religion and other diasporic traditions. Hoodoo comes from various traditions that make up this distinct African-American spiritual practice.

Though spellbinding is against the Christian faith, Hoodoo practitioners reconcile their beliefs in various ways. Hoodoo rituals center around Christian concepts and ideas, but practitioners use these principles to create and cast spells. In fact, the Bible is a primary source of conjure in Hoodoo folk magic.

Hoodoo practitioners simply reconciled and synchronized their beliefs with Christianity, which proves that it is possible to integrate an African traditional religion with Christianity. Thus, it is possible to practice African spirituality with Christianity in this regard.

Contradictions

However, the lines between Ifa and Christianity are not as easily blurred. Practicing Christianity and Ifa at the same time can be conflicting and confusing. Some people recommend that you only practice one religion at a time. It is difficult to determine which practice should be prioritized when combining two religions. And the Bible teaches that you can’t serve two masters.

Many people are interested in combining their religion with other religions to get the best of both worlds. Some find certain rituals meaningful from both faiths, but they may contradict one another. This dichotomy can result in confusion and frustration for the average person – not to mention ostracization from their spiritual communities.

Some people recommend that you only practice one religion at a time, but others say practicing two or more systems is fine in moderation. The choice is ultimately up to you. It is always best to do what gives you the most spiritual fulfillment.

Learn more about African spirituality in this episode of the African Spirit Reintegrated + Reimagined: