Essay on Rastafari Religion

Submitted By drsjr99
Words: 3386
Pages: 14

Rastafari Religion

The religion I choose was Rastafari, it’s a religion I’m somewhat familiar with by personally knowing members of this religion, but I an unfamiliar to its teachings, origins, practices, and understandings. Through valid research I hope to be enlightened as well as educate the reader into the understandings of the Rastafari religion. My objective is to get a sound view into the life of the Rasta, and the Rastafarian culture.
Rastafarian is an afro-centric religious and social movement based in the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Stemming from the roots of Rastafarian in rising against the post-colonial oppression of poor blacks, Rasta’s typically come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Especially difficult economic hardships in Jamaica saw a distinctive rise in the movement’s following. At the time of Jamaica’s independence in the 1960’s, virtually all Rastafarians were members of the 79 percent of the population classified as lower class (Waters, 50). In the past few decades, however, especially through the influence of Reggae music, the movement has gained a more international and cosmopolitan following.
Rastafarian is an Abrahamic religious movement that accepts Haile Selassie I, the Ethiopian emperor from 1930 to 1974 as God incarnate and the Messiah who will deliver believers to the Promised Land, identified by Rasta’s as Ethiopia. It has its roots in black-empowerment and back-to-Africa movements. It originated in Jamaica and its followers continue to be concentrated there, although smaller populations of Rasta’s can be found in many countries today. Rastafari hold to many Jewish and Christian beliefs. Rastas accept the existence of a single triune god, called Jam, who has incarnated on earth several times, including in the form of Jesus. They accept much of the Bible, although they believe that its message has been corrupted over time by Babylon, which is commonly identified with Western, white culture. Specifically, they accept the prophecies in the Book of Revelations concerning the second coming of the Messiah, which they believe has already occurred in the form of Selassie. Before his coronation, Selassie was known as Raps Tamari Malone, from which the movement takes its name.
Haile Selassie
(23 July 1892 – 27 August 1975), born Ras Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history. At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the Second Italy–Ethiopian War. His internationalist views led to Ethiopia's becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring. His suppression of rebellions among the nobles, as well as what some western critics perceived to be Ethiopia's failure to modernize adequately, earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians. He has also received criticism from groups such as Human Rights Watch for allegedly ruling in a repressive and undemocratic manner.
Among the Rastafarian movement, whose followers are estimated at between 200,000 and 800,000, Haile Selassie is revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate. Beginning in Jamaica in the 1930s, the Rastafarian movement perceives Haile Selassie as a messianic figure who will lead a future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity. Haile Selassie was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.
As an incarnation of Jah, Selassie I is both God and king to Rasta’s. While Selassie officially died in 1975, many Rasta’s do not believe that Jah can die and thus