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Cultural Taboos And Divine Reality

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By AMBROSE .0. EKHOSUEHI (Last update 25/09/2019)

Taboo is a word derived from Polynesian word ‘tabu’ meaning tied. It refers to any ritual prohibition to which an automatic sanction is attached. Taboo’— tabu is a system of prohibitions connected with things considered holy or unclean. Interdict, restraint, ban, exclusion, Ostracism, to forbid, approach to or use of anything Place under taboo.

Taboos exploit an innate, irrational fear in the human psyche and are used to inculcate practical attitude for religious respect, human precaution through dramatic symbolism. One should beware of imputing latent, rational functions to taboos.

Taboos are often associated with totems, which is the emblem of a clan or other ethnic grouping. Birds, animals, trees, plants, fish, reptiles can be totems. The taboo is often a food avoidance.

Divine reality or the object of religious faith is imaged in accordance with experience as mediated by culture. Few people refuse to image divine reality or even affirm the existence, other than by implication.

Those that image divine reality positively can be classified as cosmic consciousness unknown God is image in created nature such as in the form of traditional ethnic religion, the closeness in separation of God and humanity expressed through doctrines of incarnation, and the non- duality of the real which is expressed in the doctrine of the world is in God, or the world is God.

This form of religious spectrum runs from theism to deism, which is when divine reality is thought to have an effective and direct influence on human life and a concept of the divine that is devoid of religious reality.
These two concepts correspond to the distinction between faith and belief, imagination and reason.

Divine reality may be imaged as a person, being invoked. It may be seen as transpersonal, that is more than personal or extending into the impersonal , for instance, into masks, medicine bundles, Rain, Frond garland and so forth or a system in which divine reality is imaged as a multiplicity of spirits or as a belief in an impersonal force. Such as vital force.

In fact, divine reality in ethnic religion usually includes the concept of a supreme being, who interacts with, or communicate life to human beings through mediators.

Living beings are endowed with force as an overflowing quality frequently imaged in the dual symbolism of sky and earth. Sky symbols of divine reality include, sun, wind, lightning, thunder, cloud or constellations-moon, stars.
Earth symbolism includes mountains, hills, rivers, trees etc, but ethnic theologies may emphasize one rather than the other or else constitute a bisexual combination.

Divine reality is mediated by other spiritual powers however, mediator, has often been wrongly seen as a barrier to human
— divine communication.

Ethnic religion, like all religion, has to determine the causes of evil, the purpose of evil and the relationship between physical and moral evil.

There is a variety of positions with regard to the causes of evil. It is a punishment for moral evil, and for the innocent it is a trial of virtue. It is a purification.

It is a share in redemption achieved through suffering.

On the relationship between physical and moral evil, there are several possible position.

Some direct link for physical violence, dissipation, passions, moral irresponsibility. THEORIES of divine punishment has an indirect link as human wickedness contributes to social sin, symbolized by physical evil.
Sin is regarded as an undesirable interior state which people want to get rid of, even if the fear of punishment is what makes them conscious of their guilt.

Also sin is an attack on a divinely ordered world that offends society, breaking relations with the spiritual guardians of the society.

In this respect, committing a sin differs from breaking a taboo may be a foolish act, but not necessarily sinful.
In some tradition the words for “Sin” and ‘shame’ are interchangeable “Ekhue I mu 0 mwaorukho, vbe me 0 mui Oten Onren”. A sinful person is not as shameful comparable to his/her relation; and has led to the charge of certain tradition that people, who belong to them, do not internalize their guilt.

Infact, the recognition of guilt co-exists with a sense of collective responsibility of social sin and shame before oneself and others. It is also true that consciousness of sin is often expressed through the sacred self which makes the individual appear as passive object of an external agency.

Natural signs are signs are everything that exists in a sign of itself, for instance, the properties of objects are signs of their presence and nature, as smoke is a sign of fire.

Conventional signs are signs invented arbitrarily by human beings and may be appropriateness between sign and signification, as black in certain culture signifies African people and rich earth respectively

Symbols by itself are natural signs which yield an additional conventional meaning, placed in a given existential context.

They enlarge reality by communicating a farther range of meaning and do this, because they participate in the reality to which they refer.

Symbols are multivocal because they evoke a multiple experience and make the real more real.
Palm fronds, the leaf of a palm tree in sacred art is a symbol of victory, triumph borne in token of rejoicing or of victory, but the straddle frond combat evil, the smell of which drives evils.

The characteristic of palm frond tied to combat evils has symbolic relationship which the tree bear to spiritual forces, expresses sacredness in various culture and have played a central role in people’s lives, an act of protection from espionage seen and Unseen, based strongly on an instinct as the belief in luck and ill luck, obviously have some basis in reality.

Progress is the rules that govern the behaviour of people in a community and forbids certain actions that injure other people and lay down regulations for setting various kinds of behaviour and manner that could be treated visually while the invisible would be handled by the unseen spirits.

Therefore taboos exploit an innate fear in the human psyche to image divine reality. Even to affirm the existence, other than by implication of the taboos exploit.

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