African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187


The interface between Igbo traditional religion and christianity

Nwuba Sr. MaryKristel Grace Chinyere
  • Nwuba Sr. MaryKristel Grace Chinyere
  • Theology Department, School of Liberal Art, Duquesne University Pittsburgh, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 03 July 2020
  •  Accepted: 07 December 2020
  •  Published: 31 January 2021


The first encounter of Igbo Traditional Religion with Christianity and Western culture was marked by antagonism and the rejection of Igbo traditional belief as “pagan” and “devilish.” A decisive overview by some scholars on belief and worship systems shows that Igbo traditional religion has components of monotheism, polytheism and pantheism. However, Igbo traditional religion proved resilient, even while Christianity grew rapidly in Igbo cosmology. This paper assesses the encounter between Christianity and Igbo traditional religion. It studies emergent issues in a dialogue between them. First, it asks questions like: Was there a notion or worship of the true God in Igbo-land before the arrival of Christianity? If so, who or what was this God (Chi/Chi-Ukwu/Chukwu) and what notion do people have about Christian God? How does the Igbo belief in God, the spirit world and the ancestors? The human relationship to these should be compared to the Christian faith. Contrary to antagonism and rejection that marked the first encounter between Christianity and Igbo traditional belief, this study argues for a relationship that needs to be identified with communal reverence, comprehension, acceptance, and some level of free will, emancipation and authenticity in this postcolonial era.


Key words: Traditional religion, believe and worship of God, Christianity, salvation and dialogue.