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Subject: "Ubuntu: An African Assessment of the Religious Other" This topic is locked.
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Mon Apr-07-03 03:31 PM

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"Ubuntu: An African Assessment of the Religious Other"



I found this to be a very interesting and insightful article. I decided to post the article in parts along with a small glossary at the end as this article tends to NOT be on the layside and is more written for scholars in the field than anyone else. I do want to point out is the author's use of "African" in this paper. He uses it as a representative term for a myriad of Afrikan groups. However, it is obvious that the these groups are all apart of the greater Bantu linguistic family who populate Southern, Central,and parts of Easten and Western Afrika. I can only recall him referring to the Zulus specifically and South Afrikans broadly.

Introduction: A decolonized assessment

The decolonization of Africa, of which the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa is a recent example, led to a greater recognition of the wide variety of religions practising on its soil. When confronted with this plurality, and the corresponding plurality of claims to truth or credibility, believers usually resort to either absolutism or relativism. The absolutist evaluates the religious other in view of criteria which violate the self-understanding of the latter. The religious other is thus being colonized by a hegemony (i.e. an enforced homogeneity) of norms and values. In an attempt to transcend this hegemonic colonization, the relativist, on the other hand, simply surrenders the evaluation of beliefs and practices to subjective arbitrariness.

This paper deals with an assessment of the faith of others which transcends absolutism without resorting to relativism. More specifically, it aims to show that an African philosophy and way of life called "Ubuntu" (humanness) significantly overlaps with such a "decolonized" assessment of the religious other, and that this assessment can therefore also be explained, motivated or underscored with reference to the concept of Ubuntu. Much can and has already been said about the presuppositions and requirements of such an assessment. However, for the purposes of this paper I would like to concentrate on only three of these, viz.: (1) a respect for the other as a religious other; (2) an agreement on criteria, i.e. a common scale in view of which the adherents of different religious traditions may jointly judge these traditions; and (3) an interreligious dialogue or "mutual exposure" (cf. Taylor, 1985:125) of beliefs, which as such respects the particularity, individuality and historicality of these beliefs, and from which this common scale will emerge (if at all). I shall now briefly turn to each of these requirements and the way in which they are met by Ubuntu.

"the real pyramids were built with such precision that you can't slide a piece of paper between two 4,000 lb stones, and have shafts perfectly aligned so that you can see a tiny aperture through dozens of these mammoth blocks


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Ubuntu: An African Assessment of the Religious Other [View all] , Solarus, Mon Apr-07-03 03:31 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
Ubuntu and religion
Apr 07th 2003
He's out from the void
Apr 08th 2003
Ubuntu and consensus
Apr 07th 2003
This is VERY potent
Apr 08th 2003
Ubuntu and dialogue: particularity
Apr 07th 2003
Ubuntu and dialogue: individuality
Apr 07th 2003
some thoughts... i don't understand 'cartesian' in
Apr 08th 2003
the elements and connections model can be seen
Apr 08th 2003
Solarur :individuality
Apr 09th 2003
      The Difference
Apr 10th 2003
           RE: The Difference
Apr 10th 2003
Ubuntu and dialogue: historicality
Apr 09th 2003
Glossary of Terms
Apr 07th 2003
Beautiful Post
Apr 08th 2003
I'll reply shortly
Apr 08th 2003
I think we should
May 01st 2003
excellent point (re: "who your people")
Apr 08th 2003
been thinking about the concepts...
Apr 08th 2003
been thinking about the concepts too...
Apr 11th 2003
RE: been thinking about the concepts...
Apr 11th 2003
it's been so long since u posted
Apr 08th 2003
had to print it out
Apr 14th 2003
      still haven't read, so ^
Apr 24th 2003
Apr 30th 2003
Conclusion: The uniqueness of Ubuntu
Apr 09th 2003
i really
Apr 11th 2003
Apr 14th 2003
Um, unless I missed it...
Apr 24th 2003
Apr 23rd 2003
up again
Apr 25th 2003
up...please archive. n/m
May 05th 2003

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