African religions

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African religions

African traditional religion, otherwise referred to as African indigenous religion, encompasses cultural, religious, and spiritual manifestations indigenous to the continent of Africa. There is a multitude of religions within this category. Traditional African religions involve teachings, practices, and rituals that lend structure to African native societies. Traditional African societies reflect local conceptions of God(s) and the cosmos. Even within a single community there may be slightly different perceptions of the supernatural.

African traditionalists almost always acknowledge the existence of a high God or demiurge who created the universe (Ifa, Olorun, etc). Many traditional African stories speak of how God or God's son once lived among the people, but, when humans did something to give offense to God, the divine withdrew to the heavens.

African religious traditions are defined largely along tribal and ethnic lines, with the West African Yoruba religion being the most influential. "African Traditional & Diasporic" is a "major religious group", estimating some 100 million adherents. They justify this combined listing of traditional African and African diasporic religions, and the separation from the generic "primal-indigenous" category by pointing out that the "primal-indigenous" religions are primarily tribal and composed of pre-technological peoples. While there is certainly overlap between this category and non-African primal- indigenous religious adherents, there are reasons for separating the two, best illustrated by focusing specifically on Yoruba, which is probably the largest African traditional religious/tribal complex. Yoruba was the religion of the vast Yoruba nation states which existed before European colonialism and its practitioners today; certainly those in the caribbean, South America and the U.S.; are integrated into a technological, industrial society, yet still proclaim affiliation to this African-based religious system. Cohesive rituals, beliefs and organization were spread throughout the world of Yoruba (and other major African religious/tribal groups such as Fon), to an extent characteristic of nations and many organized religions, not simply tribes. (Major Religions Ranked by Size)

Practitioners of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries, and are estimated to number about 70 million, or 12% of African population,
while the largest religions in Africa are Christianity and Islam, accounting for 45% and x0%, respectively. As everywhere, adherence to an organized religion does not preclude a residue of folk religion in which traditions predating Christianization or Islamisation survive.

 

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By Maximiliano Rizzi
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine scientists have found a way to transform the gas created by the bovine digestive system into fuel, an innovation that could curb greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
Using a system of valves and pumps, the experimental technique developed by Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) channels the digestive gases from bovine stomach cavities through a tube and into a tank.
The gases - which otherwise are commonly known as burps, or "eruptos" in Spanish - are then processed to separate methane from other gases such as carbon dioxide.
Methane is the main component of natural gas, used to fuel everything from cars to power plants.
"Once you get it compressed, it's the same as having natural gas," said Guillermo Berra, head of INTA's animal physiology group.
"As an energy source it is not very practical at the moment, but if you look ahead to 2050, when fossil fuel reserves are going to be in trouble, it is an alternative," he told Reuters.
Each head of cattle emits between 250 and 300 liters of pure methane a day, enough energy to keep a refrigerator running for 24 hours.
Argentina is one of the world's top beef exporters, with around 51 million heads of cattle. Gases emitted from those animals account for 30 percent of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions, according to INTA, with methane having 23 times the global warming effect as carbon dioxide.
"This is also a way to mitigate that," Berra said.
(Writing by Asher Levine and Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Leslie Adler)