Black Spirituality Religion : Finding God in Nature

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Onyemobi, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Onyemobi

    Onyemobi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    by Onyemobi

    "To understand the nature of God, look for God in nature" - Onyemobi

    Every week, billions of people all around the world attend religious ceremonies in their respective buildings. Muslims go to their mosques, Christians go to their churches, Jews to their synagogues, Hindus to their Mandirs, and so on and so on.

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    National Mosque of Nigeria


    Believers of these different faiths gather for prayer and worship, fellowship with fellow believers, and to get a chance to hear text that they consider to be the "Word of God". These sites are considered to be sacred places. They often are seen as the literal house of the God or gods which they are dedicated to.

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    Hindu temple in Delhi​


    Within these structures, elaborate murals, shrines, scultpures are put up to represent different gods, angels, and saints. Followers of these faiths will often go to these places to speak to these representations in hopes of getting them to intercede in their lives.

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    Statue of St. Peter​


    Within these "Houses of God", people will hear stories about the divine revelations and experiences of their prophets, saints, and holy men and women. But the most ironic thing about these stories is that most of the people described in them did not have their spiritual awakenings, revelations or experiences in a temple or building of any kind. In fact, most of them had their spiritual experiences in nature. Don't believe me? Consider the following examples:

    Moses

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    Moses experiences God through a burning bush​


    Considered to be the most important prophet in Judaism, Moses had his first experience when he heard a voice speaking to him through a bush that was on fire, yet was not burning. His second divine revelation from God came to him on a mountaintop.

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    Moses receives the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai​


    Gautama Buddha

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    Buddha under Bodhi tree​


    After trying different paths to find an end to human suffering, Siddhārtha Gautama decided to meditate under a Bodhi tree. After 49 days of non stop meditation, he reached Enlightenment, and became a Buddha, which means an "Awakened One." Those that follow his teachings today call themselves Buddhists.

    Jesus Christ

    The man known as Jesus Christ is said to have begun his ministry when the spirit of God descended upon him during a baptism ritual performed by John the Baptist at the river Jordan. He then spent the next forty days and forty nights fasting and praying, not in a temple, not in a synagogue, but in the wilderness.

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    Jesus in the wilderness​


    According to the scriptures, he remained in the wilderness throughout his ministry, and did the vast majority of his preaching in nature, including the famous sermon on the mount.

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    Sermon on the Mount​


    Prophet Muhammad

    "When Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] was nearly forty, he had been wont to pass long hours in retirement meditating and speculating over all aspects of creation around him. This meditative temperament helped to widen the mental gap between him and his compatriots. He used to provide himself with Sawiq (barley porridge) and water and then directly head for the hills and ravines in the neighbourhood of Makkah. One of these in particular was his favourite resort — a cave named Hira’, in the Mount An-Nour. It was only two miles from Makkah, a small cave 4 yards long and 1.75 yard wide. He would always go there and invite wayfarers to share him his modest provision. He used to devote most of his time, and Ramadan in particular, to worship and meditation on the universe around him." [Rahmat Al-lil'alameen 1/47; Ibn Hisham 1/235,236; Fi Zilal Al-Qur'an 29/166]

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    Cave in Hira where the Prophet Muhammad received the Koran​


    "When he was forty, the age of complete perfection at which Prophets were always ordered to disclose their Message, signs of his Prophethood started to appear and twinkle on the horizons of life; they were the true visions he used to experience for six months. The period of Prophethood was 23 years; so the period of these six months of true visions constituted an integral part of the forty-six parts of Prophethood. In Ramadan, in his third year of solitude in the cave of Hira’, Allâh’s Will desired His mercy to flow on earth and Muhammad [pbuh] was honoured with Prophethood, and the light of Revelation burst upon him with some verses of the Noble Qur’ân." [Fath Al-Bari 1/27]

    So here you have the founders of four of the major religions in the world receiving divine revelation in nature, and yet today, their followers are literally stick themselves inside in large boxes of sticks, stones, glass and metal. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

    Its not only religious people that have become delusional, its also people who proclaim to be scientists as well. Ancient scientists used to learn about nature by actually being a part of it. Sitting around watching the heavenly bodies in the sky, and seeing how different things interacted in nature. Nowadays, they are stuck behind computer screens or locked away in laboratories. The interesting thing is that most of their "theories" and "laws" stem from people like Sir Issac Newton, who "discovered" gravity after an apple fell on his head while he was sitting under a tree. I guess you can call him the Buddha of Physics.

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    Ndi Igbo (Igbo people), much like other African peoples, did not limit God to a physical structure or even one piece of land. They recognized the Divine in all of nature. I recall hearing a story about how when some of the European missionaries came to Alaigbo (Igboland), they had requested some land to build "God's house", to the amusement of the Igbo elders that they had spoken to. These same Europeans who claimed that their God was omnipresent truly did not believe it, for if they had, they would not have condemned the Igbo traditions which truly placed God in everything.

    Contrary to popular belief, Igbos DID NOT worship or pray to "idols" or wooden sculptures. The idea of Africans worshiping or praying to an object that they created is downright insulting. The ironic thing is that the people who perpetuate this myth spend a good amount of time doing the same thing that they have historically condemned others for:

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    Offerings to a Statue of Mother Mary​


    Instead of worship, Igbos entered into communion with Spirit. Divine experiences were not limited to special prophets or holy men or saints, but could be had by everyone. The vast majority of places for public communion in traditional Igbo Omenala (custom and tradition) were either at trees or groves of trees. These trees were representations of divine forces, but were not the divine forces themselves. The following are some examples:

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    Agwu deity represented by Ogilishi tree​


    [​IMG]
    Ngwu deity represented by Ngwu tree​


    Both examples taken from Ngü Arö Öka The Öka Lunar Calendar, 2010 -2021 by Nevbechi Emma Anizoba.

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    The pouring of libation at the shrine of Onye ama-ama in Amaeke​


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    Sacred Grove of Ihu Nne Chukwu at Obiene​


    The use of trees as connections to the spirit world is illustrated beautifully in the "Tree of Souls" in the film, Avatar, where the Na'vi would go there in order to commune with the spirit of their planet, Eywa.

    [​IMG]
    Tree of Souls in Avatar​


    This use of trees as places of communion with Spirit carried onto the Diaspora. Ayiti (Haiti) was one place where alot of Igbos ended up during the Maafa (African Hellacaust). Here we see a picture of Haitian Vodouisants (Practioners of Voodoo) having a ceremony at a sacred Mapou tree:

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    Voodoo Ritual at Mapou Tree​


    Two hundred years ago, their ancestors gathered together in a sacred grove in the Bwa Kayiman woods and declared that they would no longer be enslaved by the white people or their god.

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    Voodoo Ritual at Bwa Kayiman Woods​


    Even in North America, the significance of trees as sacred communal places has not dissappeared from the lives of Africans in America. Below are some pictures of the special trees of some of the black fraternities and sororities:

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    Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. Tree​


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    Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. Tree​


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    Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. Tree​


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    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Tree​


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    Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Tree​


    What's significant about the black fraternities and sororities in America is that they also trace part of their lineage to the Ekpe society of southeastern Nigeria, but that is a conversation for another day.

    Besides trees, caves also were used as sacred places. Two of the great oracles of Alaigbo (Igboland) were found in caves, including the Ibini Ukpabi oracle of Arochukwu (also known as the Long Juju) as well as the Agbala oracle of Awka. Below is a picture of a shrine in the Ibini Ukpabi cave:

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    Ibini Ukpabi Oracle​


    Of all, the most famous public places of African communion with Spirit have always been bodies of water. Rivers, lakes and streams have always been viewed as extremely sacred all over the continent, as evident by the number and popularity of water divinities (Yemaya, Oshun, Auset, Het-Heru, Nommo, Mami Wata, etc).

    Those who visited these sacred waters would go for spiritual cleansing, purification, and healing, to become one with Spirit, for initiations and for a variety of other reasons. Water is perhaps the easiest medium to go into a state of trance , in order to connect with Spirit as well as ancestors. If you want to learn how to connect with Ezenwanyi, the Divine Igbo mother water goddess, click here. Below is a picture of a Voodoo bathing ritual in Haiti:

    [​IMG]
    Voodoo Bathing Ritual​


    I hope you have enjoyed all this information that has been presented to you. If you want to get a deeper understanding of the concepts mentioned above, the most effective way for you to do that would be to simply go outside. Whether you go a park, or a stream or even your backyard, you will gain a far deeper insight into what God is from simply getting back to Nature and being still then you would from reading any book or blog. Yagazie (May we prosper).

    http://odinanilawsofnature.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/finding-god-in-nature/
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Modupe Onyemobi

    What an awsome thread!
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    How Great Thou Art (Second Stanza)

    When through the woods and forest glades I wander
    And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
    When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
    And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;
    Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great Thou art!
    How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee;
    How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

    Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Second Stanza)

    Summer and winter, and spring-time and harvest,
    Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
    Join with all nature in manifold witness
    To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
    Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
    Morning by morning new mercies I see;
    All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
    Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

    ...
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Nature's Part in God's Perfect Plan (Psalm 19; Romans 8:18-25; Isaiah 65:17-25)

    ....
    God Created Nature
    The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the rivers (Psalm 24:1-2).

    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6-9).
    The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; The world and all it contains, Thou hast founded them (Psalm 89:11).

    For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).

    “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11).48

    One of the Bible’s very prominent themes is that of God as Creator. As Creator, God possesses the heavens and the earth,49 and He has the right to do with them as He pleases. In the Old Testament prophets, especially Isaiah, God often reminds those to whom He is speaking that He is their Creator.50 Many statements and promises are based on the truth that God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

    God Sustains
    and Controls His Creation

    Thou dost visit the earth, and cause it to overflow; Thou dost greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; Thou dost prepare their grain, for thus Thou dost prepare the earth. Thou dost water its furrows abundantly; Thou dost settle its ridges; Thou dost soften it with showers; Thou dost bless its growth. Thou hast crowned the year with Thy bounty, And Thy paths drip with fatness. The pastures of the wilderness drip, And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing. The meadows are clothed with flocks, And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing (Psalm 65:9-13).

    Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises to our God on the lyre, Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens which cry. . . Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your sons within you. He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat. He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly. He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes. He casts forth His ice as fragments; Who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow (Psalm 147:7-9, 12-18).

    When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses (Jeremiah 10:13).

    Nature is not independent of its Creator. Every day, creation must look to Him for His provisions: The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God. When the sun rises they withdraw, and lie down in their dens. Man goes forth to his work And to his labor until evening. O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all; The earth is full of Thy possessions. There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great. There the ships move along, And Leviathan, which Thou hast formed to sport in it. They all wait for Thee, To give them their food in due season. Thou dost give to them, they gather it up; Thou dost open Thy hand, they are satisfied with good. Thou dost hide Thy face, they are dismayed; Thou dost take away their spirit, they expire, And return to their dust. Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit, they are created; And Thou dost renew the face of the ground (Psalm 104:21-30).

    God Employs Nature as His
    Servant to Achieve His Purposes

    The Bible always represents nature as under God’s control. The forces of nature are at His disposal, carrying out His purposes. While Job’s friend, Elihu, may have been wrong in his application of truth, he understood God to be in complete control of nature, His servant:

    Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice; And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend. For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work. Then the beast goes into its lair, And remains in its den. Out of the south comes the storm, And out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, And the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. And it changes direction, turning around by His guidance, That it may do whatever He commands it On the face of the inhabited earth. Whether for correction, or for His world, Or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen (Job 37:2-13).51

    Nature is one Form of Divine Revelation
    Creation Teaches us About God
    ....


    http://bible.org/seriespage/natures-part-gods-perfect-plan-psalm-19-romans-818-25-isaiah-6517-25
     
  5. Angela22

    Angela22 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That people go to buildings thinking the Father would be housed inside them isn't how He wants us to perceive. No building built by the hands of can contain the Great Glory, for even the Heavens themselves aren't great enough.

    I do believe people should be open to knowing the Father will come to you as He will and when He will, and not at times we set on days we choose, such as in the morning on Sunday alone. If we are open to the Father and the Son at all times, as humble and holy servants of the KING, we can only expect great things to come upon us. The One who sacrificed for us, the Holy Son, certainly promised the Comforter, and when we be obedient, the Comforter does not fail.
     
  6. LMagere

    LMagere Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This sounds like the god of Spinoza, and while I appreciate nature I see no evidence of god. The conversation on god goes nowhere without an agreed upon definition of what god is.
     
  7. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

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    are you saying that because you don't see/recognize/experience God in nature, that others do not also?
     
  8. LMagere

    LMagere Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I say we first have to come to some agreement of what god is and is not before we can comment on each others observations. Currently I have as much to say about god in nature, as I do about a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow. My current definition of what god is has yielded no evidence of god existence.
     
  9. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

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    Peace LMagere,

    so why are you in the spirituality/religion section.. in the "finding god in nature" thread?
    If you disagree with the premise, why bother? Why not seek out resonance instead of conflict?.. why not be constructive?

    Those are all rhetorical questions by the way..

    and listen.. you will never find god in language and definitions. Man can only define what man has created. Recognize the limitations of language.. and then recognize the limitations of filtering your own perception exclusively through language.

    .. and welcome to Destee.com..
     
  10. LMagere

    LMagere Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I am genuinely interested in knowing and how we come to know. Spirituality and religion make calms about knowing. I don’t see any conflict with questioning how we come to know. This then is the perfect place to be if you are interested in knowing and want to know.
    Take your statement that I will never find god in language and definition. How do you come to know this is true and is your way of knowing reliable? These are all questions we can ask and test.

    Thank you for your warm welcome.
     
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