IGBO CHRISTIANITY AT THE CROSSROADS: BETWEEN THE CONCEPTS OF CHI AND IMAGO DEI

Michael Muonwe

Abstract


To talk about Igbo Christianity is to talk about a Christianity that is realistically and uncompromisingly Igbo in its configuration, reflexivity, and practicality. This implies Igbo people becoming Christians in their uniqueness as Igbo. This article is a modest effort in that process of “becoming,” which is theologically termed inculturation. The article undertakes a theological elaboration of the Christian concept of imago Dei, which has played a key role in the traditional Christian anthropology for centuries. By bringing the fruits of the theological elaboration into dialogue with the Igbo concept of chi, which is central in Igbo traditional anthropology, the article is able to bring to spotlight the richness of these two concepts, and how they could enrich each other, as a way of enabling the process of “becoming.” It is discovered that both concepts, even though developed within two different religio-cultural traditions, bear some striking similarities that can help to promote common values held dear by both Christianity and Igbo culture. This is particularly true of the values of human dignity arising from our special connection to and relation with God, unity of the human race and communion among human beings, as well as equality of all.

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