Ethical Guidelines for Sacrifice in African Traditional Religion: A Social Cultural Approach (Published)
The reality which religious thought expresses in the life of diverse religious adherents across the world cannot be over emphasized. For instance, sacrificial rite is one of the religious dimensions that occupies a unique place in every religious tradition. This paper therefore takes up the challenge to investigate, examine and re-appraise the concept of sacrifice in order to explicate its meaning, structure, religious connotation and symbolic dimension in human behavior essentially among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Besides, the intrinsic values of sacrifice are thereby underscored as it fastens unity among those who are involved; expressing gratitude to their spiritual beings; fulfilling a vow; establishing a communion between man and the spiritual beings; averting the anger of the divinities and spirits; warding off the attack and evil machinations of enemies; purifying a person or a community when a taboo has been broken or sin committed; preventing or expelling epidemics; and strengthening the worshippers against malign influences. Furthermore, ethical principles vis-a-vis guidelines in the performance of sacrifice are equally explored. More importantly, this paper indicates that the interconnectivity of the concepts of sacrificial rites and ethical dimensions often go together, but devoid to exist except in the social context.