The Rastafari movement _also known as Rastafarian or simply Rasta

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The Rastafari movement _also known as Rastafarian or simply Rasta Powered By Docstoc
					                                Awakening 5/10/09
                                   Rastafari Movement

                                         1. What is it
                                   2. What do they believe
                                      3. Bridges of faith

   Hope everyone had a good week.
   Riddle #1: When asked how old she was, Mary replied, "In two years I
      will be twice as old as I was five years ago." How old is she? (12)
   Riddle #2: What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in
      an hour? (the letter M)

    Today we are going to study a world faith movement called Rastafari.
    We will discuss the origin of the movement, The founder, The Savior, Their
       beliefs, History of the movement.
    All the information we discuss is research I have conducted and should be
       considered a complete understanding of the movement.
    Once we complete the study we’ll discuss bridges of faith.

What is it?
       Followers of the Rastafari movement (taken from Haile Selassie's pre-imperial
       name Ras — meaning Head - a title equivalent to Duke — Tafari Makonnen),
       which emerged in Jamaica during the 1930s under the influence of Marcus
       Garvey's "Pan Africanism" movement, and as the Messiah who will lead the
       peoples of Africa and the African diaspora to freedom.

Haile Selassie I
    born Tafari Makonnen, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of
       Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974.
       During his coronation, Selassie was given many of the same titles used in the
       Bible, such as "King of Kings," "Elect of God," and "Conquering Lion of the
       Tribe of Judah." This is one of the primary reasons he is held to be God incarnate.
    Of great importance is that Rastafari[3] do not accept that God could die and thus
       insist that Selassie's 1975 supposed death was a hoax, and that He is still here in
       the flesh and in the spirit and will return to liberate his followers and vanquish all
       Evil, Restoring His Creation.
    In the 10th century BC, the Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia is said to have been
       founded by Menelik I, the son of Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, who
       had visited Solomon in Israel. 1 Kings 10:13 claims "And King Solomon gave
       unto the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which
       Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own
       country, she and her servants." On the basis of the Ethiopian national epic, the
       Kebra Negast, Rastas interpret this verse as meaning she conceived his child, and
       from this, conclude that African people are among the true children of Israel, or
      Haile Selassie was the 225th in an unbroken line of Ethiopian monarchs who
       descended from the Biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.[citation needed]
      His internationalist views led to Ethiopia's becoming a charter member of the
       United Nations.
   He would later become Ras Tafari Makonnen; "Ras" translates literally to
     "head"[11] and is the equivalent of "duke",[12] though it is often rendered in
     translation as "prince". In 1928, he was elevated to Negus, "King".
   Upon his ascension to Emperor in 1930, he took the name Haile Selassie,
     meaning "Power of the Trinity".[13] Haile Selassie's full title in office was "His
     Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering
     Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Elect of God". This title reflects Ethiopian
     dynastic traditions, which hold that all monarchs must trace their lineage back to
     Menelik I, who in the Ethiopian tradition was the offspring of King Solomon and
     the Queen of Sheba.[14]
   The Rastafari employ many of these appellations, also referring to him as HIM,
     Jah and Jah Rastafari.


      Haile Selassie I was born Tafari Makonnen on 23 July 1892, in the village of
       Ejersa Goro.
      He secured Ethiopia's admission to the League of Nations in 1923 by promising to
       eradicate slavery; each emperor since Tewodros II had issued proclamations to
       halt slavery,[26] but without effect: the internationally-scorned practice persisted
       well into Haile Selassie's reign.
      The "Oriental Dignity" of the Ethiopians [32] and their "rich, picturesque court
       dress"[33] were sensationalized in the media; among his entourage he even
       included a pride of lions, which he distributed as gifts to President Poincaré of
       Introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931,
      The constitution limited the succession to the throne to the descendants of Haile
      When he could not defend Mussolini’s attack, he and his family left the country.
      He appointed someone else to rule in his place.
      He fought for not allowing chemical warfare, because of what the Italians did.
      His high profile and frequent travels around the world raised Ethiopia's
       international image.
      Famine in Ethiopia, is estimated to have killed 40,000 to 80,000 Ethiopians[7][89]
       between 1972-74.
      A low-ranking military officers and enlisted men, took advantage of the
       government's disarray to depose Haile Selassie on 12 September 1974.
      The last months of the Emperor's life were spent in imprisonment, in the Grand
      These killings of 60 of his officials and family members was known to Ethiopians
       as "Bloody Saturday
       Dies on 28 August 1975, the state media officially reported publicly that the "ex-
       monarch" Haile Selassie had died on 27 August of "respiratory failure" following
       complications from a prostate operation.
       In 1992, the Emperor's bones were found under a concrete slab on the palace
       grounds;[102] some reports suggest that his remains were discovered beneath a
    There remains some debate within the Rastafari movement as to whether Haile
       Selassie actually died in 1975.[106]
His statements of Faith:
    Following the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie joined his northern
       armies. He issued his famous mobilization order on 3 October 1935: , you will be
       rebuked for it by your Creator and will be cursed by your offspring
    On 19 October 1935, Haile Selassie gave more precise orders for his army to his
       Commander-in-Chief, Ras Kassa: When we return, with God's help, you can wear
       your gold and silver decorations then.
    When the struggle to resist Italy appeared doomed, Haile Selassie traveled to the
       rock-hewn churches of Lalibela for fasting and prayer.[55]
       Haile Selassie made a solitary pilgrimage to the churches at Lalibela, at
       considerable risk of capture, before returning to his capital.
    He admonished the League that "God and history will remember your judgment.”
    The speech made the Emperor an icon for anti-Fascists around the world, and
       Time Magazine named him "Man of the Year".[64] He failed, however, to get what
       he most needed: the League agreed to only partial and ineffective sanctions on
       Italy, and several members even recognized the Italian conquest.[49]
    He continued to plead for League intervention and to voice his certainty that
       "God's judgment will eventually visit the weak and the mighty alike",[67] though
       his attempts to gain support for the struggle against Italy were largely
       unsuccessful until Italy entered World War II on the German side in June 1940.[68]
    He talked on American radio, in which he linked Christianity and goodwill with
       the Covenant of the League of Nations : With the birth of the Son of God, an
       unprecedented, an unrepeatable, and a long-anticipated phenomenon occurred.
       He was born in a stable instead of a palace, in a manger instead of a crib. The
       hearts of the Wise men were struck by fear and wonder due to His Majestic
       Humbleness. The kings prostrated themselves before Him and worshipped Him.
       'Peace be to those who have good will'.
       The laws of the League of Nations are constantly violated and wars and acts of
       aggression repeatedly take place... So that the spirit of the cursed will not gain
       predominance over the human race whom Christ redeemed with his blood, all
       peace-loving people should cooperate to stand firm in order to preserve and
       promote lawfulness and peace.
    On 5 May 1941, Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa and personally addressed the
       Ethiopian people, five years to the day since his 1936 exile:
    Today is the day on which we defeated our enemy. Therefore, when We say let us
       rejoice with our hearts, let not our rejoicing be in any other way but in the spirit
       of Christ.
       Between 1941 and 1959, Haile Selassie worked to establish the autocephaly of the
       Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
    In a 1954 speech, the Emperor spoke of Ethiopian participation in the Korean
       conflict as a redemption of the principles of collective security: I can only be
       thankful that God gave me strength to persist in our faith until the moment of its
       recent glorious vindication.
    A great interest in the Amharic Orthodox version of the Bible, authorized by
       Haile Selassie I in the 1950s, has arisen among Rastas.[citation needed] Selassie
       himself wrote in the preface to this version that "unless [one] accepts with clear
       conscience the Bible and its great Message, he cannot hope for salvation

Haile Selassie's attitude to the Rastafari
    In 1961, he said "Tell the Brethren to be not dismayed, I personally will give my
       assistance in the matter of repatriation."
    When Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on 21 April 1966, somewhere around one
       hundred thousand Rastafari from all over Jamaica descended on Palisadoes
       Airport in Kingston having heard that the man whom they considered to be their
       Messiah was coming to visit them.
    With the Emperor,[129] where he reportedly told them that they should not
       emigrate to Ethiopia until they had first liberated the people of Jamaica. This
       dictum came to be known as "liberation before repatriation".
    Haile Selassie never rebuked the Rastafari for their belief in him as the returned
       Jesus. Instead, he presented the movement's faithful elders with gold medallions
    the Emperor allegedly still recalled his 1966 reception with amazement, and
       stated that he felt he had to be respectful of their beliefs.
    Rita Marley, said that she saw a stigmata print on the palm of Haile Selassie's
    Haile Selassie I was the titular head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and, until
       his visit to Jamaica in 1966, he had never confirmed nor denied that he was
       divine, while during his visit he specifically declined to refute the Rastafari belief
       that he was God. After his return to Ethiopia, he dispatched Archbishop Abuna
       Yesehaq Mandefro to the Caribbean to help draw Rastafarians and other West
       Indians to the Ethiopian church and, according to some sources, denied his
Marcus Garvey
    Rastas see Marcus Mosiah Garvey as a prophet, with his philosophy
       fundamentally shaping the. He is often seen as a second John the Baptist.
       Although his ideas have been hugely influential in the development of Rastafari
       culture, Garvey never identified himself with the movement, and even wrote an
       article critical of Haile Selassie for leaving Ethiopia at the time of the Fascist
Early written foundations
    Although not strictly speaking a 'Rastafari' document, the Holy Piby written by
       Robert Athlyi Rogers from Anguilla in the 1920s, is acclaimed by many
       Rastafarians as a formative and primary source. The chosen people of God, and
       proclaimed Marcus Garvey, the prominent Black Nationalist, an apostle.
    Emperor Haile Selassie I, whom some of the Rastafarians call Jah, was crowned
       "King of Kings, Elect of God, and Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah" in
       Addis Ababa on November 2, 1930. The event created great publicity throughout
       the world, including in Jamaica, and particularly through two consecutive Time
       magazine articles about the coronation
    Over the next two years, three Jamaicans who all happened to be overseas at the
       time of the coronation, each returned home and independently began, as street
       preachers, to proclaim the divinity of the newly crowned Emperor as the returned

What Rastafarians Believe:
    Rastafari are monotheists, worshiping one, singular, God whom they call Jah.
     Rastas see Jah as being in the form of the Holy Trinity
      Rastas say that Jah, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives within the human, and for
       this reason they often refer to themselves as "I and I".
    Rastas usually accept the Christian doctrine that God incarnated onto the Earth in
       the form of Jesus Christ, to give his teachings to humanity. However, they often
       feel his teachings were corrupted by Babylon.
    Integral to the basic Rastafari world-view is that Jah, as the Messiah or Christ,
       was incarnated again, this time as the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie I The
       first (Ras Tafari Mokennon ). A few Rastas also claim that Melchizedek, an Old
       Testament figure, was a previous incarnation of Jah.
    They especially reject the word "Rastafarianism", because they see themselves as
       "having transcended -isms and schisms."
Holy Trinity
    Rasta doctrines concerning the Holy Trinity are mostly related to the name "Haile
       Selassie" meaning "Power of the Trinity"
    Many Rastas claim that Haile Selassie I represents God the Father and God the
       Son/Yahoshua/Jesus and the Holy Trinity, while all human beings potentially
       embody the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ
    Most Rastas agree, as do the majority of Christians, that Jesus Christ is an
       incarnation of God on Earth. They consider that Jesus gave Jah's teachings to
       humanity, but they were distorted by Babylon.
    Rastas hold that this was fulfilled when Haile Selassie was born on 1892 Nov
       2nd, whom they see as a reincarnation of Jesus, and therefore Jah, onto the Earth.
    Rastas say that Jesus was black, and that white society (or Babylon) has
       commonly depicted him as white for centuries in order to suppress the truth and
       gain dominion over all peoples.
Zion vs. Babylon
    Some Rastas claim themselves to represent the real Children of Israel in modern
       times, and their goal is to repatriate to Africa, or to Zion
    Many Rastas are physical immortalists who maintain that the chosen few will
       continue to live forever in their current bodies
    This is why Bob Marley didn’t write a will.
Afrocentrism and Black Pride
    One of the key focuses of Rastas is on Afrocentrism. They teach that Africa, in
       particular Ethiopia, is where Zion, or paradise, shall be created. As such Rastafari
       orients itself around African culture.
    Rastafari holds that evil society, or "Babylon" has always been white-dominated,
       and has committed such acts of aggression against the African people as the
       Atlantic slave trade.
    Haile denounced this belief, in his statement to the UN…no racism.
    Rastafari is a strongly syncretic Abrahamic religion that draws extensively from
       the Bible. Adherents look particularly to the New Testament Book of Revelation,
       as this is where they find the prophecies about the divinity of Haile Selassie
    Some assert that only half of the Bible has been written, and that the other half,
       stolen from them along with their culture, is written in a man's heart
    Rastas also see the lost half of the Bible, and the whole of their lost culture to be
       found in the Ark of the Covenant, a repository of African wisdom, which is
       allegedly located in Ethiopia.
    There are two types of Rasta religious ceremonies. Reasoning and Grounation
     A "reasoning" is a simple event where the Rastas gather, smoke cannabis
      ("ganja"), and discuss ethical, social, and religious issues. The person honored by
      being allowed to light the herb says a short prayer beforehand, and the ganja is
      passed in a clockwise fashion except in time of war when it is passed
    January 7 - Oriental Orthodox Christmas
    February 6 - The birthday of Bob Marley
    April 21 - The anniversary of Haile Selassie's visit to Jamaica. Also known as
      Grounation Day.
    July 23 - The birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie
    August 17 - The birthday of Marcus Garvey
    September 11 - Ethiopian New Year
    November 2 - The coronation of Haile Selassie
    Generally, Rastas assert that their own body is the true church or temple of God,
      and so see no need to make temples or churches out of physical buildings.
    they do not eat shellfish or pork
    the prohibition against meat only applies to those who are currently fulfilling a
      Nazirite vow ("Dreadlocks Priesthood"), for the duration of the vow
    Usage of alcohol is also generally deemed unhealthy to the Rastafarian way of
      life, partly because it is seen as a tool of Babylon to confuse people, and partly
      because placing something that is pickled and fermented within oneself is felt to
      be much like turning the body (the Temple) into a "cemetery".[citation needed]
    At official state banquets Haile Selassie would encourage guests to "eat and drink
      in your own way".
    For Rastas, smoking cannabis, usually known as "healing of the nation," "ganja",
      or "herb", is a spiritual act, often accompanied by Bible study; they consider it a
      sacrament that cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness,
      facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to Jah
    It is sometimes also referred to as "the healing of the nation", a phraseology
      adapted from Revelation 22:2.
    According to many Rastas, the illegality of cannabis in many nations is evidence
      that persecution of Rastafari is a reality, it as a powerful substance that opens
      people's minds to the truth
    Genesis 3:18 "... thou shalt eat the herb of the field."
    Proverbs 15:17 "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and
      hatred therewith."[2]
    Psalms 104:14 "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the
      service of man."
    It is also said that cannabis was the first plant to grow on King Solomon's grave.
    The case was heard by the US 9th Circuit Court November 2001, and in May
      2002 the court had decided that the practice of Rastafari sanctions the smoking of
      marijuana, but nowhere does the religion sanction the importation of marijuana.
     The lion is a symbol of Haile Selassie. Jesus Christ is described as "the lion of
      Judah" in the Bible, and for this reason, Haile Selassie is seen as the reincarnation
      of Jesus the messiah of the Christians.
    Rastas maintain that dreadlocks are supported by Leviticus 21:5 ("They shall not
      make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their
      beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh.") and the Nazirite vow in Numbers 6:5
      ("All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his
      head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the
      LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.").
    The length of a Rasta's dreads is a measure of wisdom, maturity, and knowledge
      in that it can indicate not only the Rasta's age, but also his/her time as a
      Rasta.[citation needed]
    Also, according to the Bible, Samson was a Nazarite who had "seven locks".
      Rastas argue that these "seven locks" could only have been dreadlocks,[23] as it is
      unlikely to refer to seven strands of hair.
    Dreadlocks have also come to symbolize the Lion of Judah (its mane) and
      rebellion against Babylon.
    The way to form natural dreadlocks is to allow hair to grow in its natural pattern,
      without cutting, combing or brushing, but simply to wash it with pure water.
    For the Rastas the razor, the scissors and the comb are the three Babylonian or
      Roman inventions.
    As important and connected with the movement as the wearing of dreadlocks is,
      though, it is not deemed necessary for, or equivalent to, true faith.
    Rasta purists also sometimes refer to such dreadlocked individuals as "wolves," as
      in "a wolf in sheep's clothing," especially when they are seen as trouble-makers
      who might potentially discredit or infiltrate Rastafari.
     Reggae was born amidst poor blacks in Trenchtown, the main ghetto of Kingston,
Rastafari today
    Today, the Rastafari movement has spread throughout much of the world, largely
      through interest generated by reggae music—most notably, that of Jamaican
      singer/songwriter Bob Marley. By 1997, there were around one million Rastafari
      faithful worldwide.[35] About five to ten percent of Jamaicans identify themselves
      as Rastafari.
    Rastafari is not a highly-organized religion; it is a movement and an ideology.
      Many Rastas say that it is not a "religion" at all, but a "Way of Life". Most
      identify strongly with one of the "mansions of Rastafari" — the three most
      prominent of these being the Nyahbinghi, the Bobo Ashanti and the Twelve Tribes
      of Israel. In 1996, the International Rastafari Development Society was given
      consultative status by the United Nations.
    In the early years, and in a few of the stricter "mansions" (denominations),
      menstruating women were subordinated and excluded from religious and social

   There are several things to note about the Rastafari movement:
      1. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is Jesus Christ, but he never demanded
      2. Many of his quotes were display a devout Christian man.
      3. However he never rebuked them for their belief.
      4. They believe in God and the Bible.
      5. They don’t believe a man can die.
      6. They have no hope for Salvation without belief in Jesus Christ.
      7. Their movement was spurred from a poverished people seeking hope.
      8. They are more focused on finding equal rights than salvation.