1.1 Background of the Study
In this contemporary age were morality is gradually deteriorating and westernization is taking over African typical setting and our way of life is disappearing, sin seems not to be anything despite its gravity to some people. In Idemili today, some practices and acts which insinuate sin are overlooked of its consequences due to the negligence and new belief of people on issue of sin. The teaching and idea of some Religious practices as disregarding of atonement to gods thereby closed the book for atonement and pave way to more sins. Because of the advent, impart and the influence of some other religious beliefs in the Idemili Traditional Community, atonement for sin is seems to a forgotten issue since the offender believes that there is no need for an atonement when the person must have prayed to his or her chi (God). It is serious among the people of Idemili North which is affecting the whole community at large.
The Igboman believes that when he sins he makes the higher powers frown (Arinze, 1970: p.200). Among the people of Idemili community of Anambra State, patricide, incest, stealing, climbing of a palm-tree by a woman, and killing of sacred animals (eke Idemili) and trees are regarded as offences which will be punished by Ala, the Earth goddess, and the ancestors who are the guardians of public morality. When a person commits any of these crimes, he must approach a priest who will perform expiatory sacrifice for him. If it is not atoned for, the offender or any of his relations is sure to receive some punishments. Thus if lightning strikes a man or his house, people believe that he or a very close relation has commit n offence that has not been confessed or atoned for.
Furthermore, it is believed that wicked people die hard and they usually recite with great necessity the various crimes they have committed before they finally die (Eze, 2000: p.199). The view of Nso-ala (taboo) are not respected because of the view that atonement is irrelevance. Some sins committed today are seen as nothing. The consequences of such violation is not giving to the person thereby create a negative effect on the person, family or community at large. There are laws and norms governing the cultural setting of Idemili community. God of African Traditional Religion supports forgiveness as well as Idemili Traditional belief. There must be an approach toward the eradication of such wrong act done by the subjects; failure to do it can affect the well-being of the people and the entire community at large.
This is why it is very important to ensure that a man’s sin is atoned for in order to appease the wrath of the Supreme Being, the divinities, spirit forces and the ancestors. It is against this background of sin and its atonement that this study was undertaken in order to investigate the traditional concept of sin and atonement in Idemili community of Anambra State.
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