The movement of the Rastafari is a new movement in religion that includes Abrahamic and monotheistic elements that arose during a Christian culture in the 1930s in Jamaica. The movement is sometimes referred to as Rastafarianism, however, this term is considered derogatory by some people.
Rastafarianism is not a religion that is highly organized; it is a more of an ideology or a movement. Many Rasta’s say that it is not a religion at all, but rather it is a way of life. Most Rasta’s do not claim to be part of any particular denomination, therefore they encourage one another to find inspiration and faith from within themselves, though some do strongly identify with one of the mansions of Rastafari, the three most prominent of which are the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Bobo, and the Nyahbingh.
The name Rastafari came from Ras Tafari, which was the title of Haile Selassie, who composed the Amharic Ras or the Ethiopian title equal to that of a Duke, and was Haile Selassie’s given pre regal name, Tafari.
Rastafari assert that Haile Selassie I is another incarnation of the Christian God, named Jah. They consider Haile Selassie as being Jah Rastafari, who is considered the next coming of the Lord.
The Rastafarian movement employs themes that include the spiritual use of cannabis and the rejection of western society. It proclaims that Africa is the original birthplace of mankind, and therefore embraces numerous African political and social aspirations including the sociopolitical teachings and views of the Jamaican Black Nationalist, organizer, and publicist Marcus Garvey who is also frequently regarded as being a prophet.
Due largely through the interest in reggae music, awareness of the movement of the Rastafari has spread throughout a large part of the world. Much of this awareness can be linked to the now deceased Jamaican singer/songwriter Bob Marley. There were around 1,000,000 people who were faithful to the Rastafari worldwide by 1997. About 5% to 10% of Jamaicans consider themselves to be Rastafari.
Most Rastafari believe in immortality and believe that only the chosen few will continue to live forever in their current bodies. This is commonly referred to as ever living life. The term ever living replaces the term everlasting to prevent the negative connotation of last which might imply an end. The Rasta’s believe that they will live forever, with Amharic as the official language and Jah as the king.
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