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Social Studies Essay by Jack

Jack has been using Time4Learning for his school for the last several months and I’m very happy with the curriculum. One of the lessons he’s done this week in Social Studies was to research and write an essay on the religious beliefs of the West Africans prior to 750AD. It took me some time to get him to do the research on exactly that without him going off on a tangent about just Voodoo, but below is his final essay.  I have not done any editing on spelling or wording, mostly because I thought it was cute the way he wrote it all.  Can you tell he’s a story teller?

West African beliefs By Jackson P 05/21/2009

Before the caravans arrived in around 750 A.D. and spread the religion of Islam, the West Africans believed in the religion of Vundo (A.K.A. voodoo). Voodoo is the religion of West Africa, and it also was around the rest of the region. Voodoo has been wronged in many ways, it’s not evil like Christians say, and it’s not a zombie religion as Hollywood says.

The West Africans religion of voodoo is a belief in gods and goddesses, like many other religions. The mane thing that differs from the other religions is the belief of magic. Yes, Islam and Christianity teach a belief of one god, but that’s not the thing that, even now, has been considered evil, but magic is. The West Africans believed in magic, but the Christians didn’t. as a result, they, but mostly the Muslim merchants in the caravan trade, forced their religion onto the West Africans. However, the West Africans who became Christians didn’t stay long, and soon returned to voodoo.

While they were wrong to force their religion onto the West Africans, their reason is understandable. You see, when people see or hear something that scares him or her, they try to rationalize what scared them. Whether with logic or with religion, point being that when the Christians saw some Voodoo practices that wasn’t what they were use to, they tried to change it to something the were.

That might not be the reason why they tried to change Voodoo into Christianity, but maybe they shared a reason with the Muslims. You see, the Muslims in the caravan trade of 750 A.D. traded more then just salt for gold. They also gave the West Africans the religion of Islam.

But, I’ve been getting off subject, and into the wrong era, and so I better get back to BEFORE 750 A.D. Before then, the West Africans believed in Voodoo freely. They danced with the spirits and celebrated their vast religion.

The part that could be mistaken, and probably the whole reason why Christians think of magic as evil, for something very evil, was the hexes. This might also be why Hollywood had taken an interest in Voodoo. You see, when someone did something bad, and angered a sorcerer, he would call on a Voodoo spirit to mess with the person who angered the sorcerer.

Well, we came to the end of our journey, and I hope you can see that the West African religion is just like many other kinds of religions, and even the hex thing is like the Christian belief of heaven and hell. You anger someone, you get punished. So you see, Voodoo, or Vundo, is like any other religion, in many ways.

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