Rastafarism: The Established Period
Rastafarianism is a movement of Black people who know Africa as the birthplace of Mankind and the throne of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Jamaican considered Selassie a 20th Century Manifestation of God who had lighted their pathway towards righteousness, and therefore worthy of reverence. Haile Selassie was Ethiopian descent, so his followers considered Ethiopia the Promised Land. (The Holy Bible speaks of Israel as the Promised Land.) To Rastafarians, the story told by the Old Testament pertains to black Africans who descend from Abraham and Jacob. But white Christians altered this fact to keep Africans in an inferior position. This oppression is referred to by Rastarians as “Babylon”, with reference to a state of slavery and cultural tyranny that all blacks must overcome. In the King James Bible, God talks about seven vials that pertain to destruction of different things. Babylon is the only city he destroyed. “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”(Rev.16:18) Rasta rejected the Bible used by most Christians, opting instead for a “black man’s bible” known as the Holy Pidy. There was no Jamaican Church develop, maybe because there was no agreement on basic doctrine or a canon of scripture. Some used the Holy Pidy and the King James Bible, but with correction and emended. Rastafari was not a religion, a human organization, or a philosophy, but a active attempt to discern the will of Jah and keep it.Rastas were mainly uneducated Third World peasants, but their approach to Rastafarism was with a humble, eager to learn spirit, part theological debate, part prayer meeting, and most of all sound reasoning, at which they attempted to find the Truth. They have a different attitude than the Protestants interpretation of the Bible. They were certain that they would arrive, by divine guidance, at an “overstanding” (rather than understanding) of the Truth. They believed that the Truth cannot be known by human effort alone, but “Jah-Jah come overI&I” can participate in the One who is Truth. The mystical union was expressed by the use of the pronoun “I & I” (which can mean I, we, or even you, with JAH present) or simply “I” in contrast to the undeclined Jamaican dialect “me”. Rastafarians live a peaceful life, needing little material possessions and devote much time to contemplating the scriptures. They reject the white man’s world, as the new age Babylon of greed and dishonesty. Rastas are proud and confident, even though they are humble, they will stand up for their rights. Rastas let their hair grow naturally into dreadlocks, in the image of the lion of Judah. Six out of ten Jamaicans are believed to be Rastafarians or Rastafarians sympathizers. In the modern world, 1975 through present, the growth is attributed to Bob Marley who became a prophet in 1975. The movement spread quickly in the Caribbean and was hugely attractive to the local black youths, many of whom saw it as an extension of their adolescent rebellion from school and parental authority. With it came some undesirable elements, but the true Rastas signify peace and pride and righteousness. Haile Selassie famous quotes “We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owning our ultimate allegiance not to nations, but to our fellow men within the human community”. “It is not only war that can stop war, but men of goodwill, conscious of their mission can deal with such deadly enemy”.