Rastafari religious beliefs

Rastafarian beliefs are based in Judaism(Hebrew Israelites/beta israel) and Christianity.

Rastas like Garvey rejected the Eurocentric Christianity preach by the European colonial powers, and embraced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, as well as a belief that Ethiopians are the lost tribe of Israel, the black Israelites or Beta Israel, which is why Rastas believe Zion is in Ethiopia.

Hebrew Israelites today are reffered to “blacks,african americans”. Rastas believe the Hebrew Israelites are the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Which is why they are the priests of the most high (god). Rastafarians do not practice Judaism.

Hinduism, Judaism, and the Rastafari movement have some things in common.

The Hinduism connection to the Rastafari movement is from Indians coming over to Jamaica through the British coolie trade. The Indians connected with Jamaicans and this is how rasta picked up on the Sadhu’s lifestyle of growing dreads,vegetarianism (Ital food), and marijuana.

Looking at Judaism, rastas have similarities with Orthodox Jews wearing of side locks known as the Payot. Rastas quote from the Old Testament, the Judaic part of the Bible. Rastas also read from the New Testament as well. Rasta reffer God as Jah,

“Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.”

Psalms 68:4 (KJV)

From researching rastafarian beliefs, I have seen the change from the past to modern days. 1973 when Joseph Owens published a more modern approach to Rastafari beliefs. In 1991 Michael N. Jagessar revised Owens’s ideas, adding his own approach to Rastafari theology(beliefs) and providing an insight into the changes in the group’s beliefs. The key present points of beliefs are: The humanity of God and the divinity of man– the concept of God revealing himself to his followers through his humanity. God is found within every man– Rastafarians believe that God makes himself known through humanity. Salvation on earth– Rastas beliefs they are protected from harm,risk etc. The supremacy of life– Human nature important to rasta and they believe protect it. Respect for nature– They respect the environment and animals on earth. As seen in their food diet (Ital). Speech– Rasta believe the speech is power to Gods existance. The priesthood of Rastafarians– They believe they are the chosen people from God and they should promote his power peacefulness on earth by being priests/preaching.

There are no right or wrong to rastafarian beliefs,but there is a slight difference in the views of different groups of Rastafarians. For example some believe growing dreads is not nessasary or smoking marijuana is not important.


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