In so the neighboring clans… would not go

In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the establishment of institutional religion and imperialism in Igbo society was an attempt to destroy their culture. Small communities based on fundamental religious values are greatly affected by the introduction of a new religion. In Igbo culture, “…the socio-political and economic aspects of life… are predominated by a highly spiritualized and religious world.” (Nwoye 308). The entirety of Igbo life is founded on religion, as it affects their lives on a day-to-day basis, and the purpose of the introduction of white men is to convert these communities to Christianity, and fundamentally change their entire world-view. These attempts to convert Igbo religion distorts the culture’s original values and ideas. An acute example of these conversion attempts is, “‘…leave your wicked ways and false gods and turn to Him so that you may be saved when you die,'” (Achebe 139). Telling the population that they would be “saved” when they died so that they would convert was another way in which the missionaries introduced corrupted institutional values and religion (Achebe 139). The arrival of missionaries and installation of imperialism in Igbo society was also detrimental to Igbo values and culture. Prior to the arrival of missionaries, each tribe kept to itself, and imperialism was not a vital part of Igbo society. However, when Christianity is introduced, the culture that surrounds it is brought as well, and a large part of Christian history is conquering other countries and converting them. Igbo religious views say, “…key areas, such as land, river, hills, forests, caves, are believed to be controlled by female deities.” (Nwoye 308). Imperialism was not a key part of their religion as everything belonged to their gods, however, as Christianity was brought about, so were these imperialistic ideals. The principle that everything belonged to their gods was used in a positive way in Igbo religion, and it was often rare that there were attempts to conquer other tribes. On the other hand, Christianity uses this same principle in order to take land and convert others in the name of their god. For example, the book says, “And so the neighboring clans… would not go to war against it without first trying a peaceful settlement. And in fairness to Umuofia…it never went to war unless its case was clear and just and was accepted as such by its Oracle…” (Achebe 21). War in Igbo society was not waged in order to seize land, but for reasons that were absolutely vital. A large part of their culture involves doing what the gods want them to do, and the Oracle had to confirm that war was what the gods wanted. The introduction of Christianity was more for the worse than the better, as it was detrimental to the unadulterated Igbo culture and brought along imperialism.

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