Spirituality and Human Flourishing Among the Yoruba

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Olabisi Onabanjo University: Department of Religious Studies


Most Yoruba of Western Nigeria live much longer than their counterparts, found elsewhere in the world. The Yoruba are everything religious. To the Yoruba, God is seen, felt, and experienced in everything. They hold a deep communion with the Earth. In this regard, the Yoruba holds in high esteem all of the creation of God, both animate and inanimate. Everything, no matter how little and everyone no matter how seemingly insignificant, have their importance in the order of the created world. The Yoruba strong belief in the existence of spiritual beings, require that they attend their day to day activities and relationships with caution, and respect for human dignity. Hence, it is not unlikely to find spiritual ceremonies attached to significant stages of human development - what has often been described by Yoruba scholars as “Rites of Passage.” Offences, wickedness, violation of societal norms, and other sinful acts are not spared by the gods – the guardians and custodians of the Yoruba traditions. This paper is therefore, an attempt to show that the indigenous Yoruba conducts their daily affairs in ways that the Earth, the environment, humanity, the spiritual entities, even non-human beings and objects live in harmony in order to enhance spirituality and human flourishing. This way peaceful human co-existence, good health, healing and longevity is encouraged and promoted. The paper will also show those Yoruba traditional sacred ethics that are derivative of indigenous spirituality which enhances the positive aspect of modern science and discredit its sour sides. The paper additionally, reveal how the Yoruba indigenous communities have consistently and successfully resisted the havoc and value erosion that modern science brings with it. It is our hope that the Yoruba spirituality and models of human thriving will be better understood, appreciated and emulated.



Spirituality, Human Flourishing, Yoruba tradition, Orisun