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Note of July 16 1995 This paper is 7 years old It is due for a revamping I decided to use it here and then revise it partially on the basis of the responses to it Its not that I think theres anything wrong with the position here its just that Ive read a great deal since 1988 been to more services talked with more serveteurs and so on So Im ready to update Soon IMPORTANT First and foremost Voodoo is a religion It is the dominant religion of Haiti Many of the practices and descriptions of Voodoo belief may sound to us like rank superstition but then imagine the beliefs of Christianity to people who know nothing about it Tell them about the trinity or the resurrection or the presence of Jesus in the eucharist Any of these practices which very intelligent Christians believe in the fullest would seem no less superstitious to someone unfamiliar with Christianity Thus I urge you to recognize that Voodoo is Haitis religion it is taken very seriously not merely by unlettered peasants but many intelligent and learned members of the Haitian society believe as sincerely in Voodoo as do German theology professors in their Christianity In no way do I expect you to believe in Voodoo no more than I would expect you to convert to Islam if I taught a course on that religion But please do recognize that it is every bit as real a religion as the major religions of the world 1 The most basic concepts of Voodoo There is one God Bondye This God is very similar to the God of Islam Judaism and Christianity There is only one God There are three important categories of other spiritual beings Loa These are the various spirits of family members the spirits of the major forces of the universe--good evil reproduction health all aspects of
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