What is this religion about? What is good in it?

Well, Rastafarianism is a very modern religion. It actually sprung up as recently as 1930s in Ethiopia. The odd thing about it is that the man whom they regard as the Messiah and incarnation of God the Son - the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (in those days called Abyssinia) - was a devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and would never have believed these things about himself.

That aside, the religion is essentially influenced by the thought of a man from the 1910s and 20s called Marcus Garvey, a prominent Black Nationalist and early civil rights campaigner who urged African-Americans to be proud of their race and return to Africa. He wanted to make Liberia into a great country for Black people returning to Africa and attracted numerous followers. For the Rastafarians he is a kind of precursor to Selassie and a religious prophet, similar to John the Baptist, who prophesised that a Black King would be crowned in Africa and deliverance would then be at hand. The odd thing is that Garvey was never affliated with the Rastafarian movement and was actually a Methodist who later converted to Catholicism.

They believe in the spiritual use of cannabis which, I naturally would not agree with.

On good points, they teach that all men and women are equal and the whole movement is based upon a rejection of slavery and inequality towards Black people:

“…He [the Almighty] taught us that all human beings are equal regardless of sex, national origin and tribe. And He also taught us all who seek Him shall find Him…”

– Haile Selassie I, Dec. 1968 interview with Dr. Oswald Hoffman on ‘The Lutheran Hour’.

Selassie was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by a mythical tradition from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

The most famous Rastafarian was Bob Marley.

It’s not a real religion, it’s just a justification to use pot to get high.


While I would agree that its identity as a religion could be contested (some would define it more as a movement) I would not say that it exists simply as a justification for drug-taking. Its much more complex than that.

Its origins stem from Black Nationalism as a response to racism towards Black people in the early years of the twentieth century and it was all about improving the rights of black people and longing for a Black saviour to lead them to freedom in their own land. And the two central figures of the religion/movement are a Catholic and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian weirdly enough who weren’t themselves Rastas.

Its a little more complex than simply getting high, if you know what I mean.

Not quite. There actually ARE splinter Rastafarian groups that have rejected cannabis use, but agree with the Rastafarian “mainstream” on other points.

They also do frequently quote from the Old Testament, though their “take” on it is too selective and self-serving, IMO.

There are Rastas who just use the religion as an excuse to get high, but many Rastafarians are very serious about their religion and are virtuous despite not possessing the full truth.

Thanks. What do they practice? Where do they agree and disagree with the Church?

You need to listen to some Reggae!

Not quite. It originated with Afrocentrists in the Caribbean who had certain very odd ideas about Ethiopia. Actual Ethiopians, Orthodox or otherwise, have not historically had anything to do with this movement. In the 1940s, the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie (who, you’re right, was a devout Orthodox Christian; his name means “Power of the Trinity”) donated some land to a group of these people in Shashemene (a village in Oromia, Southern Ethiopia), where Ethiopian Orthodoxy is the biggest religion (~45%, according to Wikipedia). Today they’re ~200 in number (from a height of over 2,000), and the local Ethiopians don’t like them and consider them foreigners (pro-Rastafrian sources, like Ennis Edmonds’ Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction, report things in this way, and I have seen many news reports and talked to several Ethiopian Christians who say the same thing about this weird foreigners who come to Ethiopia expecting to educate the people who already live there on their “true” history).

The most famous Rastafarian was Bob Marley.

Who was baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church before he died…not that this makes any difference to the Rastafarians, but it is good to note.

OP: There is nothing good in Rastafarianism that is not found in greater measure in actual Christianity. They are often vegetarians (as are their Ethiopian idols, the Orthodox), and talk a lot about uplifting and reclaiming African heritage (which, again, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Sudanese, Egyptian, and other African Christians do just by existing in native African churches), but much of what could be called good about them is marred with strange socio-political and racialist overtones that really detract from whatever good their message might contain. Christologically/Theologically, their positions are often pure heresy and fantasy, driven more by identity politics and ideology than divine revelation (and so, basically the exact opposite of actual Christianity, wherein there is neither Jew nor Greek).

Sorry to sound so negative about this, but I’ve dealt with a lot of people who come to Orthodoxy (knowledge of it, or actual baptism) via Rastafarian influences, and it is tiring and annoying. My hippie cousin, for instance, upon finding out about my baptism in the Coptic Orthodox Church thought it was “cool” because he heard that Bob Marley was “Coptic” later in his life (as the Ethiopians/Eritreans used to be and sometimes still are called, for historical reasons). :rolleyes:

While still blazing up all the time…


Thank you all. It seems like an … interesting movement.

Ya mon. I be from da beach in Jamacia. Eye libed in kingston fo sum years dare. Eye eyelond is da mos beauty-ful place mon. lord have mercy!!!

Yes and before he died, Bob Marley learned that the Emperor’s religion was Orthodox and he was baptized into the Orthodox Church towards the every end of his life :thumbsup:

I notice that you have recently asked a similar question about Methodists, Adventists, Calvanism, Baptists, Lutherans, Zarathusterism, Zoroastrianism, Rastafarianism, Confucianism, and Islam.

You seem very inquisitive, and appear to have a substantial amount of free time to devote to research of topics that would fill the Library of Alexandria. Please forgive me for also noting that your questions are also indicative that you are a troll, and should be ignored.

Come on pal, the guys not a troll just because he’s interested in finding out about different religions. He’s obviously very curious about the world outside of Catholicism, but it’s good to ask questions, and this is the non-catholic discussion forum.

God bless


While Bob Marley and many other big name acts may have been or are Rastafarian it is a minority religion even in Jamaica, thus among reggae acts. It would be like learning about the Five Percenters of The Nation of Gods and Earths by listening to New York Hip Hop or about the Jehovah Witnesses by listening to R&B in all three cases the artist may representing be way above their expected percentages in a random poll of the population.

However those outside the church, specifically in secular Europe will cheer Bob Marley chanting “Rastafari” during a concert as you can hear in his live recordings. Where “praise God” from a Christian or Muslim would not get the same enthusiastic response as the outside world see’s the faith as okay we can get high.

First off
Rasta means self respect.
I am a catholic rasta.
Catholic cause I find respect to where I come from.
Rasta. Cause I seek a righteous path. I choose not to be a sheep.
I look to follow the instructions of the most high lord almighty God, jah, or jahovah, yahweh. Many names one aim.
I make myself an instrument of God’s love.
Yes, I read Old Testament. Yes I pray for all of you. Yes I read New Testament.
Faith the size of a mustard seed.
I give every bit of my days to thoughts and labor to serve others in a way that benifits the whole prolife system.
Any disagreement from Catholics and Rastas may have roots from the 1930s when the pope supposively supported Mussolini’s Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Me being both may be my area of forgiveness.
Rasta teaches one to be a leader of peace. Not promote bloodshed.
Build an environment of nourishment and truth.
Like Francis, to move with nature, embrace the call. Look at the stars.
Cry out when I need to.
Forever giving praises and thanks.
Seek the Christ.
May you find HIM.
The Dead Sea scrolls are very enlightening to the age we are in.,
The best churches are outside and have trees not walls.

The music is really good.

Actually, Rasta and Rastafarian come from Haile Selassie’s name and title, **Ras Tafari **Makonnen Woldemikael. **Ras **is an Ethiopian noble title, literally meaning “head”, roughly equivalent to a powerful noble like a duke. **Tafari **was his given name, and the remaining two names were that of his father and grandfather respectively.

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