Rastafarian Religion Information

April 12, 2004

The Rastafarian Religion simplified:
A Jamaican named Marcus Garvey predicted that God would come in the form of a king in Africa, soon after a guy named Haile Selassie was crowned king of Ethiopia. Marcus Garvey however said that he didn't think it was Selassie, and Selassie didn't even know about the Rastafarians until much later. Nowadays they don't talk about it but the rastafarian religion is based on racism against white people. Which is understandable for a black Jamaican in the 1920's. Part of their doctrine is to try to trick white people or even punish white people. Somehow it is logical to a Rasta that being a racist is positive. Some rastas believe the God of the white man is the Devil.

Another part of their doctrine is that they will all someday return to Africa or more specifically, Ethiopia.
A delegation of Rastafarian Jamaicans went to Ethiopia in 1960, and after having seen the brutal conditions of Africa, the idea lost a lot of momentum. Rastas blame poverty and illiteracy on the white man.


It was founded by Marcus Garvey, born in 1887, In the early 1920's. a native-born Jamaican
He often spoke of the redemption of his people as coming from a future black African king
Ethiopia's king, Haile Selassie.

No leader

Key doctrines of Rastafarians had been their expectation that they would one day return to Africa


"Ras," which means king, and "Tafari," which means "to be feared."

In 1960 delegation of Rastafarians set out on a mission to Africa
"Though no large-scale immigration to Africa by Jamaicans was achieved, the sending of some Rastafarian leaders to Africa resulted in the movement's enhanced knowledge of African realities, and probably diffused the movement's enthusiasm for immediate repatriation" (The Rastafarians, pp. 100-101).

Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on April 21, 1966.
"Should not seek to immigrate to Ethiopia until they had liberated the people of Jamaica."

Early in the history of the movement, Leonard Howell gave the Rastafarians six principles.

(1) Hatred for the White race
(2) The complete superiority of the Black race
(3) Revenge on Whites for their wickedness
(4) The negation, persecution, and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica
(5) Preparation to go back to Africa
(6) Acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as the Supreme Being and only ruler of Black people

Babylon which refers to the Jamaican government, the establishment or the white oppressors in general

`I and I means that God is in all men. The bond of Ras Tafari is the bond of God, of man. But man itself needs a head and the head of man is His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie of Ethiopia'

Other Doctrines
God revealed himself in the person of Moses, who was the first avatar or savior. The second avatar was Elijah. The Third avatar was Jesus Christ. Now the advent of Ras Tafari is the climax of God's revelation" (The Rastafarians, p. 112). They even teach that Jesus predicted the coming of Haile Selassie

The devil is actually the God of the White man

the Rastafarians only accept the Bible conditionally preferring those passages that can be forced to harmonize with their unique doctrines

Women's role in the Rastafarian movement is at best a subordinate one

Dreadlocks. "Dreadlocks were inspired by a biblical injunction against the cutting of one's hair"

smoking of marijuana. "Likewise, ganga or marijuana is considered to be the 'holy herb' mentioned in the Bible and its smoking is a holy sacrament to many"

In line with their idea of being the supreme race, the Rastafarians also believe that they "1/4were the reincarnations of the ancient tribes of Israel who had been enslaved and kept in exile by their white oppressors, the agents of Babylon"

True Rastafarians are also vegetarians

Founding Date: 1930

Official Publication: None
Rasta rejects the Bible used by most Christians, opting instead for a "black man's Bible" known as the Holy Piby.

Organization Structure: No official church buildings or leaders. Each individual group and person is autonomous.

Unique Terms: Babylon is Jamaica or the establishment. I and I refers to God in all or the brotherhood of mankind

Other Names: Ras Tafari and Rastas
Six out of ten Jamaicans are believed to be Rastafarians or Rastafarian sympathizers.
The total following is believed to be over 1000 000 worldwide.


Many Rastas do not believe Haile Selassie I is dead. They believed that it was a trick of the media to try and bring their faith down because Rastas believe that true Rastas are immortal. To compensate for his death they believe that his atoms spread through out the world and became part of new babies, therefore, his life is never ending. The Rastafarian name for God is Jah.

Rastas feel that blacks are still held down through poverty, illiteracy, inequality, and trickery by the white man.

Rastafarian Religion

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