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<i>Onyenachiya</i>: A New Perspective on Religion in African Philosophy of Religion

Christiana Idika
Maduka Enyimba


How does one understand the relationship between a person and their objects of belief in the philosophy of Religion? How does the object of belief  impact individuals’ lives, choices, decisions, and what they become in the future? The character of religion is binding, and the object of belief in a being –  transcendent or immanent as the sole determinant of the fate and destiny of individuals leaves room for many questions that border on freedom and  responsibility. By introducing Onyenachiya to the discussion of the phenomenon of religion from an African philosophical approach to religion, the  authors argue that there is a certain threshold of self-evaluation and relationship between a person and their object of belief which is significantly  cooperative and collaborative. Although onyenachiya, a concept that stems from an African epistemic context (Igbo), has no corresponding English  translation, it is a contraction of two independent words, onye (person, giver, who) and chi (personal god, doppelgänger). The two are joined together by  conjunction, ‘na’ with the suffix ‘ya’ at the end, emphasizing the chi’s personal and unique nature. The authors argue that if chi is connected to a person's  destiny, onyenachiya demonstrates an agent-centered destiny, which gives room for agency, accountability, and responsibility and gives a new account of  religious tolerance.