The Igbo society of our fathers was far too spiritually advanced to be analyzed by half digested Western thought. We do ourselves a tremendous disservice when we limit ourselves to the White man’s epistemic handles.
Then there is the issue of historical materialism meaning simply that the limits of material knowledge of an era defines the bounds of rationality of works of that era.
For instance, we now know that the universe is much more complex than anyone could have imagined 2000 years ago. The billions of planets out there certainly lend itself to the rational conclusion that there are innumerable beings of all likenesses out there, some humanoid, some reptilian, some material, some spiritual, some dimensional, some interdinensional.
Then you wonder where these beings go when they die. Were there also redeemed and of all the beings created by God, why are human beings the sole heir to his Kingdom?
Now we are pushing at the frontiers of knowledge where Western thought simply provides no answers.
Like wise, it is gross oversimplification to classify spiritual entities as good or bad, evil or nonevil. Those terms are human value judgment that have zero bearing to the inherent nature of those entities.
I say this to those who, limited by Western thought, denigrate our ancestors as devil worshippers. It is all too convenient to classify any entity whose pedigree is not in the Bible as anti God and anti good. That is gross oversimplification of the nature of things.
Here is an analogy. Is a lion bad because it devoured our goat or because it acted true to his nature and ate another animal not minding who owns it?
Calling a lion an evil animal just because it ate our goat is gross oversimplification of the nature of things.
When we say good or bad, it is our value judgment going to the result of the act but not necessarily the intent. When a lion does not intend to hurt us but nevertheless ate our goat, does that earn the lion a bad classification?
So when we say that something is evil, with respect to spiritual beings, exactly what do we mean?
What we mean really is that for lack of an adequate taxonomic framework, we chose to throw any being whose nature we do not understand into a huge pile of evil spirits.
Our ancestors were wiser than that. There were much more comfortable with spiritual entities and did not carry a good versus bad classification in their heads when dealing with them.
Let me get off the bus at this point for fear of losing my audience other than to say that anyone stuck in a black versus white, evil versus nonevil, heaven versus hell, visible versus nonvisible, life versus death framework lives in a grossly oversimplified cosmos that has very little bearing to the true nature of things.
But let me sound a note of warning. One must not deal with entities of unknown pedigree. Stick to what you know. Some of these entities are not even humanoid and some simply devour souls not because they are bad but because they are simply hardwired to do the things they do and are not constrained by human value judgments.
When we classify them as inherently good or bad, we are trying to impose our human sense of values to a whole universe of beings who have their own mission and sense of values that we probably cannot comprehend.
Growing up, our villages were spirit infested. Our forebears invoked many of them and they came.
While I feel very comfortable with invoking the spirit of Christ whose pedigree I know, i also feel very comfortable in classsifying anyone who calls our forebears devil worshippers as grossly ignorant.