The Igbo traditional religion otherwise known as Odinani has stood the test of time. It has managed to survive though not as it originally was for more than five hundred years. On the other hand, the philosophy (-ies) behind this peculiar and rich system of worship has been lost to the trends and waves of modern civilization.
Our Igbos’ Blog in this post will seek to generate thought as well as lay a basis for the reawakening of Igbo philosophy.

  •            INTRODUCTION
The Igbo religion is founded on the principle basis of reverence and worship of a central cosmic being far above human understanding—as is found in almost all major world religions. In Odinani, the Central Cosmic Being is known as Chukwu or Chineke. He is way above human level and cannot be worshipped directly, thus the employment of lesser gods—called alusi in the Igbo tongue.

Igbo philosophy on religion is wholly based on the supremacy of Chukwu. In the belief that everything in the universe was created by his hands and given life by his divine authority.
The perception of Chukwu by the Igbos is as vague as the perception of any supreme cosmic being by any religion. So, while Chukwu remains an indecipherable mystery human beings however can worship his manifestations [alusi].
The whole being of Chukwu is conceivable under two philosophies. First is the philosophy of Absolute Divinity and second is the philosophy of Creation.
The philosophy of Absolute Divinity seeks to imply that Chukwu is a being well separated from the human-spirit plan of existence. Even the spirits of ancestors don’t have access to him, so applies to the alusi. This may seem to contradict, but the alusi do not have DIRECT contact to Chukwu/Chineke, only through the dominance of Chukwu over their various niches is contact made. It also iterates the perfect and infallible nature of God, of course you can’t have a Supreme Being capable of making mistakes at the helm of the universe.
I hope I’m not getting boring.
Contrary to the Christian belief of God being an All-Loving Father, the Igbo see Chukwu as a being to be feared and loved as explained in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
“You said one interesting thing,” said Mr. Brown. “You are afraid of Chukwu. In my religion Chukwu is a loving Father and need not be feared by those who do His will.”
“But we must fear Him when we are not doing His will,” said Akuna. “And who is to tell His will? It is too great to be known.”
The philosophy of Creation implies that all things—living, dead, spirits—were created from the divine power of Chineke. His ability to forge new forms of creation and put life into them is something that still awes man till today.
Igbo philosophy implies that when these philosophies about the God are combined, he becomes a Supreme God capable of doing everything and anything.
The widely accepted principle of a ‘lone’ Supreme Being was introduced by Christianity to many parts of the world. In Igbo philosophy on the nature of the Supreme Being, he is believed not to act directly and singly but through the prowess of nature.
The Igbos philosophy of the dualism of Chukwu however contradicts this. Dualism suggests that Chukwu doesn’t have one manifestation [that of the Supreme Being], it goes on to suggest that the alusi are different manifestations of Chukwu in Nature and that since there are lots of undiscovered things out there, there maybe manifestations of Chukwu yet unheard of.    
This philosophy is everything the Igbos believed in. They saw Chukwu as a king who had to be reached through proper presentation and preparations. While some say that the Igbo never worshipped Chukwu directly, evidence of altars to Him have been found all over Igboland especially Nsukka, Okigwe, etc.