What is Rasta?

Submit questions  -  New Articles
QUESTION:  What is the definition of Rasta? Who founded it? What are their beliefs?

ANSWER:  Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican, formed the religion commonly called Rasta (also known as Rastafarian). The crowning of Ras Tafari Makonnen (Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, also known as Prince Tafari before his coronation) as "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" (which is one of the many Biblical titles used for Christ) took place in Ethiopia in 1930. The use of marijuana (pot) as a "sacrament," proscribed by the religion as an aid to meditation, is not a Biblical principle. Scripture also does not command the wearing of "dreadlocks" as a commanded hairstyle.

Some of the beliefs of Rasta are undoubtedly true, as no religion is entirely a lie. However, the black separatism and the hatred of whites engendered by this movement certainly are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. Many view the belief in the superiority of the black race, as promoted by the religion, with skepticism. We are all equal in God's eyes, as Paul wrote that in Christ there is no distinction of race, economic class or even sex - all are one in Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

You asked if Haile Selassie was the highest honored emperor on Earth. Only a few million people, at most, revered Selassie, and there have been emperors who have had tens of millions of adherents (China's rulers, etc.), and since only a few outside of Africa (mostly the educational "elites" and "progressives" as communists like to call them) - were even aware of Selassie's existence. It is therefore not true that he was the "highest honored emperor" on the planet - even though he was no doubt highly esteemed by those who believed in Rastafarianism.

Marcus Garvey claimed that Ras Tafari Makonnen (Haile Selassie) was essentially God in the flesh, the second coming of Jesus, the Messiah and was worshiped as a god. Furthermore, quoting from a web site related to this group, the following statement is made.

"To greater represent the truth, Rasta rejects the Bible used by most Christians, opting instead for a 'black man's Bible' known as the Holy Piby."

Which first century religious groups interacted with Jesus?
What does the Bible say about smoking marijuana?
Does the Bible mention ISLAM in prophecy?
Was Jesus BLACK?

Jesus, when he came two thousand years ago, was literally God in the flesh (or God dwelling in flesh) and was the ONLY begotten son of God the Father. Based on many scriptures, Haile Selassie was not and could not have been "god in the flesh."

14. And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we ourselves beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten with the Father), full of grace and truth . . . 18. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:14, 18, HBFV throughout)

9. In this way the love of God was manifested toward us: that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through Him (1John 4:9)

Furthermore, when the TRUE second coming of Jesus occurs it will not happen secretly nor take place in a far-flung part of the world unbeknownst to the vast majority of humanity. The whole world will know when Jesus is coming back to earth, and that he is doing so with POWER and with the authority to set up the kingdom of God on earth (Revelation 19:11, 13 - 16).

Based on the Bible, one must reject Rasta and the overall beliefs of this group.

Additional Study Materials
Does the Bible teach some races should not exist?
What are the three signs of a sick religion?
Where will Jesus land at his Second Coming?
© The Bible Study Site