Animism


#1

What is animism? What are its practices? Is it paganism order a different name like shell shock to post traumatic stress disorder? Is it strictly located in Africa or are there pockets world wide?


#2

Usually a primitive ‘nature religion’.

You could say there are similarities to paganism but less organised (and paganism is not very organised) and more local and tribal.

It is found everywhere around the world but is only of large size in African countries. So there are tiny animist minorities in India, Thailand, China, Vietnam, South America etc


#3

newworldencyclopedia.org after a Animism seach will give you all you want to read on this.

Basically occult IMO and a good area to avoid. But hey thats IMHO. Much is just primitive culture and belief systems, but its also a active practice which I have reservations about. American Indians are a good example Shaman etc.


#4

Animism is a subcategory of paganism that sees what we might call spiritual forces at work in all parts of “nature”, like animals, plants, the earth, the sky, etc. Another way it’s sometimes described is as making no distinction between the spritual and the physical, but I don’t know how accurate this is.

Many “Traditional Faiths” of Africa are refered to as animist. Shintoism has been described as animist as well.

Some people will speak of animism as if it were the most primitive kind of religion, but as far as I can make out this is simply based on an assumption that the native people of Sub-Saharan Africa are the most primitive people in the world, which could easily be interpreted as mere racism.

Most of the native religions of the Americas and Australia are not generally described as animist, by the way.


#5

Animism is just the belief that non-human entities have a spiritual component (a soul/spirit, if you will), not just humans. This belief isn’t restricted to indigenous traditions either. Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism, many modern (Neo)Pagan religions (and their ancient counterparts) are all animist.


#6

I don't know what it's supposed to mean, but I do know that this is the word used to describe traditional African religions in a lumpsum way. Actually, African traditional beliefs and values are much closer to the OT in many ways than what people refer to as "paganism".

What you will find in 90% of our tribes (Apart from some West African tribes) is a uniform belief across the board in a single deity, not numerous gods, who is the maker of everything. There is an absolute requirement to respect one's own parents and elders, which has practical implications like an old woman you do not know can send you to do something for her, and the young person will drop their work pronto and do it even if it is difficult and the woman is a stranger. The "No sex before marriage" rule in African tradition was not optional- fornication was severely punished, there was a separation between groups of girls and boys in daily interactions to avoid this. Pretty much the most contemptible and severely punished wrongs were adultery and witch-craft and the latter was punished by death or permanent exile. Also, Absolutely no place for incest in African traditions- And to Africans this means much more than parent-child or brother-sister relations. Consanguinity even between blood relatives separated by several generations is considered abominable. Laziness was social suicide and a sure way to bring shame to your parents. Forgiveness and reconciliation even after grievous wrongs like murder was part of societal life. It included recompense, a form of penance.

Africans worshiped through offering sacrifices of animals, produce, traditional beer, through the mediation of Ancestors who were regarded as the mediators between God and men. Song and dance and oral traditions (stories) are the ways culture was preserved and celebrated. There are very wise sayings, proverbs and mysteries in African traditions- lots of wisdom about life. Marriages were not about joining two individuals but about joining not just two families, but two clans also. Promises and oaths and vows were not easily taken/given or easily broken. Refusing grain to those who asked of you was a big sin as was denying drinking water even to an enemy (There's an old saying that goes, water is for the beasts/hyenas- It means that even wild animals have a natural right to water, why should any human deny it to another regardless of the group he may belong to?) There's zero place for individualism- They took care of the ill family members and the elderly without question. Only the younger or urban populations are known to neglect the elderly nowadays- And most Africans believe that anyone who does so earns great curses upon themselves that they cannot cure, also insulting or cursing one's parents or older relatives is feared to bring serious curses upon the offender. Wronging orphans, especially those who did not have a mother, is also considered to carry serious curses that many fear.

Of course there are many things in African traditional life (it was a unity of beliefs and cultural and economic life) that we would consider backward (Like the overwhelming patriarchal nature of all African societies, like polygamy) but most of our value systems are in line with big chunks of the OT values- yet many people believe that our traditions are much more primitive than they are. I've met a few persons who assumed that Africans traditionally are loose (sexually)- which I found surprising because here everyone blames Western influence for the younger generations' disregard of traditional values of modesty and chastity and caring for the old and the ill! :shrug:That name "animism" seems to me a very poor, almost prejudiced manner of regarding African traditions stemming from the colonial interactions of the last century.


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