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Animism

By Anthony Haynes

The Definition of Animism
Animism: The doctrine or belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe possess souls of their own; the doctrine that the soul is the principle of life and health.

Founder and Origins
Animism has roots to before written word, is present across the world, and is likely the oldest religion in human history, because of this no one person who has been attributed with its creation. Animism spans across myriad cultures all over the world, and developed so simultaneously, these facts lead to no specific geographic origins.

Sacred Books and texts
Animism lacks any sacred books and or texts of any form. The origins of animism come from a time before written word, rendering such an occurrence well-nigh impossible. Due to the lack of written word in animism all beliefs and traditions are handed down to the following generations, usually through the art of storytelling.

Animist places of Worship
Animists do not possess a definite or unequivocal place of worship such as a temple, yet they prefer to hold rituals, rites, and other traditions outside in the company of nature. The diverse range of environments in which animism may be present may also affect the spontaneity of the explicit location of these rituals; an example being while some animists may worship upon the plains others may worship within the forest.

Animist Beliefs
Animists believe that all things within the universe retain a soul or a conscience, and respect the world around them as such. Another aspect which is prevalent in animism is the venerating of their ancestors, who watch over and protect the living from the spirit world.

Forms of Animism
Animism is not a clear and unmitigated religion, there are multiple forms that can be found throughout the world, including other religions. The presence of animism may be prevalent or only minimal in its connection with other religions. Shamanism: Shintoism: Jainism:
The animistic religion of northern Asia, embracing a belief in powerful spirits that can be influenced only by shamans. The native religion of Japan, primarily a system of nature and ancestor worship. A dualistic religion founded in the 6th century b.c. as a revolt against current Hinduism and emphasizing the perfectibility of human nature and liberation of the soul, especially through asceticism and nonviolence toward all living creatures.

Hinduism:

The complex of beliefs, values, and customs comprising the dominant religion of India, characterized by the worship of many gods, including Brahma as supreme being, a caste system, belief in reincarnation,

Diffusion of Animism
Animism and its adaptations are present nearly everywhere around the world, but it did not spread by traditional means of conversion, yet by simultaneous development of belief in these places. The core religion of animism while spread to the ends of the Earth represents but a sliver of humanity, yet the counterparts in which it may find itself involved in are very influential and encompass a much larger portion of humanity.

http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/global/themes/beliefsystems/animism.cfm http://dictionary.reference.com http://www.merriam-webster.com http://wiki.answers.com http://www.sacred-texts.com

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