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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question...

ID: 400
posted: 02 May 1999
updated: 02 May 1999

I consider myself an animist, but whenever I tell people this they seem confused. When I try to explain animism to them they often equate it with paganism. How can I articulate my beliefs in an effective manner?

It's easy to distinguish animism from paganism. Paganism is a farmer's
religion ("pagan" means "of the country"). There were no farmers here until
about ten thousand years ago. Before that, the religion of humanity was
animism (and it still is among tribal peoples). It's not, in fact, a
religion in the way most people think of religion. It's based on no
"religious" belief. Rather, it embodies a worldview: the world is a sacred
place, and humans belong in that sacred place. The religions of our culture
(the "major" religions) perceive the world to be a place of illusion and
evil--not a sacred place, but rather a place to to be escaped from in order
to reach some "better" place that is our true home. At the same time, the
religions of our culture perceive humans to be fundamentally flawed, so
that if the world were a sacred place, humans wouldn't belong in it. In the
view of our culture's religions, humans are miserable creatures living in a
miserable place. When people ask me to explain animism, I tell them that if
they're really interested, they should read The Story Of B. I wrote that
book to explain animism.


category: I NEED SOME CLARIFICATION,I'D LIKE SOME ADVICE
keywords: ANIMISM,CHRISTIAN,RELIGION


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