Primitive Religion

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Organized religion is often the one true form of religion which everyone recognizes. People often dismiss other forms of religion, such as primitive religion, believing it to be the religion of people who have not found "God" or who have not truly grasped the reality of what we "know" to be true. For example, people who possess primitive religion are often thought to be uncivilized, or from a time in the far distant past when science and Jesus were not a reality. But, unbeknownst to many, we all carry some form of primitive religion within us, no matter how strongly we may claim we follow an organized religion. From simple superstitions to ancestor worship, there is an element of humanity that always possesses some element of primitive religious beliefs. In the following paper we present an examination of primitive religion and then personally reflect on experiences, thoughts, and ideas as they relate to the existence of primitive religion in our world and in our lives.

One author summarizes primitive religion, claiming that it is "a name given to the religious beliefs and practices of those traditional, often isolated, preliterate cultures which have not developed urban and technologically sophisticated forms of society. The term is misleading in suggesting that the religions of those peoples are somehow less complex than the religions of 'advanced' societies," when, "In fact, research carried out among the indigenous peoples of Oceania, the Americas, and sub Saharan Africa have revealed rich and very complex religions, which organize the smallest details of the people's lives" (Anonymous Primitive Religion primitiv.htm). The author continues by defining primitive religion as housing the following practices or beliefs: rituals, divine beings, and sacred personages. In relationship to sacred personages, this can often be referred to as ancestor worship as well, in particular cultures where those sacred beings are those who went before.

Steadman et al....
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