The main features of the Basic Religions
“He who possesses art and science has religion; he who does not possess them needs religion”- Johann Goethe
True to the above words religion in the modern context has impacted every avenue in life. Though it is considered a spiritual experience, it plays a vital role in the current political, economic, and cultural aspects in the society. Traces of modern religions date to the Stone Age itself. These basic religions found in the tribal communities of the past have paved its way to modern religions having principles and philosophies. According to anthropologists most of these communities had the same characteristic features all around the world. Some of these features could be considered as a contrary to the modern day religions, nevertheless these characteristic features help us to understand the basic religions.
Animism is defined as the belief people had towards nature as a living spirit. It was believed that they could be helpful and also be harmful when offended. People believed that they could be communicated with. Many elements of nature and life, living or non-living possessed a spirit was the basic ideology. In the past the Afro-American religions and African religions had beliefs of animism. In contrast to the past, Shinto, an indigenous religion of Japan to this day believes in the spirits of nature (Kami). From the Sun to the Storm are considered as deities. Many festivals are held in honour of these deities. Ex: “Shikien Sengu”, in honour of the Sun goddess Amaterasu. In Sri Lanka too the indigenous community (Veddas), believe and venerate the sun, moon, and trees, as spirits dwelling among them. Even though it is contradicted, people continue to have faith in them.
Magic is another aspect of basic religions varying from the Australian plains to the American rainforest tribes. Magic in the past was considered as a pathway to control nature for benefits and to harm the enemies. It has been proven...