The animist religions or animism is comprised of a philosophical, religious or spiritual pagan belief that souls or spirits not only exist in humans but also in animals, plants, rocks, thunder, mountains, rivers or other parts of the natural environment.
Animism may also attribute souls to concepts such as words, names or metaphors in mythology. Folk religions for the most part practice animism but there are elements of it in the Shinto and Hindu religions.
The three definitions of what animism is are:
Belief in non-human souls.
This belief holds that non-human entities, such as animals and plants as well as objects can have souls. These entities must be offered gifts in order to gain favour. It is the worship of minor local deities rather than the polytheistic worship of major deities.
Belief in souls
If belief in souls is a definition of animism then all religions including Christianity and Islam may be considered somewhat animistic.
Souls as the “form of things
Aristotle held that souls are not to be worshipped, are not immortal and cannot be separated from the physical being.
Death in Animism
Most animistic belief systems hold that the spirit survives physical death. In some systems, the spirit is believed to pass to an easier world of abundance. Still others believe that the spirit remains on earth as a ghost, often malignant.
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