their focus is upon the Holy Spirit who embraces them in the name of Jesus!

 

SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON ANIMISM AND BIBLICAL SPIRITUALITY

 

The main focus in these studies has been to see that the animist and biblical perspectives share some common views. We have intentionally been positive; there are enough negative critiques of animism already. In relationships, itís always better to build on common ground than to focus on the things that divide and then condemn those things that we consider wrong. Once we start to attack, the other person becomes defensive and we loose the opportunity we may have had to build a friendship. Is there a friendship worthy to be pursued between animism and biblical spirituality? I believe there is!

 

Therefore we considered how the BIG THEMES OF ANIMISM

COMPLIMENT OUR BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING

 

We have seen that Animists have a more spiritual view of life than do most folks in Western civilization. Everything is interconnected or related; there is a connection between all things and a balance that must be maintained for life to flourish. On-the-other-hand, the view that creation is inanimate (not alive) has resulted in man relating to it as a resource to be exploited. The Judeo-Christian view wrongly represents man as master instead of caretaker, which only adds to the problem. However if creation has both a physical and spiritual dimension but we only relate to it as a material commodity then we are not playing with a full deck of cards. When the Europeans first came to this continent they justified their genocide of Native peoples by telling themselves they were not human. The Catholic Church argued over whether or not they had a soul while populations were decimated. By saying they didnít have a soul, it made it easier for the Spanish to massacre the savages and not feel guilty! Today most of us donít feel guilt when we eat fish, chicken, beef or pork. However if we had to cut the throats of those animals and watch them bleed out most of us would eat meat rarely or not at all. Itís very difficult to kill a breathing animal and not conclude that they have a spirit! In Native American cultures they only killed what they needed and then they gave thanks to the animal for giving its life. Whenever Native peoples took from the earth they always gave something back. When the white man came they took more than they needed and turned the earth and its animals into a moneymaking enterprise. We can only conclude that global warming is the result of manís rape of the earth: Burning fossil fuels, polluting waterways, cutting down forests, destroying habitats and the life that depends upon them, etc.

We saw that in Romans chapter 8 the liberation of creation from decay (ecocide) is dependent upon mankind getting its act together. ďThe whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth,Ē waiting eagerly for this to happen, v.22. In other words when man is freed from sin and fully redeemed creation will be restored to its original paradise. The end of mankindís rape of the earth is described as the Fall of Babylon, the Great city of power, the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth (Rev. 18). It is none other than the fall of exploitation, consumer capitalism and globalization! Many indigenous cultures had stories of creation, the end of the world and a new creation. They and Christianity have this in common. The end of the world system, which we are told not to love will mark the beginning of the new creation.

Both Animism and Christianity share a belief that it is necessary to appease the offended spirit before reconciliation can occur. This is common sense; if a neighbor owes you a $100.00 you will be anxiously anticipating to be paid back. If he doesnít pay you back when he said, your anxiousness will turn to mistrust, anger and perhaps a confrontation.† A bad spirit or disposition will keep you apart. The bad vibes wonít go away till he pays you back! Once he does, good vibes will flow between you again.

 

THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRIST AND HOW IT RELATES TO ANIMISTS

In the Animist world there are animal spirits, plant spirits, nature spirits of rocks, water, wind, lightening, land formations; there are ancestral spirits and there are good and evil spirits. Humans need to live in harmony with and keep happy the spirits by appeasing them with offerings, sacrifices and rituals. When sickness and troubles occur itís because some spirit has been offended or an evil spirit is causing trouble. In animism people can easily develop a fatalistic view of life and feel helpless in the world of the spirits who seem to control everything that happens. Preoccupation with spirits and an overwhelming fear of them

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ďAsk the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you,Ē Job 12:7-8.