Religion did not pop up in our society out of nowhere. Religion, like the development of human beings and the society as whole, is a continuous process. Since, there existed a number of societies in the primitive world, there arose a number primitive religions. However, there were quite a few commonalities among them. Let’s talk about these common themes briefly, before we get into the details.
Primitive societies believed in Animism, ie, the belief that all natural objects have souls. Primitive man could not tell why wind blows, or why lightning strikes, or why the sun and the moon go around the earth? He thought that all these have souls and these souls guided these objects’ actions.
- Nature Worship:
The idea of Animism further led the primitive people to worship the nature. On one hand, these people worshipped the distant objects such as the sun and the moon, on the other hand, they worshipped the immediate nature such as a tree, or a pond, etc.
- Ancestor Worship:
Death has been a major idea behind man’s belief in higher powers. What happens to someone after they die? The question has haunted the mankind for a long time. And the same question led the people in the ancient world to create myths around it. It was a shared belief among many societies that the person continued to exist after the death – the ancestor worship is thus found almost in every primitive culture.
God, as a Supreme Being, came henceforth. Most of the gods that we worship today did not exist in the ancient culture. You may say that god had existed, in different forms of course, but you would have to agree that it was through the various forms of worshipping – from objects to spirits to nature – we arrived at our today’s idea of God (or religion). But, the development does not stop here.
Recommended Books on Primitive Religion: