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Wed Feb 12, 2020, 01:21 AM

Breath of life

Shinto is uniquely Japanese, yet embodies a once-universal animistic religion of wind and fire, gods and animal spirits

To connect Shinto to any form of ‘universal religion’ would appear to be a fool’s errand. After all, as any guidebook to Japan will tell you, Shinto is the traditional religion of Japan and only Japan, apart from a scattering of Shinto shrines in countries with large Japanese immigrant or expatriate populations.

At the same time, Shinto is considered to be, at least in its origins, one expression of animism, the world’s oldest religion. Thus, we are left with Shinto as both a religion unique to Japan and an expression of the world’s oldest faith.

The word animism is derived from anima in Latin, which literally means ‘breath’, with an extended meaning of ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’. Animism recognises the potential of all objects – animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather-related phenomena, deceased human beings, even words – to be animated and alive, possessing distinctive spirits. As such, animism is considered to contain the oldest spiritual and supernatural perspectives in the world, dating back to the Palaeolithic Age when humans were still hunter-gatherers.

Viewed from the standpoint of today’s organised religions, animistic religions can seem ‘primitive’ and are often dismissed as containing nothing more than superstitious beliefs and practices. This belittling if not antagonistic attitude toward animism has been particularly strong among the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For example, in the United States it was not until the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed in 1978 that indigenous peoples gained the legal right to practise their traditional animistic faiths


https://aeon.co/essays/shinto-shows-the-debt-to-animism-of-organised-religions-today

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Newest Reality Feb 2020 OP
AtheistCrusader Feb 2020 #1

Response to Newest Reality (Original post)

Wed Feb 12, 2020, 12:44 PM

1. I get along super-well with local Pagans and other animists.

Lot more real-world relatable than anything in the Abrahamic tradition.

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