National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology

Animism is a belief system that holds that all objects, living beings, and natural phenomena have spirits or souls. In animistic worldviews, the natural world is seen as alive and interconnected, and human beings are regarded as one part of a larger web of spiritual beings.

Animism has been practiced by many indigenous peoples throughout the world, and remains an important element of their cultures and belief systems. Animistic beliefs often involve the worship of ancestral spirits or deities associated with specific natural features such as mountains, rivers, or forests.

In animistic worldviews, human beings are seen as part of a larger ecosystem that includes animals, plants, and natural elements, and are believed to have a responsibility to maintain balance and harmony with the natural world. Animistic beliefs may also involve rituals and ceremonies designed to appease or honor the spirits or deities believed to inhabit the natural world.

Critics of animism may view it as primitive or superstitious, and may argue that it offers an incomplete or inadequate understanding of the universe. However, proponents of animism argue that it offers a holistic and interconnected worldview that recognizes the value and dignity of all life forms.

Overall, animism remains a subject of scholarly study and philosophical debate, and continues to influence contemporary discussions on topics such as ecology, spirituality, and the relationship between humans and the natural world.