etc the savage who believes that his medicine mans

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Unformatted text preview: 30 consider the divine." It seems to me the common man would as soon understand Einstein as this definition. In fact, the religious trends of the men and women in this world have many sources and are no more unified than their humor is. Whether all peoples, no matter how low in culture, have had religion cannot be settled by a study of the present inhabitants of the world, for every one of these, though savage, has tradition and some culture. Theoretically, for the one who accepts some form of evolution as true, at some time in man's history he has first asked himself some of the questions answered by religion. For my part, as I read the anthropologists (whose answers to the question of the origin of religion I regard as the only valid ones, since they are the only ones without prejudice and with some regard for scientific method), it is the practical needs of man, his curiosity and his tendency to explain by human force, which are the first sources of the religions. How to get good crops, how to catch fish and game, how to win over enemies, how and whom to marry, what to do to be strong and successful as individual and group, found various answers in the taboo, the prayer, the ceremony and the priest, magician and scientist. Curiosity as to what was behind each phenomenon of nature and the tendency of man to personalize all force, as well as the awe and admiration aroused by the strong, wise and crafty contemporary and ancestor brought into the world the "old man-cult," ancestor- worship, gods and goddesses of ranging degrees and power, but very much like men and women except for power and longevity. Certain natural phenomena--death, sleep, trance, epileptic attack--all played their part, bringing about ideas of the soul, immortality, possession, etc. With culture and the growth of inhibition and knowledge and the use of art and symbols, the primitive beliefs modified their nature; the gods became one God, who was gradually stripped of his human desires, wishes, partialities and attributes until for the majority of the cultivated he bec...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.

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