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What is animism?

Animism

Question: "What is animism?"

Answer:
Animism is the belief that everything has a soul or spirit, an anima in Latin, including animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, and stars. Animists believe each anima is a powerful spirit that can help or hurt them and are to be worshipped or feared or in some way attended to. Animism is a primitive religion whose adherents have for thousands of years deified animals, stars, and idols of any kind, and practiced spiritism, witchcraft, divination and astrology. They use magic, spells, enchantments, superstitions, amulets, talismans, charms, or anything that they believe will help to protect them from the evil spirits and placate the good spirits that are found everywhere in everything.

Elements of animism are present in many false religions including Hinduism, Mormonism and all New Age cults. False religion always teaches in some way that the spirit within human beings is really God and the practices of the religion will help us to realize this and develop the god-spirit so that we, too, may be God. This is the same old lie Satan has been propagating since the garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve by telling them, "You shall be as God" (Genesis 3:5).

The Bible states unequivocally that there is one God and everything else, from the angels in heaven to the grains of sand on the beach, was created by Him (Genesis 1:1). Any religion that teaches there is more than one god is teaching a lie. “Before Me there was no god formed, and there will be none after Me” (Isaiah 43:10), and “I am the Lord and there is no other; besides Me there is no god” (Isaiah 45:5). The worship of false gods, who are really not gods at all, is a sin God especially hates because it robs Him of the glory that is rightfully His. A check of any Bible concordance on the subject of idolatry will show how many times God forbade the worship of false gods.

In addition, the Bible strictly forbids the practices of the animists. "A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:27). The practice of animism opens a door for demons to enter into the lives of people who are deceived by the lie that is animism. The Bible condemns those who practice spiritism in very strong terms: abominations to God, stone them to death, the fire shall burn them (Deuteronomy 18; Leviticus 20; Isaiah 47).

As with all false religion, animism is simply another scheme of Satan, the father of lies. Yet many throughout the world are being deceived by the “adversary, the devil, [who] walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Recommended Resources: Neighboring Faiths by Winfried Corduan and Logos Bible Software.

While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.


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What is animism?