Native American Religions

Native American Religions

Are Native American and African Religions best described as Monotheistic, Polytheistic, or Monistic? Provide examples, reasoning and appropriate evidence for your position.

Monotheism is described as the belief in a single supreme god. Polytheism is described as the belief in more than one deity. And Monism is described as that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system.  

Religions of Native Americans are Polytheistic, where”all the nature is alive with spirits.” (Hopfe, Religions of the World pg. 30) Spirits of animals and plants appear in their visions. They have guardian spirits of a variety of different animals, spirits of their dead people, and those who live in the land of the dead. The center or heart of nature is called “Mother Earth”. (Hopfe, Religions of the World pg. 30) Native Americans believe in many different gods and spirits, believing that they exist everywhere.

Native Americans protect themselves from the spirit world is by using Taboos. Taboos are “all actions, circumstances, persons, etc., which owing to their dangerousness fall outside the normal everyday categories of existence. (Hopfe, Religions of the World pg. 34) Taboo is more or less a religious way people avoid certain people, places or objects. For example, in order to avoid their dead, Native Americans had a specific person, someone other than a family member handles the dead and sometimes the dead person’s belongings were all burned.            

Another way the Native Americans worshiped was by doing different rituals. They used dance to contact the spirits in order to get ready for a special occasion. For any occasion, the dance was done in conjunction with songs, drums, rattles and or sacred flutes. Tobacco was also used to contact the spirits, they also used peyote, which is a “small spineless carrot shaped cactus, it contains nine narcotic alkaloids.” (Hopfe, Religions of the World pg. 38)...

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