In a recent visit to South Africa I spent two weeks traveling in areas where Animism is the primary worldview, regardless of what religion is practiced. Animism, at its most basic, is the belief that there is a spiritual world and a physical world, and one can control or affect the physical world via the spiritual world. It is a mechanical system that believes if one says or does certain things (prayers, incantations, sacrifices, curses and charms), then the spirit world is impacted and this has direct effect on the physical world. The Animistic Worldview does not promote a belief in a Creator, but recognizes there are good and evil spirits whose favor must be bought, earned or stolen through power and/or deceit; whose anger or evil must be appeased and/or used for self and against others; and that some people have the capacity or power to coerce the spirits to do their bidding (shamans, witch doctors, spiritualists, warlocks and witches).
One new revelation for me during my discussions about Animism with David Broodryk of South Africa was that in the Animistic Worldview there is a fixed amount of stuff and energy in the world. This means that for one person to gain, another has to lose. If one wants to be less poor or more rich, then one has to take from others or through the spiritual world cause the transfer of stuff from one person to another. Most hexes and curses are for this purpose.
In recent years I have seen the Animistic Worldview gain de facto ground in modern Christianity in America. There are books, sermons, and attitudes that reveal a strong tendency among Americans to think that if they say or do certain things, then God will respond in certain ways. If we tithe, God will bless us. If we pray, God will do what we ask. If we wear or display certain medallions or symbols, God will protect us.
It seems we have forgotten that the life of a Christian is about conforming to God’s will, not God conforming to our wills. Faith is being obedient to God regardless of the outcome for me personally. Prayer is not about getting God to do things for me or us; it’s about changing our attitudes and actions to please God, getting to know Him better, and serving others more effectively. Ministry is being used by God to answer the prayers of others through service. And worship is not just about going to church to receive a blessing; it’s about being the church every day and presenting our lives as living sacrifices that are individually and collectively pleasing to God and a blessing to others.
Politically, I am seeing a significant worldview shift in America. When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, when one saw someone who was successful, the thought was not “How can I get what they have?” – the thought was “How can I learn what they know and create that for myself?”. The basic worldview was based in a Creator who created us in His own image, which included knowledge and creativity, and the ability to create new stuff, wealth, energy, and a better life.
Today, we have Occupy Wall Street, which is grounded in an Animistic Worldview that believes, “In order for me to have the stuff I want or deserve, I must take it from others who have that stuff.” There is a fixed amount of stuff and energy, so for me to be happy and healthy I must take what I want or need from others by any means available. As a matter of fact, those who have stuff have it because they took it from others, so it’s perfectly OK for me to get stuff by taking it from them.
At its root, any form of socialism or progressive-ism is an Animistic Governmental System that attenuates the flow of stuff and energy from those who have to those who don’t have in a way that promotes law and order in a worldview that says it’s OK to take what you want if you have the power to do so. In effect, government becomes the shaman or witch doctor that causes the redistribution of wealth at a level that keeps both the rich and the poor happy. This system causes a loss of creativity and accountability that is at the core of a worldview that acknowledges a Creator who endows His creation with the ability to create – not simply in the physical world, but in the world of ideas and service to others. The Animistic Worldview fosters deceit, control, low accountability and hatred. A Creative Worldview generates openness, cooperation, high accountability and care for others. Idealistic? I hope so! How else can we set goals for ourselves and our society?
Those who subscribe to a Creative Worldview are engaged in society, making sure everyone has the opportunity to learn and be creative in knowledge as well as service to others. This produces the stuff we need, and we are open to sharing it with those who don’t have because there is no end to resources when we are creative.
The shift from a Creative Worldview to an Animistic Worldview will destroy America. This shift takes place as American Christians practice de facto Animism in our homes, businesses, churches, and political systems across our great nation. Our political system grew out of a Creative Worldview. As the Animistic Worldview replaces the Creative Worldview in America, America will go the way of many countries that are rooted in an Animistic Worldview – poverty, and class warfare brutally controlled or used by government or rebels to shift power and resources from one group of people to another in order to empower and enrich those who are in control or who gain control.
Dear God, help us to know you better and serve others more effectively!