The Making of Religion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 426 pages of information about The Making of Religion.

Our study, of course, does not pretend to embrace the religion of all the savages in the world.  We are content with typical, and, as a rule, well-observed examples.  We range from the creeds of the most backward and worst-equipped nomad races, to those of peoples with an aristocracy, hereditary kings, houses and agriculture, ending with the Supreme Being of the highly civilised Incas, and with the Jehovah of the Hebrews.

[Footnote 1:  Journal Anthrop.  Inst. xi. 874.  We shall return to this passage.]

[Footnote 2:  Vol. i. p. 389, 1892.]

[Footnote 3:  Payne, i. 458.]

[Footnote 4:  Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. p. 381; Science and Hebrew Tradition, pp. 346, 372.]

[Footnote 5:  Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. p. 109.]

[Footnote 6:  Ibid. vol. ii. p. 110.]

[Footnote 7:  Ibid. vol. ii. p. 113.]

[Footnote 8:  Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. pp. 115, 116, citing Callaway and others.]

[Footnote 9:  The Zulu religion will be analysed later.]

[Footnote 10:  Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. pp. 130-144.]

[Footnote 11:  Ibid. vol. ii. p. 248.]

[Footnote 12:  And very few civilised populations, if any, are monotheistic in this sense.]

[Footnote 13:  Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. pp. 332, 333.]

[Footnote 14:  Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. pp. 335, 336.]

[Footnote 15:  Myths of the New World, 1868, p. 47.]

[Footnote 16:  I observed this point in Myth, Ritual, and Religion, while I did not see the implication, that the idea of ‘spirit’ was not necessarily present in the savage conception of the primal Beings, Creators, or Makers.]

[Footnote 17:  See one or two cases in Prim.  Cult. vol. ii. p. 340.]

[Footnote 18:  Livingstone, speaking of the Bakwain, Missionary Travels, p. 168.]

[Footnote 19:  Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 450.]

[Footnote 20:  Op. cit. vol. i. p. 302.]



To avoid misconception we must repeat the necessary cautions about accepting evidence as to high gods of low races.  The missionary who does not see in every alien god a devil is apt to welcome traces of an original supernatural revelation, darkened by all peoples but the Jews.  We shall not, however, rely much on missionary evidence, and, when we do, we must now be equally on our guard against the anthropological bias in the missionary himself.  Having read Mr. Spencer and Mr. Tylor, and finding himself among ancestor-worshippers (as he sometimes does), he is apt to think that ancestor-worship explains any traces of a belief in the Supreme Being.  Against each and every bias of observers we must be watchful.

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