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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/790

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NATURISM


718


NATURISM


with liviiiK hcinKS or oven tlKil ho thoupht of them at! a domicili- i>r oponilioii of spirits of huinun origin. yuch a view woiiUI .supi)osc a definite distinguishiii;; of the sense element and of t lie supersensible element ; but this distinetion only appeare<l later, whereas, for the original mythological notion, the sense element and the subject that was active in it was still conceived as one. He says the real sources of religion are exter- nal nature and the .soul of man; for the prehistoric be- lief in spirits, out of which developed the belief in Go<l, cannot yet be properly called religion; it only contained the germs of religion. Tylor teaches ani- mation of nature, but, a.s with him the soul or spirit animates material objects, nature-worship is ranged under the concept of Feti.shism. De la Sau.ssaye ob- jects to this view on the ground that nature-worship bears the strongest impress of originality, and there- fore is not a phsise of Fetishism, which is not original. Darwin seems to combine the ascription of life to natural objects, dreams, and fears (Descent of Man, I, p. 65). Thomas says that, while theoretically sep- arable, magic religion, belief in ghosts and in nature- worship practically run into one another and become inseparably mingled; therefore it is idle to attempt to establish a priority in favour of any one of them (Social Origins, Chicago, 1909).

De la Saussaye confesses that it is equally difficult to determine the limits of nature-worship in the op- posite direct ion. The classification of religions shows how wide an area it covers. Thus Tielo divides the religions of the world into nature-religions and ethi- cal religions, and holds that the latter developed from the former. Caird keeps the same division, but uses the terms "objective" and "subjective", and says they unite in Christianity. Jastrow objects to the classification of Tiele, that the higher nature-religions contain ethical elements. Hegel holds the primitive religion was an immediate nature-religion, which be- trays its features in various primitive peoples and in a more advanced form in Chinese, Pali, and San- scrit cults. The transition from the lowest stage to the next higher, according to him, is effected by means of the Persian dualism, the Phoenician religion of pain, and the Kgyptian religion of mystery. De la Gras- siere (Des religions comparoes, Paris, 1899) says Naturism is at the origin of religions. He distin- guishes a lesser Naturism and a greater Naturism. The le.s.scr Naturism passes into Animism, which in turn develops into Fetishism, Idolatrj', and Anthro- pomorphism. With its earlier forms the object is adored in its concrete reality; at a later period, the soul or spirit is separated from the object and becomes the real object of worship. Lesser Naturism em- braces the primitive gods, e. g., those which person- ify the woods, mountains, and rivers. It has many forms, e. g., worship of animals as in Greek and Egyp- tian mythology, worship of trees, e. g., laurels of Apollo, myrtle of \"enus, worship of groves as with Druids, worship of stones, water, springs, lakes, moun- tains, the elements. Hence it embraces the mytho- logic naiads, fauns, dryads, fairies, and sirens.

Greater Naturism refers to vast gatherings of ob- jects and especially heavenly bodies, e. g., sun, moon, stars. This he says is the basis of the Vedic reli- gion, e. g., V'aruna, i. e., heaven at night, Mitri, i. e., heaven at day, Indra, i. e., rain, Agni, i. e., fire, and survives in .Saba;ism. This Naturism is at the origin of Greek and Latin mythology, e. g., Zeus, i. e., the Heaven, Aurora, i. e., the dawn, .\pollo, i. e., light, Hepha^stos, i. e., fire, and the worship of mother earth. Tiele holds that the religions of the Redskins and ne- groes are just :us much nature religions as the Habv- lonian, the \'e<lic, and Greek, t hough he admits a great ditTercnce exists between the former and the latter. Von Hartmann designates the lowest stage of religion as "naturalistic henotheism". .Jastrow holds that man's conscioiisness of his own weakness in the con-


templation of the ovcrwhelrriing strength of nature furnishes the motive for seeking support from certain ]«)wers of nature and to accomplish this he must make them favourably disposed to him. He says this theory can be variously put, hence can furni,sh a starting point for pessimistic views, e. g.. Von Hart- mann, and of optimistic views of man's position in the universe, and it appeals to minds in sympathy with re- ligion .as to those, c. g., Feuerbach, who regaril religion as an illusion.

Thus Naturism teaches that man originally was destitute of religion, and that ignorant awe in face of natural forces was the cause of his earliest faith. But this theory cannot be accepted. (1) Its basis, viz., that man has evolved from an animal state, is false. "We know now", writes Max Mtiller "that savage and primitive are very far indeed from meaning the same thing" (Anthrop. Relig., 1.50). Talcott Wil- liams shows the necessity of revising and limiting the confidence with which the modern savage has been used to explain a nobler past (Smithsonian Report of 1896). Miiller and Kuhn refute Mannhardt and Meyer by showing that popular beliefs of modern folk-lore are fragments of a higher mythology. (2) It does not explain how man gained the predicate God, which is the real problem of religion. Jastrow says mere personification of nature lacks a certain spiritual element which appears to be essential to the rise of a genuine religious feeling in man. Hence, he adds, Miiller postulated "the preception of the Infinite" (Hibbert Lectures, 1878), and Tiele appeals to "man's original unconscious innate sense of infinity" (Elem. of the Scien. of Rel., II, 233). Thus Fairbairn says, "the constitutive element is what mind brings to na- ture, not what nature brings to mind" (Studies in the Philos. of History and Religion, New York, 1876).

(3) The theory is defective, for it does not explain all the facts of early religious consciousness. If nature were the only source of religion, man would express his ideas of God in terms drawn froni nature alone. Now the science of language shows that primitive man expresses his idea of God: (a) In terms drawn from physical nature, e. g., Dyaus Pitar of the Indo-Euro- peans; Zeus pater of the Greeks; Jupiter of the Latins; Tieu, i. e., heaven, of the Chinese; the Persian Daeva; the Celtic Dia from the Sanscrit root Div., i. e., to shine, (b) By moral and metaphysical concepts: thus, e. g., Jahweh, i. e., the one who is; Ahura, i. e., the living one; El, i. e., the powerful shown in Elohim, Allah, Babylonia; Shaddai, i. e., the mighty; Bel, i. e., the lord; Molech, i. e., king; Adonai, i. e., lord. Such concepts are found with barbarous peoples, e. g., Un- kululu of the Zulus, i. e., father; Papang of the Austra- lian, i. e., father; the Mongolian Teng-ri and Hunnish Tang-h, i. e., lord of the sky. Futhcrmore the earliest Indo-European conception of God is Dyaus Pitar, i. e., the heaven-father. Hence the idea of pater- nity is characteristic of their primitive consciousness. Such a concept is too sublime and elevated to be ex- plained on the principles of Naturism; which is utterly unable to account for the second class of terms. (4) The main support; for the theory of Naturism is the Vedic religion. It is true that traces of nature-reli- gion are found in the Vedas. But to say that the Vedic gods are nothing more than nature personified or that nature-worship is the primitive type of Indian religion is to betray the superficial observer. The moral and spiritual conceptions are older than the jjhysical faith. That the ancient Aryans viewed na- ture as active is not ground to hold that for this reason they worshipped nature. W'v express oursehes after this fashion in ordinary conversation. The great truth shown by the Vedas is the fact of degeneracy.

H. Philosophic Naturism. — This phase is based on the philosophic unity of animated nature. The ancient cosmogonies represent the efforts of the hu-