CHAPTER 6
NEW RELIGIONS

Religion in small-scale societies -- Witchcraft -- The response to missionary teaching -- Secular repercussions of mission teaching -- Millenary religions -- The cargo cults -- African Messiahs -- Other independent African Churches -- Magicians and 'witch-finders.'

MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE that human affairs are in some way dependent on forces more powerful than humanity. In common parlance these are generally called supernatural, but some authors who have written about small-scale societies reject the word on the ground that the people described do not see these forces as being outside nature, and they prefer some such term as 'ultra-human'. A distinction that has a longer history in the discussion of such beliefs is that between religion and magic. Notably the name of Sir James Frazer is associated with the idea that man advanced from a stage in which he believed that he could manipulate natural forces by means of magic to one in which he understood that he must appeal to a divine power, and so religion came into being. There is certainly a popular notion that beliefs and practices which can be called magical are morally and intellectually inferior to those which can be called religious, a notion appropriate in societies where a church lays down a body of doctrine, but additional ideas are current about the contact between men and ultra-human forces, which the official doctrine does not countenance. Rationalist students of society, such as Durkheim, have also distinguished between religion and magic and treated the former as morally superior. Malinowski saw both as manifestations of the same human need for reassurance in the face of forces that man cannot control;

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New Nations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Chapter 1 - NATIONS REMADE 11
  • Chapter 2 - NEW MODES OF LIVELIHOOD 32
  • Chapter 3 - NEW FAMILIES 58
  • Chapter 4 - NEW STATES 96
  • Chapter 5 - NEW TOWNSMEN 128
  • Chapter 6 - NEW RELIGIONS 160
  • Chapter 7 - SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE 192
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 229
  • Index 231
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