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World religions native american religions

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  • 1. World Religions Native American Religions
  • 2. The Spirit World• Generally polytheistic• Believed in the Great Spirit, in nature as alive with spirits, and in Mother Earth• The high god was appealed to only rarely, usually in the case of great emergencies• Very animistic• Reverential toward soil, plants, and trees• Reverence toward these things varied from tribe to tribe
  • 3. Control over the Spirit World• The universe is not under control of any one supreme god• Attention focused on achieving good relations with earth spirits, the forests, the streams, and the animals upon which they depended• Sacrifice is sometimes practiced• Taboos include the dead (often the dead were not spoken of for years)• Little fear of death.• Sin or righteousness have nothing to do with one’s afterlife destiny
  • 4. Control over the Spirit World• Dance used to deal with the spirits and gain control over the spirit world• Particular dances could last up to three days• Religious leadership included both medicine men and women• Primary responsibility of leadership has to do with healing by eliminating foreign objects, usually in the form of spiritual obstructions• Tobacco—about six times stronger than modern cigarettes—used to placate the spirits
  • 5. “The Native American Church”• A Native American church based on a syncretistic faith, located primarily in western states• Use peyote extensively in worship rituals and ceremonies• A church in Oregon was invaded by state authorities and its leaders arrested for peyote use in worship• The church fought the case on grounds of religious liberty. They lost at the local and state Supreme Court levels• In Utah, the same thing happened, but the Utah Supreme Court found that all members of the Native American church qualify for the religious exemption