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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 533)...

    Is there an afterlife in animism? Without an answer, I would assume that the answer would be something to the effect that "One's life-force is simply re-inserted into the cycle of life, and one's energy sustains other lives. In practice, a deer continues life after being eaten by a mountain lion in the form of the mountain lion." That much I assumed is the animist afterlife. What I want to know is whether one's consciousness continues after death, as it does in the Christian interpretation of a "soul?"

    ...and the response:

    Animism has no dogma, no set of universally-accepted beliefs. You have to remember that if you were to visit an aboriginal people and ask them about animism, they wouldn't know what you were talking about. My description of animism (like every other description of it) is an abstraction of what I see in the attitudes of Leaver peoples scattered all over the world--peoples who aren't in communication with each other and who generally feel no need for precise theological answers. Although most that I know of are more or less constantly interacting with the spirit world (in a very casual way), I've never encountered any with elaborately developed notions of an afterlife as such.


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