In Bondage To Fear
Animists believe they will suffer consequences inflicted by spiritual beings unless they appease those spiritual beings. The animist is not as afraid of offending God as he is of falling out of favor with a local spirit. Animists live in continual fear that a spirit-being might take revenge upon them through accident, injury, loss or broken relationships. Thus, the animist is constantly trying to appease these spirits by making offerings to them and by giving worship and obedience to them.
The animist’s fear is fed by animistic leaders, such as witches, sorcerers, witch doctors and others. These leaders wield great personal power over those who believe in animism. Animistic leaders frequently make “pacts” with demons, are often themselves possessed by demon spirits, and use this demonic power to control or punish others. Demons use these tactics in order to deceive people into believing that demons have ultimate power. Remember, the goal of demons is to torment and deceive humanity – to lead them away from God and away from a saving faith in Jesus Christ (John 8:44; Eph 6:12; 2John 7; Rev 12:9) – and to keep people in bondage to Satan.
Animistic societies have other “spiritual leaders” – such as diviners, medicine men, rainmakers, herbalists, seers, and priests of local religions. Though these leaders may appear to have a positive function, it must be noted that they, too, are empowered by demonic forces.
These demonic forces want to deceive people into putting their faith and trust in the demonic realm, rather than in salvation through Jesus Christ, before Whom “every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10, 11; see also I Corinthians 8:5, 6).
- Mystical Powers
Animism places individual spiritual power higher than doctrinal and moral truth. This “spiritual power” is used in an attempt to gain personal and selfish desires. Animism may include a belief in personal spirits who are looked upon as “mediators” between people and God, and who are thought to control natural events. The animist will attempt to appease these spirits in order to receive favorable help in a given situation.
Animists believe that impersonal forces (such as rain, wind, floods) or physical objects can be controlled or influenced by rituals or incantations. These rituals are also believed to have a kind of power that can be used to obtain a person’s desires.
Animists use forms of divination to attempt to discover how to please or avoid offending a spirit, or to try and discover the future. Some common forms of divination are: astrology; reading tea leaves, palms, tarot cards, or the internal organs or bones of an animal; attempting to contact the dead; interpreting dreams or “visions”; or the demonic possession of a person (usually a shaman) by what is believed to be an ancestral spirit.
Animism also involves the widespread use of magic, including: “black” magic (used by witches and sorcerers to hurt people and promote evil and tragedy); “white” magic (used to try and protect people from black magic); protective amulets; mystical powders, herbs and stones; incantations ; scrolls of paper upon which are written formulas for success or protection , etc.