Edward Burnett Tylor was born in 1832 and passed away in the year 1917. He was the founder of modern academic discipline of anthropology. Tylor belonged to a generation of academics and was raised in a religious family. He was a well-educated individual who began his own career in fieldwork in Mexico and ended up receiving and honorary doctorate from Oxford University where he was the keeper of the Museum. He eventually became the first Professor of Anthropology in Britain and later retired in 1909. Tylor had made different opinions on religion. He defined culture as a complex whole that consists of many attributes. Tylor also came up with an evolutionary view. This view was concerning culture and development and the fact that animism was
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“ Spiritual beings are held to affect or control the events of the material world, and man’s life here and hereafter; and it being considered that they hold intercourse with men, and receive pleasure or displeasure from human actions, the belief in their existence leads naturally, and it might be almost be said inevitably, sooner or later to active reverence and propitiation.” (Tylor, page7) Thus Tylor states that Animism includes the belief in souls and in future state controlling deities and spirits. Tylor proves the existence of Animism by explaining the causes of sleep, dreams and death. There naturally aroused need to distinguish between and individual who was awake and one who was asleep, or an individual who lived and one who did not. There was a need to give a reason to the pictures they saw in their dreams and so the spirits were the explanation. Like Tylor regarded animism as the most primate stage in the evolution of religion. It is the contemplation of dreams and trances and the observation of death led primate peoples to conceive of the soul and of human spirits. I agree with his theory because it proves that the belief in animism led to the definition of more generalized deities and eventually to the worship of one single god. Again comparing this to the religion of Hinduism, Hindu’s didn’t believe in one single god, however they believed in several different forms of god as one.