Of Pygmies and Religious Evolution

Jean-Pierre Hallet writing about Pygmies and the evolutionary claim that monotheism evolved from polytheism:

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“Darwin theorized that primitive people — or “savages,” as he called them — do not and cannot envision a universal and benevolent creator. Schebesta’s excellent study … correctly explains that the religion of the Ituri Forest Pygmies is founded on the belief that “God possesses the totality of vital force, of which he distributes a part to his creatures, an act by which he brings them into existence or perfects them.”

“Scientists still accept or endorse the theory of religious evolution propounded by Darwin and his nineteenth-century colleagues. They maintained that religion evolved from primitive animism to fetishism to polytheism to the heights of civilized Judeo-Christian monotheism. The Ituri Forest Pygmies are the most primitive living members of our species, yet far from being animistic, they pooh-pooh the local Negro tribes’ fears of evil spirits. “If darkness is, darkness is good,” according to a favorite Pygmy saying. “He who made the light also made the darkness.””

And regarding the use of fetishes, the Pygmies viewed as

“superstitious nonsense the Negroes’ magico-religious figurines and other so-called fetishes. They would take an equally dim view of churchly huts adorned with doll-like statues of Jesus and Mary. This would be regarded as idol worship to the Ituri Forest Pygmies, who believe that the divine power of the universe cannot be confined within material bounds. The authors of the Hebrew Old Testament would certainly agree, since they observed the well-known commandment forbidding “graven images” or idols.”

~Pygmy Kitabu (New York: Random House, 1973), 14-15 qtd in The Darwin Effect: It’s influence on Nazism, Eugenics, Racism, Communism, Capitalism & Sexism by Jerry Bergman (Master Books, 2014), p.183-184 (incorrect form of “its” occurs in original title)

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