Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/449

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Totemism, and Religion. 413

belief in a God who receives worship, and more than the germ. In this, as in almost everything except two points, I follow Mr, Tylor, — " The figure of the supreme deity, be he Heaven-god, Sun-god, Great Spirit, beginning already in savage thought to take the form and function of a divine ruler of the world, represents a conception which it becomes the age-long work of systematic theology to develope and define."^^

On the other hand Mr. Howitt writes, — " it may be said that their beliefs," (the beliefs of " these aborigines ") " are such that, under favourable conditions, they might have developed into an actual religion, based on the worship of Mungan-ngaua or Baiame,"^^ Mr. Howitt manifestly thought that religion cannot exist without worship and that his tribes exhibit no worship.

Every man has his own definition, and I regard the belief in an All Father as religious in many cases. Thus I think that belief in, and obedience to the desires of, a creative being, dwelling above the heavens, is religious.

Mr. Spencer discovers and describes,^^ among the Kaitish of Central Australia, — a people who, as far as he tells us, are uncontaminated by missionary teaching, — a being, Atnatu, who " made himself," dwelling in other skies than ours, the Father of the Kaitish, who descend from rebellious sons of Atnatu. He sent them down to earth; he provided them with all that they have ; he expects from them obedience to his injunctions in the affairs of the mysteries. This belief is religious, in my opinion.

Lord Avebury says (p. 153) that "in the absence, how- ever, of prayers or thanksgiving, offerings or ceremonies, we may well doubt whether such a belief" (as I attribute to many Australian tribes) "really exists as a living faith." Yet he knows from Mr. Spencer's and Mr.

^^ Primitive Culture^ vol. ii. , p. 355.

^^ The Native Tribes of South- East Australia, p. 507.

^' The Northern Tribes of Central Australia, pp. 498, 499.