Based upon what this course’s curriculum both demands and expects of us, I will examine the Indigenous Religions with a more analytical approach. Another term for an Indigenous Religion is an Ethnic Religion, and that is a religion associated with a particular ethnic group or ethnicity, (a category of people who identify with each other based upon similarities such as common ancestry, language, society, culture, or nation). Such religions are frequently distinguished from religions that claim to not be limited in ethnic or national scope, such as Christianity or Islam. Ethnic religions are not only independent religions. Some localized denominations of global religions are practiced solely by certain ethnic groups. For example, the Assyrians have a unique denominational structure of Christianity known as the Assyrian Church of the East. Likewise, Judaism encompasses the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people, and the nation that is most dominated by Judaism is Israel; and what gives it away the most is the Jewish Star of David in the center of the Israeli flag. There are also a number of alternatives that have been used instead of “ethnic” or “indigenous” religions to describe these ethnically-derived systems of religious beliefs. The term “primal religion” was first coined by Andrew Walls in the University of Aberdeen back in the 1970s to provide a focus on non-Western forms of religion as found in Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Terms such as “primal religion”, “primitive religion”, and “tribal religion” have been contested by Walls’ student, Jim Cox, who argues that such terms can suggest an undeveloped religion which can be seen as a preparation for conversion to Christianity. Cox just prefers to use the term “indigenous religion”. Another term that is also often used is “folk religion”. While “ethnic religion” and “folk religion” have overlapping issues, the latter term implies “the appropriation of religious beliefs and practices at a popular level”. The term “folk religion” can therefore also be used to speak of Chinese and/or African indigenous religions, but can also refer to popular expressions of more multinational and institutionalized religions such as Folk Christianity or Folk Islam. Ethnic religions are distinctive in their relationship with a particular ethnic group and often in the shaping of one’s solidarity with an ethnic identity. Some ethnic religions include Hinduism of the Indians, Judaism of the Jews, Shenism of the Han Chinese, Shinto of the Japanese, and a ?at Roog of the Serer of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania. Diasporic groups often tend to maintain ethnic religions as a means of maintaining a distinctive ethnic identity, such as Hinduism among diasporic Indians in the Caribbean, and/or the role of African traditional religion among African Americans. Some of the ancient and/or antique ethnic religions, such as those that are historically founded in pre-modern Europe, have found new vitality with Modern Day Paganism. Moreover, non-ethnic religions such as Christianity have been known to assume ethnic traits to an extent that they serve a role as an important ethnic identity marker. A notable example of this is the Serbian “Saint-Savianism” of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Based upon all of this research and from that I have learned, if I had to form my own definition of an Ethnic Religion, it would be that it is a religion that is most commonly practiced by, and/or embodied in, a specific ethnicity, but is also sometimes practiced by other cultures without necessarily having to be a part of the same culture. The developmental approach to the study of these religions is to maintain and improve a sense of curiosity and willingness to learn what they profess to teach and/or preach. I suppose that how Humanity experiences these religions all depends upon what they all go through, their own personalities and characteristics, and the like, especially if they think that what they’re going through can challenge what they believe in, religiously. In the case of Judaism, how it can be studied could be traced back to its historical roots. In addition, the Torah and Talmud, as well as the Hebrew Bible, (or otherwise known as the Old Testament of the Holy Bible), were written by the ancient Jews and are also read by the ethnoreligious Jews, but are also read by those who practice Judaism without exactly being of Jewish ethnic decent. A “cosmic religion”, however, according to Albert Einstein, “the religion of the future. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description.” So according to Einstein, Buddhism is considered a “cosmic religion”.Based off of what we learned and discovered from the videos and all our research, because these earliest religions were embodied by early man, dating back to the most ancient of times, they certainly believed that SOMETHING created the universe. They just didn’t have the right terms or knowledge to describe it correctly.In religion, “initiation” is a rite of passage that marks the entrance and/or acceptance into the religion you’re practicing. It can also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense, it can also signify a transformation in which the initiate is “reborn” into a new role. Examples of such initiation ceremonies might include the Hindus’ own diksha, the Christian baptism and/or confirmation, the Jewish bar or batmitzvah, and so on and so forth. A person taking the initiation ceremony in traditional rites is called an initiate. As a personal example, I was one such initiate when I was two; that was when I was baptized in a Christian church, specifically a Methodist denomination, down in Visalia, California – and I was again last March, when I was finally confirmed in my current church, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepard, down in the Corale de Tierra area of Salinas, CA.Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcedental changes and energies into this world. A shaman is the one who is regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing. Because tribes are usually separate from most of society, shamanism is the tribe’s way of healing and acquiring wisdom and guidance outside of our worlds.Way back when, hunting and gathering was Humanity’s first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least ninety percent of Human history. Because animals were the great majority of what Humanity hunted and gathered way back when, early Man had to pray to whatever deity they believed in to forgive them for killing and eating the animals they hunted. Humanity didn’t have any of the tools and/or foods needed to help survive back then as we do now.Because agriculture is a way of harvesting and caring for certain plants, specifically vegetables, it brought about changes in how Man started caring for what herbs they used in their meals and spices, what they used in sacrificial rituals, and so on and so forth.What women have to do in hunting and gathering is basically all about caring for their newborn children, as they needed to survive just shortly after birth. This changed greatly when technology, agriculture, and all of our methods and techniques started improving as Humanity improved and evolved over time.The video “Animism – Native American Religion” was very fascinating. It provided a very interesting perspective of said religion and their beliefs and practices, as well as those who embodied it way back when. Likewise, the video “Marcellus ‘Bear Heart’ Williams” gave us an intriguing look at the beliefs and practices of some of the Indian tribes resident here in America, and how the animals that are seen throughout “contribute” to their beliefs. One could also tell that fire has a large role to play in what they practice. And the video “The Dawn of Religion: Documentary of the First Beliefs of Ancient Peoples” has a WHOLE LOT to say, as well. It’s amazing to know how vast all those ancient first belief systems are, and what they believe in and practice.