The Way Of The Way 347

According to the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), God created the universe and the first humans, Adam and Eve. Initially, Adam and Eve lived and tended to the Garden of Eden which has been variously described as a place of perfection; where there is no pain, suffering or death; a place of innocence, where Adam and Eve went about naked; where trees were pleasant to the sight and good for food; where Adam and Eve spoke with God and a serpent as they lived in harmony with nature and each other.

Their idyllic lives were akin to those of peoples in rudimentary societies. They were animists.

Animists view every thing (animate, inanimate and abstract) as interconnected and having a soul or spirit within it; animals, plants, the sun, stars, clouds, mountains, words, names, ancestors, stories, etc. all have a spiritual essence with which man can communicate and placate to realize harmony for the benefit of all.

God asked little of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden but not to eat the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. However, eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge they did. In turn, God banished them from the Garden, to live by their toils and wits to subjugate the world to realize their needs and desires. They were no longer to live in harmony with nature. Moreover, they no longer viewed things as interconnected and having a spiritual essence, but in terms of discrete classifications, good and evil. Thus began civilization. Classifications and generalizations ultimately evolved into rules and regulations, codified in the texts of the Torah (Old Testament), the New Testament and Quran.

Today, the world has adherents to Abrahamic and animist religions. Animist religions are generally practiced by indigenous peoples and in a large collective, Shintoism. As well, other major non-western religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism) embrace animist beliefs of interconnectedness and spiritual essences. Thus, some peoples are living in a gritty world, while others are still in the Garden of Eden.