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Naturism

Naturism means the belief that the forces of nature have supernatural power. Andrew Lang and Max Muller develop the theory of naturism.

Max Muller, a great Sanskrit scholar, strongly advocates that the most ancient form of religious practice is naturism. Naturism, according to him, is primarily based on man's sensory experience out of which logical deductions are primarily made.

It is through sensory organism that man obtains the surfaced experience of reality on the basis of which he makes logical deductions. The sensory experience further helps man to distinguish animate from the inanimate objects. Therefore, religion is primarily a derivative of sensory experience. To them religious embodiments are seen yet unseen, observable yet unobservable.

For example, rain is visible but the caution of rain is not; sun is visible but its creation is greatly unknown to man.Therefore, out of reverence and dependency man greatly worshipped all the greatest powers of nature: sun, moon, air water without which man's life and living will is exclusively impossible. Therefore, man worships them out of fear, Out of dependency and as a token of respect. They further advocated that the first religious conception is derived from the personification of the natural phenomenon.

For primitive man nature was a vast domain of surprise, horror, miracle and unknown. But the great powers definitely hold the key to human survival and continuity. Man was so moved by the great powers of nature that he started personifying all these abstract forces and started worshipping them. Finally, they advocate that Ancestor Cult is a derived version of Nature Cult. Likewise, man was being apprehensive about his dead ancestors, started worshipping them thinking that their spirits, if worshipped, instead of being destructive can primarily be protective ones. So Ancestor Worship is a derived version of Nature Worship, according to scholars belonging to this school. Naturism is man's response to the effect of the power and wonder of nature upon his emotions.

There was some criticism of the evolutionary approach of religion. Though Taylor and Max Mullar came up with plausible reasons for certain beliefs being held by members of particular societies they do not necessarily explain why those beliefs originated at all. Nor can it be argued that all religions necessarily originated in the same way. Furthermore the precise stages for the evolution of religion do not fit the facts. As Andrew Lang points out many of the simplest societies have religions based on monotheism which Taylor claimed was limited to modern societies.