The beginnings of religion
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21-08-2015, 03:22 PM (This post was last modified: 21-08-2015 03:30 PM by f stop.)
The beginnings of religion
The supernatural is, by definition, that which is not understood. The minute you understand it it ceases to be supernatural. In ancient times people understood almost nothing. Their knowledge was empirical. The knew the seasons came and went; they did not know why. They knew the sun rose and set; they did not know why. They knew they got sick; they did not know why. But they knew they could cause things through their own efforts. They could make tools. They could fashion weapons. The could plant and harvest crops.

They concluded that if they could make things, then greater beings could (and must have) make greater things, even the universe. It's a leap but an understandable one. The gods (or god) made the seasons. The gods pushed the sun around. The gods made them sick.



“The gods make us sick?”

“Why?”

"We must have offended them."

"How?"

"Maybe they want a share of our stuff?"

"OK. So let them have part of it."

"Good idea. How do we get it to them?"

"Beats me. But it has to be a way that we can't get it back."

"How about we burn it?"

"Sounds good."

LATER.

“Hey. We're giving them ten percent and we're still getting sick.”

“Yeah. Maybe it's not what we have but what we're doing.”

“Like what?”

“Something that feels good.”

“Masturbation?”

“Well, that too, but something else.”

“What! Sex? We can't give that up.”

“Maybe if we just cut back.”

STILL LATER

“We're still getting sick.”

“Well, I don't think we're ever going to figure it out. Let's just get together once a week and yell 'We're sorry! We're sorry for whatever we did.'”

“I think we should assume some sort of subservient position while we're doing it.”

“Let's build a special building for it. Just in case it rains. We can tell them it's theirs.”

Sapere aude
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21-08-2015, 03:32 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
(21-08-2015 03:22 PM)f stop Wrote:  The supernatural is, by definition, that which is not understood. The minute you understand it it ceases to be supernatural. In ancient times people understood almost nothing. Their knowledge was empirical. The knew the seasons came and went; they did not know why. They knew the sun rose and set; they did not know why. They knew they got sick; they did not know why. But they knew they could cause things through their own efforts. They could make tools. They could fashion weapons. The could plant and harvest crops.

They concluded that if they could make things, then greater beings could (and must have) make greater things, even the universe. It's a leap but an understandable one. The gods (or god) made the seasons. The gods pushed the sun around. The gods made them sick.



“The gods make us sick?”

“Why?”

"We must have offended them."

"How?"

"Maybe they want a share of our stuff?"

"OK. So let them have part of it."

"Good idea. How do we get it to them?"

"Beats me. But it has to be a way that we can't get it back."

"How about we burn it?"

"Sounds good."

LATER.

“Hey. We're giving them ten percent and we're still getting sick.”

“Yeah. Maybe it's not what we have but what we're doing.”

“Like what?”

“Something that feels good.”

“Masturbation?”

“Well, that too, but something else.”

“What! Sex? We can't give that up.”

“Maybe if we just cut back.”

STILL LATER

“We're still getting sick.”

“Well, I don't think we're ever going to figure it out. Let's just get together once a week and yell 'We're sorry! We're sorry for whatever we did.'”

“I think we should assume some sort of subservient position while we're doing it.”

“Let's build a special building for it. Just in case it rains. We can tell them it's theirs.”

Agreed.

Yet you have left out the priests. They were the businessmen who cashed in on the credulity. They still are.
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21-08-2015, 04:04 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
The question of priests is a bit like the "top-down" or "ground-up" feathered-dinos-to-birds debate.

Did someone come up with the idea to be a priest and then make religion? Or did it happen the other way around?

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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21-08-2015, 05:32 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
Hitch takes a pretty good stab at this idea.


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21-08-2015, 05:34 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
(21-08-2015 04:04 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  The question of priests is a bit like the "top-down" or "ground-up" feathered-dinos-to-birds debate.

Did someone come up with the idea to be a priest and then make religion? Or did it happen the other way around?

That's actually a rather settled debate, religion absolutely came first, spirituality has permeated our social life since the earliest of eons. It likely started off as nature worship and evolved into more complex forms over time. Organized religion is a naturally evolved invention of civilizations. I'd wager that the rulers of ancient civilizations genuinely believed the religions they represented while simultaneously wielding it as tool of power.

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21-08-2015, 07:55 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
I believe the earliest religions were rooted in animism and pantheism. As society and civilization progressed, it adopted structure and with it the delegation of roles.

(22-08-2015 07:30 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  It is by will alone I set my brows in motion it is by the conditioner of avocado that the brows acquire volume the skin acquires spots the spots become a warning. It is by will alone I set my brows in motion.
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22-08-2015, 04:24 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
SKY CAKE!
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22-08-2015, 04:49 PM
RE: The beginnings of religion
(21-08-2015 04:04 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  The question of priests is a bit like the "top-down" or "ground-up" feathered-dinos-to-birds debate.

Did someone come up with the idea to be a priest and then make religion? Or did it happen the other way around?

I think it was a mishmash of our pattern-perceiving tendency, which is more often a positive survival trait, and our need to be able to work as a group and so have a hierarchy of some group members telling other group members what to do. A hierarchy reinforcer of "I notice the patterns the best, so follow me," is "I notice the patterns the best BECAUSE GOD TOLD ME, so follow me." And it feeds on itself from there.

My own personal theory, though, not something researched.
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