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A religion's original theology.

an anarchist

Your local anarchist.
I'm reading a book on ancient Roman religion right now. It is focusing on the time from Rome's founding to about 170 years down the road from then. It is about the OG Roman religion, before it was influenced by foreign religions, such as Greece's vast pantheon. It is different then the popular image of a hellenized Roman religion. It was a step above animism, if my understanding of the author's view is correct. They believed in Numens, essentially spirits that resided over natural objects. But these spirits did not have a direct and intimate relationship with man's plight, nor are they so personal. Again, if I understand correctly.

Anyways, it got me thinking. I see it often said on this site that Christianity and Judaism were influenced by hellenization. The resurrection myth and so forth come from foreign religions. The religions influenced each other's development. So, if the religions we see today are a result of religions and cultures changing each other's development, then what did the original religions look like?

what did the initial Hebrew people believe? The Bible says that God was with them since the beginning, they were the OG monotheists. But what did the historical Hebrews believe? Were they perhaps animists or polytheists?

If you know anything about how a certain religion is, absent of foreign influence, please post about it here! And let's also talk about how religions ultimately influenced each other to what we see in the modern day.
 

Exaltist Ethan

Bridging the Gap Between Believers and Skeptics
I'm reading a book on ancient Roman religion right now. It is focusing on the time from Rome's founding to about 170 years down the road from then. It is about the OG Roman religion, before it was influenced by foreign religions, such as Greece's vast pantheon. It is different then the popular image of a hellenized Roman religion. It was a step above animism, if my understanding of the author's view is correct. They believed in Numens, essentially spirits that resided over natural objects. But these spirits did not have a direct and intimate relationship with man's plight, nor are they so personal. Again, if I understand correctly.

Anyways, it got me thinking. I see it often said on this site that Christianity and Judaism were influenced by hellenization. The resurrection myth and so forth come from foreign religions. The religions influenced each other's development. So, if the religions we see today are a result of religions and cultures changing each other's development, then what did the original religions look like?

what did the initial Hebrew people believe? The Bible says that God was with them since the beginning, they were the OG monotheists. But what did the historical Hebrews believe? Were they perhaps animists or polytheists?

If you know anything about how a certain religion is, absent of foreign influence, please post about it here! And let's also talk about how religions ultimately influenced each other to what we see in the modern day.
It started with animism. Some religions kept animism, like Shinto, while others focused on the unity of God. The number of Gods went from the thousands as all things were connected to the spirit world, to paganism, and focusing on key characteristics of abstract ideals, like the harvest, love and war. The number of Gods kept going down as people started to realized that all things are connected. Now there is a good amount of people who either believe in one God or hold trinitarian viewpoints. I myself am a trinitarian pantheist, with the Godhead of The Omniverse, Entropy and Extropy. I still say however that I only believe in one God, but I do not worship or pray to this God. Instead, as according to the Earthseed model, I try my best to attend to and shape this God whenever I am called to do so.

I believe that both animism and monotheism are theologies of the future, not the past. After the Omega Point is achieved by our species the syntheism of creating and developing God will be done and we'll live in an animistic monotheistic reality, where there will still be one God, the Syntheos of The Omniverse, but each individual will have its own eternal soul and forever live in a reality that will never cease to end. This is the core of my beliefs as an Earthseed shaper and creator of Exaltism. It's funny that we need to look towards to the past to understand the future. I consider animism to be a crude, rudimentary form of omnitheism, which is the belief that each and every identity is itself a God, similar to pantheism, but pluralistic rather than monistic.

Physics and chemistry already proves that we're all made up of the same things, so I tend to side with the monists, however, it is more than probable as our technology advances that reality becomes pluralistic as it may be possible to take essences of other verses and apply them to this reality, including the creation of spirits, souls, ghosts, etc.
 

Exaltist Ethan

Bridging the Gap Between Believers and Skeptics
This chart is not perfect, but it does a good job explaining where religion comes from and how things progressed since then.
 

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Ella S.

Dispassionate Goth
The original Israelites were a sub-sect of the Canaanites. The Aramaic name for God we transliterate into Latin characters is "elohim" which comes from the Canaanite god, El Shaddai. El Shaddai continues to be used in Abrahamic religions as a name for God sometimes. "God" comes from a similar Germanic word; both El and God can refer to any male deity and yet are used as a proper name for "the God" in monotheism.

They were polytheists. Eventually, El began to absorb the traits of the other gods, some of which became angels and others became epithets or aspects of himself. Mot, for instance, became malak ha-mawet, later Samael ha-Satan, whose identification with the Yetzer Hara gave rise to the Christian Satan. Yahweh, the tutelary deity of the Judaites, merged with Elohim through religious syncretism during the Babylonian captivity, giving us the Hebrew name of God, "Yahweh Elohim" (which English Bibles translate as "Lord God.")

Notice how other gods do exist in the Tanakh. They're false gods, but they still have power and perform actions. The Egyptian gods performed miracles, other Mesopotamian gods even best the Hebrew God. Having no gods before Yahweh Elohim probably meant more like a ban on the worship of foreign deities, especially in the context of the rest of the passage. It isn't until later that they became strict monotheists.

So then the question becomes, where did the Canaanite religion come from? Well, Canaanite religion is a Semitic religion and, even more generally, a religion of the ancient Near East. Like other ancient religions of the Near East, it's proposed to have its root in the Proto-Indo-European religion.

The Proto-Indo-European religion seemed to have been a blend of polytheism, animism, and magic in a way that these three aspects cannot be completely divorced from one another. They overlap heavily, making the boundaries between them blur. Is worshiping the earth and sky a form of animism or polytheism? That's where Yahweh Elohim originates; he was a personification of the sky in this earlier religion, and only one of many natural features of the world to be personified. These personifications were increasingly deified with time.

So if we follow the pattern backwards, does that mean that we arrive at animism? That seems to be the most likely case. Digs into even earlier forms of religion in that region give us an insight into Neolithic and even Mesolithic religious practices, all the way back into the stone age, which seem to portray a form of shamanic animism.

It's even speculated that hallucinogenic mushrooms may have been used for the purpose of convening with these spirits, based on the descriptions of elixirs found in some of the oldest texts we have on the subject. So the root of religion might literally just be drug trips and magical thinking.
 

idea

Question Everything
I thing tribal conflicts / wars are also a source of religion. Exaggerations, our warriors are giants, are wizards, our warriors can walk on coals, on water - tribes get their mascot, try to scare neighbors with stories of .. their gods.
 
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