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Featured "Big Gods Came After the Rise of Civilization, Not Before"

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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  2. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    So atheism will destroy civilization? :eek:
     
  3. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    interesting article...it fits with what I've long thought, but doubted could ever be conclusively demonstrated...
     
  4. Shadow Link

    Shadow Link Active Member

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    What if what really happened was that the children kept getting smarter throughout time, they began asking to many unexplainable questions, so the stories had to keep getting more advanced that even most adults began being trapped in those stories for decades on end without ever seeing a revelation from most of them?

    Imagination is important for discovery and advancements. Maybe that's where it might have been headed. Something must trigger it.
     
  5. Spartan

    Spartan Well-Known Member

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  6. Left Coast

    Left Coast Well-Known Member
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    Fascinating analysis. This seems to be another nail in the coffin to the idea that societies need a God concept to cohere or cooperate ethically.

    It also reminded me of the observation historians of religion have made that animism/polytheism predated and gave rise to monotheism, via henotheism (the transition from henotheism to monotheism can even be seen in the Bible).
     
  7. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    I think it's quite possible that spiritual beliefs in moralizing gods and/or forces of supernatural reward and punishment emerged after civilization, to help solidify multiethnic polities.

    Religions tend to respond to the enviromental factors, material conditions, intellectual currents and social mores of the societies that birthed them.

    It makes sense to me that mobile hunter-gatherer bands and simple societies, concerned predominantly with the survival of closely-related kith and kin, would have less need for supernal, omniscient deities concerned with the minutiae of their ethical decisions.

    By contrast, the researchers are surely right in their hypothesis that divinely ordained personal morality was far more conducive to the needs of large settled, agricultural societies, as a means of fostering good citizens - which isn't exactly the same as good tribesmen.

    A fascinating thought.

    With that being said, I also think there's a wealth of persuasive archaeological evidence - for instance from the Neolithic cite of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey - suggesting that the advent of mass religious rituals characterised by developed symbolic systems or mythologies were an essential precursor to the rise of civilization and did precede it (I think the article also alludes to this) but this is, of course, distinct from belief in big moralizing deities.

    So, I'd personally say that "religion" (organised sacred community rituals undergirded by fairly sophisticated theologies) probably did play an essential midwife role in the birth of civilization but that theism may well not have, with moralizing "gods" being perhaps more a phenomenon of complex societies as the OP article intimates.

    The character of these primitive religious systems were likely animist or shamanistic (like, say, the Kami of Japanese Shinto), for all we know, as opposed to strictly theistic. It's hard to be sure what these people actually believed, given that we're talking about a time before any written records.
     
    #7 Vouthon, Apr 8, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
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  8. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Mankind created God.

    That's why there are so many gods. And why gods keep getting more sophisticated and invisible as human become more sophisticated and aware.

    People keep reinventing gods in their own image.
    Tom
     
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  9. ManSinha

    ManSinha Well-Known Member

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    I think the quote from the Nasadiya Sukta of the RigVeda 10:129 (purportedly composed around 3500 years ago at the same time as the Torah) is relevant in this discussion
    It sums it up rather well I think - not bad for individuals existing 3500 years ago (emphasis mine)

    yáṃ vísr̥ṣṭir yáta ābabhū́va
    yádi vā dadhé yádi vā ná
    yó asyā́dhyakṣaḥ paramé víoman
    só aṅgá veda yádi vā ná véda

    Whence all creation had its origin,
    the creator, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
    the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
    he knows — or maybe even he does not know.

    It is interesting that the deities in the Vedas are the elements Varuna (wind) Agni (Fire - gets pride of the place) and Indra (Rain)
     
    #9 ManSinha, Apr 8, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
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  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I think they are not prepared to deal with the data, yet. It states they are just "Starting to get some answers," which is another way of saying they still haven't got a map and compass going.
     
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  11. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Here's a likely scenario: Suppose that a general conquers a large territory and becomes a barbaric king founding a dynasty amidst chaos and bloodletting. He might be very bloody and not at all interested in morality. That barbaric king then has children, and everyone in the country will work hard to urge some kind of morality onto those children. In the interest of having a stable country they will do this, making the children as extreme and as perfected as possible. I think in recent millennia we see this, sometimes. Then these children will expect the rest of the country to also reform, and since they are royals they have the influence to do so. That could be one cause of a religion which urges morality. I think Confucianism probably would be the most obvious to fit into this scheme.
     
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  12. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    The database is one thing. But I find that page to be in part disjointed and not proving the main contention. For example, from where did they get the idea that Buddhism was based on moralizing gods or necessarily divine figures. What does Buddhism say about the idea of God? Best answer: 'it's complicated." Are Buddhists theists, atheists or non-theists? Does it even matter? - Buddha Weekly: Buddhist Practices, Mindfulness, Meditation versus

    The numbers in the circle represent the number of thousand years ago we find the first evidence of belief in moralising gods. For example, Emperor Ashoka adopted Buddhism

    Since I as a non-scholar but one who has studied some on all the major religions could so easily find a flaw in the article, I assume that other parts are similarly weak.
     
  13. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    @sun rise I think the operative wording in the article is the statement: "either demand belief in all-seeing punitive deities or at least postulate some kind of broader mechanism – such as karma – for rewarding the virtuous and punishing the wicked."

    It's talking about religions with moralizing gods or a similar albeit more impersonal / amorphous concept such as karma, which still nonetheless entails moral consequences after death for actions and is part of a larger ethical-metaphysical worldview (although without being necessarily theistic, as with the atheistic or transtheistic Jainism).

    Early animist or shamanist religions were quite different from these kinds of later, more elaborate theologies.
     
    #13 Vouthon, Apr 8, 2020
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  14. Spartan

    Spartan Well-Known Member

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    Nope.
     
  15. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    And why would I believe you on this subject?
    Tom
     
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  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    This to me, is like reading what some people write about evolution. There is a lot of conjecture and a liberal amount of assumption, with very little proving the point. Are guesses the same as facts? :shrug: What did the study actually find, compared with what they wanted to find?......

    "early efforts to investigate the link between religion and morality provided mixed results.....These regional studies, however, were limited in scope and used quite crude measures of both moralising religion and of social complexity......Even if Seshat cannot provide easy answers to all these questions, it could provide a more reliable way of estimating the probabilities of different futures." Really?

    As long as humans live, unbelievers will try to explain away the need for God. Religion it seems, is fast disappearing as science and archeology try desperately to create doubt about the existence of the Creator God. To be a believer these days is like announcing to the world your lack of intelligence. :rolleyes: Yet to me, the existence of a Creator is the only intelligent explanation to all that we see in this material world, in this vast material universe. He has left us a guidebook for those who are interested in what he has planned for us on this small speck of a planet.

    I believe that the Bible explains everything from start to finish...including man's excursions into worshipping things that don't exist.

    That there is one Big God who created all things and who designed humans to learn, with him as their teacher.....unfortunately they chose someone else to teach them, and he has led the majority of humans away from that one Almighty God, splitting him up into more manageable, less powerful (less threatening) deities. But just because his intelligent creation got too big for their collective breeches and decided that they could do things better without him, doesn't mean that he won't finish what he started......he stepped back and allowed them to reap what they had sown. Object lessons work best.

    Look at the world right now and see.....this is what humans have accomplished trying to do things 'their way'. Have they done better without him...or is the world in a right mess just as he said it would be? o_O
     
  17. atanu

    atanu Member
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    I have doubt regarding the red highlighted part.

    Whose translation you are using? brahmA, the creator is the mind -- it is not the Seer that surveys from the highest heaven - parame vyom- the supreme space. In Upanishads, Rudra is the Seer of Hiranyagarbha Brahma's birth. Rudra, the Seer, sees the birth of Hiranygarbha-brahmA, the mind, and subsequently sees the birth of all deities in mind. The point is that the existence of the Seer of the Universe cannot be denied ever. The Seer IS. When the Seer withdraws itself into Brahman, there is no Universe.

    I reproduce below a few translations.


    7. Whence all creation had its origin,
    he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
    he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
    he knows - or maybe even he does not know.
    (नासदीय सूक्त (ऋग्वेद ) - nAsadIya sUkta (Rigveda ) : Sanskrit Documents Collection)

    7.That one, out of which the creation came
    May hold the reins or not,
    Perceiving all from above, That one alone
    Knows the beginning – may not know too.
    (Rayalu Vishwanadha)
    ...

    Hinduism, particularly the Vedas and the Darsanas, does not accord the Supreme status to the Creator, which is the mind, subservient to the Seer-Self-Brahman. brahmA, the creator, is not worshipped except at one temple.

    ...
     
    #17 atanu, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Yeah, that person, Prajapati Parameshthi as mentioned in the records* was simply brilliant. In the verse before this, he says,
    "the gods themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen?".
    He also connects existence to non-existence in a Quantum Mechanic way when he says,
    "Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent."

    Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 10: HYMN CXXIX. Creation.
    * Katyayana Sarvanukramani Saunaka Anuvakanukramani : Macdonnell : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive


    For me, 'Nasadiya Sukta' is the most beautiful of all in RigVeda. Kindly note that 'Nasadiaya' is not the only hymn which talks in this way the next hymn 10.130) also is similar and so are a few others too.
     
    #18 Aupmanyav, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  19. Spartan

    Spartan Well-Known Member

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    The Word of God in Genesis refutes you. God created mankind.
     
  20. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    My question was not, "Why do you believe it?", I already knew that.

    It was," Why should I believe that?"
    I don't find you particularly an authority on reality. Quite the opposite, actually.

    Same with Genesis, the God image in Genesis is extremely different from the ineffable Trinity of standard Christianity. This sort of internal inconsistency is proof(compelling evidence) to me that the Bible is fiction, nothing to do with God.

    Tom
     
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