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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. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Follow on from my post #25 in which i said...

    I would like to add, one of my hobbies is the study of cro-magnon man. There is not much evidence about their nomadic lives but they did leave excellent cave paintings.

    One would expect some indication of their deity in their work but no, what they held dear enough to undergo severe hardship to pain, etch, carve was animals and the hunt. Not gods, not icons of worship but animals.

    Did pre civilisation consider the food that sustained them to be worthy of worship and recording because it no big god made it into paint.

    635652163264052162-Photo3.jpg

    An image of a pre civilisation god?
     
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  2. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    animists generally see other living things--and often 'inanimate' part of the environment--as kin, as relatives with whom they have a relationship, in which humans are responsible to carrying out certain behaviors in that relationship and that the others in the environment carry out theirs...such as making themselves available through the hunt...

    It isn't about 'belief,' it's about practice...
     
  3. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    This is rather why I find the usual dictionary definitions of atheist and theist rather to imprecise to be useful, except in contexts that are shallow and lacking in nuances. @9-10ths_Penguin

    While the overwhelming majority of theistic world views include a God image, I don't see that as the sole defining feature of religion. There is ancestor worship, certain variations on Buddhism, animism, "space aliens", and such. Heck, all too often, I would put Communism(as practiced) in the category of religion.

    Then there's all the people who don't really believe in God as described by their religious communities. But in the interests of community, they pretend to do so. Maybe even to themselves. Plenty of solid members of religious communities are really apatheists or igtheist. But don't bother rocking a boat that they like, over something as unimportant as theological traditions. If people can't read your mind and God doesn't care, what's the point?

    So I don't think "believes in God(s)/doesn't believe in God(s)" is a particularly important distinction. "Believes in religion/ believes religion is fiction" seems more important.
    Tom
     
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  4. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    But I do think it became important in the past, perhaps as advanced in the study, or simply through social pressures (conquest, economics, etc.). God as an entity, and religion as an institution became important. And maybe, the growing recognition that God/Religion does not need to be one of the major institutions of society really is taking hold now...
     
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  5. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Well there you have it. The environment influences the religion. Low need for control in small groups as in hunter gatherers especially in complex environment - More complex environments seems to lead to more diverse polytheistic deities. In small groups social control is maintained by close relationships and knowledge of the others in the group. You do not need a god to moralize behavior. As population increases and the frequency of anonymous interactions increases the need for something to control behavior becomes increasingly important for social stability so you god develops moral demands. This god must provide the expected behavior within larger populations and even more so in highly hierarchal societies. God recognizes the king as rightful ruler. The moralizing god creates the rules to maintain the hierarchy and create as social stability - not necessarily a fair social structure. Increase the population more and the need for a personalized god becomes important. " I need a god that I can talk to because I have no control over the social status."
    Thus with increasingly complex hierarchal societies with increasing anonymity the greater need for a single moralizing god to support the hierarchal status but still give a feeling of connection to the individual who feels anonymous.
     
  6. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I have enjoyed Harvey Grahams books. The way I see the world is essentially animistic. For me the greatest error humans made was in believing we are separate from our world with religious ideology developed to support this view. For Europe the return with respect to the natural world develops with the increasing loss of the natural world. Now at the point of crisis many religions are not equipped to accept the reality of our dependent relationship with the life we share this planet. They fail to accept humans responsibility to the living and non-living of our world. The moralizing god they created never moralized about anything but what humans need neglecting the non-human world. How can they now have their god who has been set in words change views to include the rest of the world?
     
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  7. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    God or not it is a picture of a different relationship of the artist with the world around them. They were intimately connected with their environment to live in which they would have a different religion view which would include a respect of other life.
     
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  8. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    In their world they were interdependent with the life around them. It would be hard to imagine the would not have respect for an animal like a bear which can also be seen later in the relationship with goddesses such as Artio depicted from stature found in Bern Switzerland as well as with greek goddesses, Mielikki in Finnish pre-Christian beliefs as well as the Sami of Scandinavia.
     
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  9. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    the 'larger' gods no longer were attached to place, or even to particular people. The estrangement of the other kindreds from humans did not occur all at once, and still in many places is not complete, but it is difficult in modern society to practice animism...at least in my experience and opinion...
     
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  10. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    I suppose it depends on how you define "big gods." If you define them as the gods of the major religions, gods which have survived until today, then yes.

    But I would argue that a/the Fertility Goddess is a major archetypal Goddess that appears all around the world. Usually she is associated with agrarian societies. But idols of her are among the oldest artwork known to humanity, and the European Paleolithic “Venus figurines,” range in age from 23,000 to 25,000 years, well before the agrarian revolution.
     
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  11. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    So what happened to the fertility goddess in time. Why was the female aspect of fertility and connection to the earth lost in the western world?
     
  12. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    The concept of the Divine changed from primarily feminine to male. I am not sure, but I would suggest hypothetically that this had to do with the discovery that pregnancy was related to sex. But who knows. Quite honestly, worship of the Divine as Goddess hung around for a long long time. Israelites were still worshiping her right up until the Babylonian captivity. Greeks, Romans, Celtics, Hindus, all hand goddesses in their pantheon, although in truth that's a little bit different when there are many. New Agers are seeking to revive belief in the Goddess, although hoestly it is in a modern sort of way, so you might even say that belief in her has never died out, even though it has become a minority in competition to belief in a male deity.

    My only problem with a female ferility goddess is that she is too small a representation of the Divine. And not because she is female: both male and female are equally arbitrary, as God transcends gender. It's because she is reduced to an empowerment of fertility, when in fact God is all powerful, etc. She is just too small.
     
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  13. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    I see no evidence to include so. It is simple appreciation for the natural world around us. Is the Mona Lisa the picture of a goddess?
     
  14. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    Answer part 2:

    Also I think that the change from a female understanding of the Divine to a male understanding has to do with the advent of the Jewish concept of God as moral lawgiver. I'm not trying to box the sexes into stereotypes, but traditionally speaking, woman have been seen as more compassionate, and men as more objective, and therefore more in line with a law giving God. From Judaism, this male God spread through Christianity, and then Islam, Deism, etc. until the general concept in the west became male.
     
  15. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I believe it is too. My point was that most religions and religious depict gods, of every single one of the tens if thousands of images pre the earliest organised religions no gods were depicted
     
  16. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Veteran Member

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    I didn't say it did.

    What I DID say, is that we ONLY have examples of humans creating gods and NO examples of gods creating humans. Or any gods actually existing at all - let alone those gods actually doing anything.

    So....
    We HAVE empirical examples, proof, of humans creating gods.
    We have NO examples of actually existing gods and no evidence or examples of gods doing anything.

    So why would we entertain the idea of gods existing?

    Maybe let's move away from the "god" subject, as that is clearly clouding your judgement here...

    Let's replace "gods" with things like centaurs, unicorns, leprechauns, etc.
    Because the exact same logic applies here...

    When it comes to such creatures, we also ONLY have evidence of humans inventing them.
    Does it mean that none of those creatures exist or existed? Nope.

    But it DOES mean that the only evidence we DO have concerning them, is of people inventing them.

    So, considering that that doesn't prove they don't exist, does that mean that we can now rationally entertain the idea of them existing?

    I submit that you haven't lost any sleep lately pondering the possibilities and / or implications of centaurs being real, did you?


    And the ONLY reason for that being untestable / unobservable, is because they are unfalsifiable. Just like the unicorn. And also because you can't prove a negative.

    You can NEVER prove that something does NOT exist unless its very definition is internally inconsistent / self-contradicting. But barring that, you can never prove something doesn't exist, because it could always be the case that you've just been looking in the wrong place and simply haven't found it yet.

    This is why the burden of proof is always on the positive claim of existance.

    So if you wish to claim that gods are real (as opposed to inventions of humans), then you have a burden of proof there.

    So far, the only evidence we have is of humans inventing gods.
    And I go by the evidence.
     
  17. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Veteran Member

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    Good job missing the point and distracting from what is actually said.
    It is well-motivated, BECAUSE OF THE EVIDENCE.

    Iniflation theory is based on evidence.
    A multi-versie is a prediction that naturally flows from inflation theory.
    The theory is well motivated - it's based on evidence.
    That evidence extents to the predictions it makes.

    So there is no direct evidence of a multi-verse, but there IS indirect evidence - through inflation theory.

    I'm not talking about mere compatability. I'm talking about a prediction naturally flowing from the model.
    That's way beyond mere "compatability".

    Just like it is impossible to provide evidence that there are no centaurs, unicorns, leprechauns, teapots in orbit around mars, bigfoots, lochness monsters, etc.

    Again,positive claims of existence are the claims with the burden of proof.
    Non-existence is assumed until existence is demonstrated.

    Or do you believe that an undetectable dragon follows you around everywhere? After all, it's virtually impossible to provide evidence that no such dragon exists.........

    Where did I use speculation? Be specific here. Quote me and point out the speculation.

    Where did I do otherwise?
     
  18. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Correct.

    Because we simply can't discount the possibility.

    Actually sometimes we can.

    Agree.

    Agree, but I haven't done that.
     
  19. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    That evidence only suggest that it could have happen, which is still a far cry for having evidence that it did happen.

    Yep.

    You keep missing my point, as I am not insisting that there's evidence for deities.

    I'm a scientist, now retired, and my point is that one simply cannot discount possibilities if one doesn't have the convincing evidence that they don't exist. This is simple basic science.

    Thus, I m not saying they exist, but neither am I saying they don't exist, and the simple reason is that it is beyond our objective capabilities.

    Thus, if someone says they don't believe in deities, I don't have one iota of a problem with that. OTOH, if someone says they believe in deities, I don't have a problem with that either because who am I to tell them that they don't as that would be very presumptuous on my part?

    And if someone says "I experienced God(s)", who am I to say that this could not have happened? Yes, it's "kosher" to question them on that, and it's obviously acceptable to doubt that they actually experienced as such, but wouldn't it be extremely arrogant and condescending for me to insist that they couldn't have experienced as such? Do I experience everything you experience? Of course not, but that also doesn't mean that I have to blindly accept your supposed experience either.

    In science, a large part of what we do is to keep an open mind, thus not discounting that which we really don't, and maybe can't, know. As Confucius supposedly said (paraphrased): the more you know, the more you know you really don't know.
     
  20. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    No. Monotheists are good at claiming that the gods of others are fiction. I don't believe that Shiva and Thor are fiction. I don't even believe that Yahweh is fiction.
     
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