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What was first monotheistic religion?


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#1    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

Marduk? Ever been true monotheistic God?
Ahura Mazda? Same question as above.
Akhenatnens Aten? Seems to me that there is debate is Akhenathen or Zarathushtra first monotheist.
It seems to me that is hard to tell since no one realy agree when Zarathushtra lived.
Yahwe? (Judaism. Btw is chatolic Yahwe monotheistic because of holy trinity in the first place?)

From wiki:
Two examples of monolatrism developing from polytheism are the Aten cult in the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, as well as the rise of Marduk from the tutelary of Babylon to the claim of universal supremacy.
In Iran, Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda appears as a supreme and transcendental deity. Depending on the date of Zoroaster (usually placed in the early Iron Age), this may be one of the earliest documented instances of the emergence of monism in an Indo-European religion.
In the ancient Near East, each city had a local patron deity, such as Shamash at Larsa or Sin at Ur. The first claims of global supremacy of a specific god date to the Late Bronze Age, with Akhenaten's Great Hymn to the Aten (speculatively connected to Judaism by Sigmund Freud in his Moses and Monotheism). However the date of the Exodus is disputed, and its not definitive whether the setting of the biblical Exodus event is prior to or following Akhenaten's reign. Furthermore it is not clear to what extent Akhenaten's Atenism was monotheistic rather than henotheistic with Akhenaten himself identified with the god Aten.
Currents of monism or monotheism emerge in Vedic India earlier, with e.g. the Nasadiya Sukta. In the Indo-Iranian tradition, the Rigveda exhibits notions of monism, in particular in the comparatively late tenth book, also dated to the early Iron Age, e.g. in the Nasadiya sukta.
Ethical monotheism and the associated concept of absolute good and evil emerge in Zoroastrianism and Judaism, later culminating in the doctrines of Christology in early Christianity and later (by the 7th century) in the tawhid in Islam. In Islamic theology, a person who spontaneously "discovers" monotheism is called a ḥanīf, the original ḥanīf being Abraham.


So Shamash at Larsa or Sin at Ur?

In the end what was most influental monotheism that influenced other religion?
Akhenatens aten was all but not influental.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Melo, 01 April 2012 - 01:40 PM.

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#2    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

Monotheism can involve a variety of Conceptions of God:
Deism posits the existence of a single god, the Designer of the designs in Nature. Some Deists believe in an impersonal god that does not intervene in the world, while other Deists believe in intervention through Providence.
Monism is the type of monotheism found in Hinduism, encompassing pantheism and panentheism, and at the same time the concept of a personal god.
Pantheism holds that the universe itself is God. The existence of a transcendent being extraneous to nature is denied.
Panentheism is a form of monistic monotheism which holds that God is all of existence, containing, but not identical to, the Universe. The one God is omnipotent and all-pervading, the universe is part of God, and God is both immanent and transcendent.
Substance monotheism, found in some indigenous African religions, holds that the many gods are different forms of a single underlying substance.
Trinitarian monotheism is the Christian doctrine of belief in one God who is three distinct persons; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.Wiki


I found my question about Christhian trinity. Anyway didnt knew that Deists are Monotheistics.

What do you think about substance monotheism? Wierd isnt?

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For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy..."

#3    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:18 PM

Maybe this should be in the religion subforum. ^_^

Edited by Melo, 02 April 2012 - 07:18 PM.

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For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy..."

#4    Drayno

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:24 PM

Judaism is generalized as the first widespread monotheistic religion.

"The ancient roots of Judaism lie in the Bronze Age polytheistic Ancient Semitic religions, specifically Canaanite religion, a syncretization with elements of Zoroastrianism and of the worship of Yahweh reflected in the early prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible."

Although in ancient Greece, there existed Ontology.

Ontology essentially means the study of one, in relation to one.

Historically, Heraclitus and Parmenides are credited with discussing the metaphysics involved in Ontology before the time of Stoicism and Neoplatonism. Although technically not a religion, one could imagine that it contributed to most concepts of modern monotheism.

However, Zoroastrianism is an ancient Iranian religion that follows the teachings of Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra. He's credited as being a wise and insightful philosopher. Philosophers of such renown like Socrates were eager to study his teachings, but alas the Peloponnesian War got in the way. Followers of Zoroastrianism are known as Magi; or Magicians - and they all believed in one transcendent god, Ahura Mazda. Zoroastrianism emerged around 2000 BC out of Indo-Iranian religious systems; I imagine pagan ones at that, so I would cite it, as it was one of the worlds largest religions in ancient times, as the predecessor to ancient Judaism.

Edited by Drayno, 02 April 2012 - 08:06 PM.

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#5    questionmark

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:37 PM

 Melo, on 02 April 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

Maybe this should be in the religion subforum. ^_^

Not really, your problem is that you have formulated the question wrong, what do you mean by Influential? What is your definition of monotheism (not as easy as it looks because if we take religions by their own definitions Hinduism is monotheistic, Christianism not)? And so on.

Somebody who keeps harping on Philosophy should be able to ask more precise questions.

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#6    DieChecker

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:50 PM

I thought Zoroastrianism was a dualistic religion, with a "good" entity, Ahura Mazda, and an equal and opposite "evil" entity, Ahriman.

Early Hebrew traditions are argued to be dualistic, with a male God and a female Goddess, ruling co-equal.

I'd probably pick Atenism as the first recorded, clear, monotheistic religion/god.

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#7    Drayno

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:00 PM

 DieChecker, on 02 April 2012 - 07:50 PM, said:

I thought Zoroastrianism was a dualistic religion, with a "good" entity, Ahura Mazda, and an equal and opposite "evil" entity, Ahriman.

Early Hebrew traditions are argued to be dualistic, with a male God and a female Goddess, ruling co-equal.

I'd probably pick Atenism as the first recorded, clear, monotheistic religion/god.

The presence of twin spirits; Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, means Zoroastrianism is dualistic, yes. But in the trend of most monotheistic religions, the evidence of two opposing sides shouldn't reduce its status as a monotheistic religion. Similar to Christianity, Ahura Mazda is God, and Ahriman is the embodiment of negativity; Satan. Although its opposition to monasticism is a good departure from Christianity's tenants.

Since Atenism came about under Ahemhotep IV around 1400 BC, it does have a very prominent age. Zoroastrianism's indications of existence came apparent in 600 BC to the western world in its recorded history. However, Zoroastrianism existed in oral traditions in the Iranian culture, I'm sure - from pagan-esque religions as far back as 2000 BC. So it is hard to place an exact age. Both are great examples of pre-Judaistic religions, however.

Edited by Drayno, 02 April 2012 - 08:09 PM.

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#8    Big Bad Voodoo

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:03 PM

 questionmark, on 02 April 2012 - 07:37 PM, said:

Not really, your problem is that you have formulated the question wrong, what do you mean by Influential? What is your definition of monotheism (not as easy as it looks because if we take religions by their own definitions Hinduism is monotheistic, Christianism not)? And so on.

Somebody who keeps harping on Philosophy should be able to ask more precise questions.
Who said Im a good in asking questions? :P
How can Hinduism be monotheistic?

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For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy..."

#9    questionmark

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:11 PM

 Melo, on 02 April 2012 - 08:03 PM, said:

Who said Im a good in asking questions? :P
How can Hinduism be monotheistic?

Well, see here: All Hindu gods are reincarnations of Brahma, so the same person, therefore monotheistic.

Now, The Christian God is three persons, father son and the bird, therefore as much monotheistic as Hinduism... or as polytheistic.

See, not as easy as you formulate it.

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#10    Drayno

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:28 PM

 questionmark, on 02 April 2012 - 08:11 PM, said:

Well, see here: All Hindu gods are reincarnations of Brahma, so the same person, therefore monotheistic.

Now, The Christian God is three persons, father son and the bird, therefore as much monotheistic as Hinduism... or as polytheistic.

See, not as easy as you formulate it.

What we do know is that wordplay is important in asking a philosophical question. As you said, the notion of an inherent spirit, or one god, divided up in various corporeal, or non-corporeal forms is as monotheistic as polytheism, or vice versa.

So let us ask. What makes a monotheistic god? Is it "His" various forms? Are they integral to his structure, or can he exist in those forms on a whim, for he is an all powerful god? And if "He" is all powerful, what are his powers or limitations? Do we define a monotheistic god based on said powers or limitations, or the lack thereof? What led these people in ancient Iran to be swayed by a "prophet" known as Zoroaster? What led the people of the middle-east to adapt the teachings of the "prophet" Jesus, despite the grasp of the roman empire? What led the people of the middle-east, again to accept the teachings of the "prophet" Muhammad? What led the people to embrace the underworld and death that was apparent in every day life; the struggle of society on a river, that was Egypt?

It seems that most monotheistic religions have similar catalysts; people who are pioneers in thought, and the conditions of the lives the people live. And as the conditions of people's lives are directly influenced by the harshness or bounty of their environment, we can consider this a major factor. For example, the differences of Egypt and Sumeria, and their stances on life. Sumer was bountiful do to the Tigris-Euphrates rivers, whereas Egypt had chaos with the Nile; flooding, droughts. Thus, the Egyptians had a very keen fascination with death, and theorized about the afterlife; and we can attribute this train of thought that influenced the Egyptian culture as been influenced by the chaos of the environment.

Edited by Drayno, 02 April 2012 - 08:36 PM.

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#11    DieChecker

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:36 PM

 Drayno, on 02 April 2012 - 08:00 PM, said:

The presence of twin spirits; Ahura Mazda and Ahriman, means Zoroastrianism is dualistic, yes. But in the trend of most monotheistic religions, the evidence of two opposing sides shouldn't reduce its status as a monotheistic religion. Similar to Christianity, Ahura Mazda is God, and Ahriman is the embodiment of negativity; Satan. Although its opposition to monasticism is a good departure from Christianity's tenants.

Since Atenism came about under Ahemhotep IV around 1400 BC, it does have a very prominent age. Zoroastrianism's indications of existence came apparent in 600 BC to the western world in its recorded history. However, Zoroastrianism existed in oral traditions in the Iranian culture, I'm sure - from pagan-esque religions as far back as 2000 BC. So it is hard to place an exact age. Both are great examples of pre-Judaistic religions, however.
But the Zoroastrian deities are equal, while Satan is simply the greatest of the servants, and completely within God's power.

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#12    DieChecker

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:40 PM

 questionmark, on 02 April 2012 - 08:11 PM, said:

Well, see here: All Hindu gods are reincarnations of Brahma, so the same person, therefore monotheistic.

Now, The Christian God is three persons, father son and the bird, therefore as much monotheistic as Hinduism... or as polytheistic.

See, not as easy as you formulate it.
I did not know that about Brahma. Learning Moment!!!!

People freak out when I point out that Christianity is a tri-part godhood. If you get right down to it, the angels fill the places of the various lesser gods of such pantheons as the Romans and Greeks and Egpytians.

The Norse Odin can be seen as a Monotheistic godhood also, as his people/children/followers only had the powers he allowed them to have. It is a stretch, but philosophy knows no hard limits.

Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.

At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Qualifications? This is cryptozoology, dammit! All that is required is the spirit of adventure. - Night Walker

#13    questionmark

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:44 PM

 Drayno, on 02 April 2012 - 08:28 PM, said:

What we do know is that wordplay is important in asking a philosophical question. As you said, the notion of an inherent spirit, or one god, divided up in various corporeal, or non-corporeal forms is as monotheistic as polytheism, or vice versa.

So let us ask. What makes a monotheistic god? Is it "His" various forms? Are they integral to his structure, or can he exist in those forms on a whim, for he is an all powerful god? What led these people in ancient Iran to be swayed by a "prophet" known as Zoroaster? What led the people of the middle-east to adapt the teachings of the "prophet" Jesus, despite the grasp of the roman empire? What led the people of the middle-east, again to accept the teachings of the "prophet" Muhammad? What led the people to embrace the underworld and death that was apparent in every day life; the struggle of society on a river, that was Egypt?

It seems that most monotheistic religions have similar catalysts; people who are pioneers in thought, and the conditions of the lives the people live. And as the conditions of people's lives are directly influenced by the harshness or bounty of their environment, we can consider this a major factor. For example, the differences of Egypt and Sumeria, and their stances on life. Sumer was bountiful do to the Tigris-Euphrates rivers, whereas Egypt had chaos with the Nile; flooding, droughts. Thus, the Egyptians had a very keen fascination with death, and theorized about the afterlife; and we can attribute this train of thought that influenced the Egyptian culture as been influenced by the chaos of the environment.

I would doubt that. It most probably all started with one "spirit" or god with a scope on a small tribe. With the evolution of society many tribes banded together or had a cultural interchange each bringing "their god" and that is how polytheism started. Egypt, Sumeria and similar are pretty late in the game. Try the time of Gobeliki Tepe, or 6000 years prior to Egypt and Sumeria.

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#14    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:44 PM

Even some polytheistic religions were basically monotheistic - there were many gods but you only worshipped your patron god.


#15    Leonardo

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:11 PM

If we are to include as allowed in our definition of Monotheism, the worship of various incarnations of one god (as in Christianity and Hinduism), then the earliest monotheistic religion was probably an unnamed pantheistic worship of nature/the universe as god. We might call it 'paganism' or 'shamanism', but it was essentially monotheistic - even if 'god' did (or could) incarnate in various forms in nature.

As for the most influential - that can be debated according to how one defines 'influential'. Judaism caused Christianity and Islam to come into being, so is it the most influential? Or is Christianity more influential because of it's global impact? I think this question is far more subjective than "which was first".

Edited by Leonardo, 02 April 2012 - 09:14 PM.

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