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Shamnism. The root of religion


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#16    White Crane Feather

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:23 AM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 25 May 2012 - 12:49 AM, said:



I do not have pdfs for websites but the books I would recomend are Eight Theories of Religion and Introducing Religion both by Daniel L. Pals. After I move (June 1st) I may even be able to scan the pages but I would recomend simply buying the books if you are that interested in it. You could also try searching for E. B. Tylor and J. G. Frazer.

You can probably find a lot about reductionism just by googling it. Basically what it is is trying to find an answer by bringing it to a single specific point. For example people have tried to find the origin of religion by reducing it down to society, economics, politics, mental disorders, ect. Some ideas even get more specific than this. Their main problem is that it appears that some things, such as religion, cannot be boiled down to a single thing but covers many things. The theories also fall apart when people actually go and study different religions (such as in anthropology.) They find that religion does not "progress" from a starting point to an ending point but that all types are found at all different times. If you want some very basic knowledge it appears wikipedia has some (though I always do question them, but some of their info is good.) Here are a couple wikipedia links that will get you started. Let me know if you need any specifics or have any questions. I may not be able to answer then but as a Religious Studies major this stuff is the basis of my degree...


http://en.wikipedia....s_George_Frazer
http://en.wikipedia....ki/Reductionism

Cool thanks I'll probably go ahead and buy the books. They seem like good additions to my library. I'm not a big fan of reductionism either, but  its useful to a degree but is incapable of anslyzing transcendent effects. Ill see what they have to say about where religions come from... But it will be a hard sell, but I'm open to it if the logic and evidence is sound. I'll let you know.

Edited by Seeker79, 25 May 2012 - 01:24 AM.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#17    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:34 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 25 May 2012 - 01:23 AM, said:

Cool thanks I'll probably go ahead and buy the books. They seem like good additions to my library. I'm not a big fan of reductionism either, but  its useful to a degree but is incapable of anslyzing transcendent effects. Ill see what they have to say about where religions come from... But it will be a hard sell, but I'm open to it if the logic and evidence is sound. I'll let you know.

Well spoiler alert...the conclusion is we do not know, still today. We also do not have a universally accepted definition of religion. What the books did was offer many different views and helped me understand people's beliefs better. They start with the earlier theories of religion and then progress to the newer ones. You will see that right off the bat you do not agree with many of them. But the ones you do agree with will lead you to new things. For me, it led me towards anthropology.

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#18    eight bits

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:24 AM

That's an unsatisfactory place to leave the point. Yes, of course, the origins of religion are controversial because religion evidently emerged before writing.

The affirmative case for early shamanism is that its core feature, direct spiritual experience, explains an enormous amount of religion with very few additional assumptions, and needs no specific level of material wealth or culture. That people have direct experience is a well documented ground fact. It is easier to explain beliefs about an afterlife, for example, founded on the experience of "talking" with survivors (as people report having done) than with woo-woo theories that all humans fear non-existence (which is not at all universal) or that all religions offer non-extinction, despite some frankly offering personal extinction as their good outcome.

Another thread of evidence is that the oldest religious documents we have often depict direct spiritual encounters. The oldest surviving Greek religious material, like the Odyssey, shows men who are not clergy dealing directly with gods. The oldest Hebrew material (possibly older than the Hebrews as a distinct people) is the beginning and end of Job, which depicts direct human conversation with God. Gilgamesh has his experiences unmediated. And even late material has Odin consulting the crows Hugin and Mugin, suggestive of some earlier strand of Hermetic-shamanic lore poking through.

Where I would part company with Sheldrake is to impute shamanism to late religious developments, like Jesus or Mohammed. These people are plainly building on an existing  written revelation tradition, to which they are adding more of the same. What I would say instead is that the core feature of shamanism, direct spritual experience, presents an ongoing challenge to religions founded on "somebody else's spiritual experience" being read from a book, written by priests and addressed to other priests.

Priests (official sacrifice presiders) do require a certain level of material wealth and culture. Even if shamanism is not the earliest human religious expression, a good case can be made that it is earlier than full-time clerical ritual workers presiding at destructive sacrifices held at permanent installations.

So, while any account of religious origins will be controversial, the case for primal shamanism is not casual, and at least very early shamanism seems secure. A brief statement in a YouTube video cannot be mistaken for a scholarly treatise. The position advanced in the OP video can be supported, and is fully respectable. Compared with some theories (religion began with the universal human frustration that not everybody can be Richard Dawkins), it is a slam dunk.

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#19    White Crane Feather

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:03 PM

View Posteight bits, on 25 May 2012 - 09:24 AM, said:

That's an unsatisfactory place to leave the point. Yes, of course, the origins of religion are controversial because religion evidently emerged before writing.

The affirmative case for early shamanism is that its core feature, direct spiritual experience, explains an enormous amount of religion with very few additional assumptions, and needs no specific level of material wealth or culture. That people have direct experience is a well documented ground fact. It is easier to explain beliefs about an afterlife, for example, founded on the experience of "talking" with survivors (as people report having done) than with woo-woo theories that all humans fear non-existence (which is not at all universal) or that all religions offer non-extinction, despite some frankly offering personal extinction as their good outcome.

Another thread of evidence is that the oldest religious documents we have often depict direct spiritual encounters. The oldest surviving Greek religious material, like the Odyssey, shows men who are not clergy dealing directly with gods. The oldest Hebrew material (possibly older than the Hebrews as a distinct people) is the beginning and end of Job, which depicts direct human conversation with God. Gilgamesh has his experiences unmediated. And even late material has Odin consulting the crows Hugin and Mugin, suggestive of some earlier strand of Hermetic-shamanic lore poking through.

Where I would part company with Sheldrake is to impute shamanism to late religious developments, like Jesus or Mohammed. These people are plainly building on an existing  written revelation tradition, to which they are adding more of the same. What I would say instead is that the core feature of shamanism, direct spritual experience, presents an ongoing challenge to religions founded on "somebody else's spiritual experience" being read from a book, written by priests and addressed to other priests.

Priests (official sacrifice presiders) do require a certain level of material wealth and culture. Even if shamanism is not the earliest human religious expression, a good case can be made that it is earlier than full-time clerical ritual workers presiding at destructive sacrifices held at permanent installations.

So, while any account of religious origins will be controversial, the case for primal shamanism is not casual, and at least very early shamanism seems secure. A brief statement in a YouTube video cannot be mistaken for a scholarly treatise. The position advanced in the OP video can be supported, and is fully respectable. Compared with some theories (religion began with the universal human frustration that not everybody can be Richard Dawkins), it is a slam dunk.
I agree.. Totally actually. :)

The simple fact that we have very similar visions today that are written about from religious figureheads speaks volumes.

What really brought it home to me one day was I happen to catch a Christian movie about.... Jhon I think. ( correct me if im wrong) The writer of revelations. I'm watching these sequences where he is having his visionary experiences, and I can totally relate.


"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-




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