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Flibbertigibbet

Animism - polytheism - monotheism - atheism

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When the human race was young spirits were legion and numberless, and controlled every aspect of life and nature. Later this changed, and in the classical civilisations we have a dozen or so named gods with distinct personalities elevated above the myriad spirits and accorded special status. Later still these were whittled down to just one, with the others demoted to be his helpers. So from an uncountable multitude we went to a dozen or so, then one, and the next logical stage was none at all, or atheism. Perhaps these are all natural stages in our evolution and progression as a species. What's next?

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We're already at "next".

It's called 'humanism', where we are our own god.

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We're already at "next".

It's called 'humanism', where we are our own god.

I have a feeling it's going full cycle, and the next stage after that will be a type of revamped animism. Maybe it'll have a different name, like environmentalism.

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Posted (edited)

Meism.

Good is me, bad is you.

Survival of the fattest.

Edited by Eldorado

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I have a feeling it's going full cycle, and the next stage after that will be a type of revamped animism. Maybe it'll have a different name, like environmentalism.

Well, that would be nice.

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When the human race was young spirits were legion and numberless, and controlled every aspect of life and nature. Later this changed, and in the classical civilisations we have a dozen or so named gods with distinct personalities elevated above the myriad spirits and accorded special status. Later still these were whittled down to just one, with the others demoted to be his helpers. So from an uncountable multitude we went to a dozen or so, then one, and the next logical stage was none at all, or atheism. Perhaps these are all natural stages in our evolution and progression as a species. What's next?

What's next is the revelation that we have not been able to find god because we are looking at it in the mirror.

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Watch out, PA thinks this line of thinking is insulting. I tried telling him the same when it came to growth, he took it as an insult. :hmm:

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Posted (edited)

Watch out, PA thinks this line of thinking is insulting. I tried telling him the same when it came to growth, he took it as an insult. :hmm:

Perhaps you did not mean to be insulting then, but calling him out here in a different topic is nothing but insulting and low, and there is no need for it.

Edited by Odin11

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Perhaps you did not mean to be insulting then, but calling him out here in a different topic is nothing but insulting and low, and there is no need for it.

Actually it isn't. It is giving fair warning to the OP and anyone that posts in here. :no:

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When the human race was young spirits were legion and numberless, and controlled every aspect of life and nature. Later this changed, and in the classical civilisations we have a dozen or so named gods with distinct personalities elevated above the myriad spirits and accorded special status. Later still these were whittled down to just one, with the others demoted to be his helpers. So from an uncountable multitude we went to a dozen or so, then one, and the next logical stage was none at all, or atheism. Perhaps these are all natural stages in our evolution and progression as a species. What's next?

Or, respectfully, we have become so self aware that we naturally assume WE are god, just as Leonardo has stated. Even though we have answers for an infinitesimally few of our questions. I think it is a natural evolution in the sense that we have become "puffed up" with our pitiable cache of knowledge and therefore we have brought truth to Paul's statement to the Romans - Romans 1:22:Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

As a species we choose our own wisdom over what has been provided by God. Once the dust settles on our last great war against each other, God will return to enforce His will on the remnant. If He didn't we would perish. Proof of this is that it is written that humanity will attempt to make war with God Himself.

Considering the direction the world is heading in and the weapons we have at our disposal, I don't find those predictions too difficult to believe in.

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This line of thinking is problematic. It suggests that one type of belief is "more advanced" or "more evolved" than another. It suggests that one is more logical than another or that certain types of thoughts a "primitve." There is a lot of error in this type of thinking and many "primitive" religions seem much more logical than modern religions or methods of reasoning. And by the way this does not follow Darwin's theory of evolution unless you are using evolution in a different sense.

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[/b]

Or, respectfully, we have become so self aware that we naturally assume WE are god, just as Leonardo has stated. Even though we have answers for an infinitesimally few of our questions. I think it is a natural evolution in the sense that we have become "puffed up" with our pitiable cache of knowledge and therefore we have brought truth to Paul's statement to the Romans - Romans 1:22:Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

As a species we choose our own wisdom over what has been provided by God. Once the dust settles on our last great war against each other, God will return to enforce His will on the remnant. If He didn't we would perish. Proof of this is that it is written that humanity will attempt to make war with God Himself.

Considering the direction the world is heading in and the weapons we have at our disposal, I don't find those predictions too difficult to believe in.

I could quote "scriptures" from different religions that contradicted that, though.

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This line of thinking is problematic. It suggests that one type of belief is "more advanced" or "more evolved" than another. It suggests that one is more logical than another or that certain types of thoughts a "primitve." There is a lot of error in this type of thinking and many "primitive" religions seem much more logical than modern religions or methods of reasoning. And by the way this does not follow Darwin's theory of evolution unless you are using evolution in a different sense.

The "primitive" ones could be the better ones, and we have degenerated since then.

I never said anything about Darwin, who doesn't have a monopoly on evolution.

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The "primitive" ones could be the better ones, and we have degenerated since then.

I never said anything about Darwin, who doesn't have a monopoly on evolution.

You implied an "evolution" and did not state that ealier stages may have been "better." You did not say anything about Darwin but you also did not explain the term "evolution." There are many types of evolution and if you are going to use the term you should specify your definition or the theorist of whoms definition you are using. E. B. Tyler, who defined animism, used a totally different definition of evolution, the definition that Charles Lyell used. I do not want to put claims into your mouth but it might help to define what you mean better.

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You implied an "evolution" and did not state that ealier stages may have been "better." You did not say anything about Darwin but you also did not explain the term "evolution." There are many types of evolution and if you are going to use the term you should specify your definition or the theorist of whoms definition you are using. E. B. Tyler, who defined animism, used a totally different definition of evolution, the definition that Charles Lyell used. I do not want to put claims into your mouth but it might help to define what you mean better.

Evolution is a perfectly normal English word and doesn't need to be defined and restricted in terms of any particular theories. Everything evolves, including, say, fashion. That's got nothing to do with Darwin.

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Posted (edited)

Evolution is a perfectly normal English word and doesn't need to be defined and restricted in terms of any particular theories. Everything evolves, including, say, fashion. That's got nothing to do with Darwin.

Oh yeah...good point...an English word cannot have more than one meaning... :unsure2:

Well then let's put it this way... I reject your premise that there is any type of progression in religious beliefs in humans.

Oh and if everything evolves why does not the definition of evolution evolve?

Edited by HuttonEtAl

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Oh yeah...good point...an English word cannot have more than one meaning... :unsure2:

Well then let's put it this way... I reject your premise that there is any type of progression in religious beliefs in humans.

Oh and if everything evolves why does not the definition of evolution evolve?

Words always evolve in meaning. But if you're trying to say that the word "evolve" now only means survival of the fittest, you are incorrect.

The progression through time of religious beliefs is also quite clear.

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Words always evolve in meaning. But if you're trying to say that the word "evolve" now only means survival of the fittest, you are incorrect.

The progression through time of religious beliefs is also quite clear.

Including the several steps backwards taken about the time of the dark ages? Religion does not have a linear evolution, it flows backwards and forwards, sideways and curves around bends. More importantly, it often branches off in thousands of different directions, with there being representatives of the four types of belief you mentioned throughout history.

Like everything else we've come up with and thought it was the greatest thing ever, these ideas will pass as well. That's the great thing about evolution... there is no ending in sight so long as existence exists.

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Maybe a spiral would be a bit better fitting picture, as opposed to a line.

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Maybe a spiral would be a bit better fitting picture, as opposed to a line.

Yes... exactly!!

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Words always evolve in meaning. But if you're trying to say that the word "evolve" now only means survival of the fittest, you are incorrect.

The progression through time of religious beliefs is also quite clear.

I am not saying that the word evolve only means that. I was saying the opposite, which is why I said maybe you should explain what you mean by the word.

As for your second point I agree with what karmakazi said. There is no clear or progressive path that religion has taken.

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Posted (edited)

I have a feeling it's going full cycle, and the next stage after that will be a type of revamped animism. Maybe it'll have a different name, like environmentalism.

I disagree that we have to consider this evolution of philosophy cyclical. But all things are possible.

[/b]

Or, respectfully, we have become so self aware that we naturally assume WE are god, just as Leonardo has stated. Even though we have answers for an infinitesimally few of our questions. I think it is a natural evolution in the sense that we have become "puffed up" with our pitiable cache of knowledge and therefore we have brought truth to Paul's statement to the Romans - Romans 1:22:Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

As a species we choose our own wisdom over what has been provided by God. Once the dust settles on our last great war against each other, God will return to enforce His will on the remnant. If He didn't we would perish. Proof of this is that it is written that humanity will attempt to make war with God Himself.

Considering the direction the world is heading in and the weapons we have at our disposal, I don't find those predictions too difficult to believe in.

I did not suggest we would make ourselves our own god because I believe we overflow with our own hubris, and then.

We make ourselves our own god because we realise the rules we live by come from us - rather than be ascribed to originating from some nonhuman agency. If we as a species perish - it will be because of ourselves, not because some deity has lost patience with us. If we survive, it is because of ourselves, not because of being 'rescued' by an imagined saviour.

Our destiny lies within ourselves, not in what we imagine to exist so as to ease our fears of what might lie outside the light of the fire.

Edited by Leonardo

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Posted (edited)

When the human race was young spirits were legion and numberless, and controlled every aspect of life and nature. Later this changed, and in the classical civilisations we have a dozen or so named gods with distinct personalities elevated above the myriad spirits and accorded special status. Later still these were whittled down to just one, with the others demoted to be his helpers. So from an uncountable multitude we went to a dozen or so, then one, and the next logical stage was none at all, or atheism. Perhaps these are all natural stages in our evolution and progression as a species. What's next?

That's a fine observation, but I don't believe the evolution of spiritual beliefs is natural, or cyclical. I believe the increase in atheistic, or at least nonreligious, beliefs in the West is the result of safety and prosperity. People no longer feel a need to be "held back" by religion (which in the West's case has been relatively restrictive of certain behaviors), and want to live by [many of] their animal instincts. They can afford to abandon their religious beliefs, and the strength and hope that come with them. If the West were to return to 2nd century levels of wealth and security, I think most would become religious again.

Just my theory. I know there are some holes in it. I'm not saying irreligion/religion is right or wrong, by the way. I'm simply trying to explain why populations become nonreligious.

Edited by Parsip

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Including the several steps backwards taken about the time of the dark ages? Religion does not have a linear evolution, it flows backwards and forwards, sideways and curves around bends. More importantly, it often branches off in thousands of different directions, with there being representatives of the four types of belief you mentioned throughout history.

This is quite a eurocentric view. The dark ages refers mostly to the cultural and intellectual vaccuum created by the fall of the Roman Empire that lasted several centuries. Using the OP model of religious progression this could be viewed as the transition from polytheism to monotheism.

Progress can just refer to where it is placed on a time-line and doesn't have to imply improvement. Even within a monotheistic religion such as Islam, one could probably argue there has been a profound moral and intellectual reversal from the days of it's enlightenment.

I'm interested in your last sentence there. As far as I can think (which may be not that far) I can't think where that trend has been reversed in any continuous civilisation. For example from monotheism to polytheism. I'd be interested to know what exception there are (if any) to that.

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That's a fine observation, but I don't believe the evolution of spiritual beliefs is natural, or cyclical. I believe the increase in atheistic, or at least nonreligious, beliefs in the West is the result of safety and prosperity. People no longer feel a need to be "held back" by religion (which in the West's case has been relatively restrictive of certain behaviors), and want to live by [many of] their animal instincts. They can afford to abandon their religious beliefs, and the strength and hope that come with them. If the West were to return to 2nd century levels of wealth and security, I think most would become religious again.

Just my theory. I know there are some holes in it. I'm not saying irreligion/religion is right or wrong, by the way. I'm simply trying to explain why populations become nonreligious.

During the 2nd century the West was probably more secure and peaceful than it has been at any other time, including today. It was the period of the Five Good Emperors.

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