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Anomalocaris

The Origins of Religion

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Frank Merton

I think (by which mean, "this is my opinion, folks") that religion originated in animism.  We nowadays draw a line between the living and non-living, as well as between the sentient and non-sentient and between the intelligent (us) and others (although we allow a few species very limited access to that club).

These are modern distinctions taken from modern science.  Even a couple hundred years ago it was thought life could spring from non-life (spontaneous generation) so the distinction was only beginning to be recognized.

The so-called "primitive" did not see the world that way.  He or she was in a sense less arrogant -- but in this case maybe mistakenly so.  The idea was then that everyone shared our sentience, our intelligence, even, although in different ways.  Tolkien, who was an expert on Medieval English thinking, reflects this -- trees may be slow but they have strengths and intelligence and emotions.  This was also the case with rivers and mountains and many animals (especially horses).  Nowadays we see horses as certainly sentient and willful, but not overly bright.

So what if a tree or a mountain or whatever is slow or otherwise different from us?  We regardless assume (this is an automatic assumption we seem to have to unlearn in our early youth) that they are "like" us in having emotions, feelings, thoughts, motives (including sometimes nasty ones) and so on.  Therefore it just behooves us to be polite to them -- to doff our hat hand greet them and smile.  Who knows -- maybe one day in a landslide the mountain will remember, "Oh, that's the guy who was always so polite -- no point crushing him."

Where does this sort of thinking become religion -- in short, where does politeness to the inanimate become worship?   Since it is so hard to define "worship" (my bowing to the Buddha is called worship by a Christian, seeing it only in their terms and not realizing that the Buddha is dead over 500 years) -- so what is "worship" (religion) and what is custom or culture or respect is hard to say for sure.  In its pure form Buddhism (along with the great Chinese thinking traditions) would be called philosophy.  That they are in fact to most people religion is due to superstition, with the traditions don't bother to correct, knowing that those who get it will and the rest have eternity to figure it out, so no bother.

So I think the custom of being polite to a variety of objects developed specialists -- people who knew how to placate a mountain, say, if one were worried one might have offended it -- and this obviously developed into what we call witch doctors and other specialists -- which became that profitable thing -- being a minister or priest (priests in some churches who are not such profiteers evolved from that -- reaction against people making themselves rich with TV appeals.

 

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Lumpino

What a meditation about a name of a god or goddess and ask him/her what he/she thinking about? :rolleyes:

Like it done some bhaktiyogis (see for example Ramakrishna and his vision mother Kali), like it done some kabbalists (see book Sefer Raziel ha-malach for example), like it was in ancient mysteries (see Iamblichus of Chalkis, Mysteries ....and others)....

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Mr Walker
3 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

1. There is no evidence that people in what is now called Turkey were "worshipping" 10,000 years ago ... "worship" is a modern term ladened with modern 'religious' meaning, that derives from Old English 'weorthscipe' ... which can be understood simply as respect for something of worth (not including or limited to modern religion). 

2. Yes. See my post here:

... here: 
 

... here:

... which summarize my opinion that:

1. 'religion' is a very modern concept ... 

 2. that is dependent on an equally modern concept of 'supernaturalis' (above and beyond the laws of nature) that dates no earlier than the 13th century ... around the same time that the concept of 'religion' was being manufactured ...

3. these two modern concepts were then used to recontextualize the oral / written traditions, symbols, and rites of non Christian and non Western cultures ...

4. this recontextualization was purposeful and strategically implemented to erase from the collective memory something that (pre-Christian ascendency) oral traditions / written texts, symbols, and rites reflected and that was considered to be  of value / importance ... requiring mnemonic 'weorthscipe'. There's nothing inherently 'religious' about mnemonic rites and weorthscipe didn't have a sense of valuing something 'supernatural' or 'divine' until the 1300 century, at the same time that the term 'supernatural was first used and the concept of 'religion' was being manufactured.

Sorry you are simply wrong about the definition of worship.If you wish to redefine terminology to fit your theories you can, but you cant then expect an intelligent conversation with  those  who  have a different understanding.

Worship is an  old english word first recorded in about 1300 ad

But the idea behind it (or the concpet of worship ) goes back into the earliest human histories  It simply means a sense of reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being ie one WORTHY.  The original  word in old english  was  weordscipe  meaning a condition of being worthy. 

The idea that humans did not see the world in terms of supernatural's before this time is ridiculous, as anyone who reads babylonian or egyptian or early chinese writings will know.

  Early humans actually saw the world a s an integrated mix of the material and the spiritual ,with the supernatural being a part of the natural order of things. As i said dryads, sprites and nymphs etc were seen to inhabit nature a s real and powerful natural beings.  The sun moon earth etc were seen to be living powerful and intelligent entities as WELL as physical elements of nature. Sometimes they were out to get you, while other times they could be persuaded to help you.   Of course such beings /entities were seen as worthy of attention, reverence, prayer ritual etc How else could you plead for their intervention or propitiate their anger.  They were considered worthy long before christ was ever thoguth of. 

Maybe i dont get your argument. It is on the face of it so ridiculous as to be unsustainable. 

Edited by Mr Walker

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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

The idea that humans did not see the world in terms of supernatural's before this time is ridiculous, as anyone who reads babylonian or egyptian or early chinese writings will know.

And yet ... there is no comparable term for 'religion' in Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the common ancestor of Indo-European languages. Classical Greek has no term that functions as ‘religion’.The English word ‘religion’ had no direct equivalent in Arabic nor had the Arabic word dīn in English until the 20th century. The modern Chinese term zongjiao was first employed to mean ‘religion’ in the late nineteenth century. Japan had no word that signified 'religion' or 'supernatural' until the 1850s. Native Americans had none until after Christian colonization. And up until the 13th century, weorthscipe carried no 'supernatural' or 'religious' meaning. How do you account for this, besides dismissing it all as "ridiculous"?

Just because Western (Christianist) scholars saw it / see it there for the past 200 years, doesn't mean it was / is there. It's all hermeneutics ... the (conscious or unconscious) culturally conditioned lens you use as a perceptual filter. The evidence just isn't there to support premodern / ancient non-Western and non-Christian 'religion' or 'spirituality' or supernatural ideation, no matter how many times culturally-conditioned Christianist scholars insist that it's ridiculous to think it isn't there ... and yes, recontextualization is erasure and colonization. As i said before, there's nothing inherently 'religious' about mnemonic ritual. 

Remember, as early as 300-50 BCE, Babylonians were using advanced abstract mathematics (calculus / trapezoids) to track and measure the distance that Jupiter moved across the sky in a given length of time ... something that wasn't possible until the 14th century in religion / supernatural saturated Europe. Premodern folks weren't babbling about supernatural stuff ... they were using a mnemotechnical allegorical / symbolic language to record scientific observation / data / knowledge in dramatic narratives that frequently also had a social / moral code consistent with the scientific layer woven into the narrative. 

Edited by No Solid Ground
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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, No Solid Ground said:

And yet ... there is no comparable term for 'religion' in Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the common ancestor of Indo-European languages. Classical Greek has no term that functions as ‘religion’.The English word ‘religion’ had no direct equivalent in Arabic nor had the Arabic word dīn in English until the 20th century. The modern Chinese term zongjiao was first employed to mean ‘religion’ in the late nineteenth century. Japan had no word that signified 'religion' or 'supernatural' until the 1850s. Native Americans had none until after Christian colonization. And up until the 13th century, weorthscipe carried no 'supernatural' or 'religious' meaning. How do you account for this, besides dismissing it all as "ridiculous"?

Just because Western (Christianist) scholars saw it / see it there for the past 200 years, doesn't mean it was / is there. It's all hermeneutics ... the (conscious or unconscious) culturally conditioned lens you use as a perceptual filter. The evidence just isn't there to support premodern / ancient non-Western and non-Christian 'religion' or 'spirituality' or supernatural ideation, no matter how many times culturally-conditioned Christianist scholars insist that it's ridiculous to think it isn't there ... and yes, recontextualization is erasure and colonization. As i said before, there's nothing inherently 'religious' about mnemonic ritual. 

Remember, as early as 300-50 BCE, Babylonians were using advanced abstract mathematics (calculus / trapezoids) to track and measure the distance that Jupiter moved across the sky in a given length of time ... something that wasn't possible until the 14th century in religion / supernatural saturated Europe. Premodern folks weren't babbling about supernatural stuff ... they were using a mnemotechnical allegorical / symbolic language to record scientific observation / data / knowledge in dramatic narratives that frequently also had a social / moral code consistent with the scientific layer woven into the narrative. 

Thats just factually wrong. The latin word  describing religion from which the english word comes is religio.

This itself goes back probably to  the word  religare ( to  fasten or bind) although cicero thought it might come from  relegare (To reread or go over a text)

the ancient greeks used the word  deisidaimonia: a feminine noun meaning religion or superstition. 

In greek, religion is translated as thriskeia (θρησκεία). It derives from the verb throsko (θρώσκω) meaning look. It was first used by Homer (the oldest known greek author) and meant the respect of the people towards the gods.

Maize tomato and tobacco alll had no english words for them until the age of exploration yet they existed and were used by people.  it i the same for religion or worship    while the english words for these concepts might have evolved in the middle ages their roots and the concepts attached to those roots existed much earlier 

Here is a good article on babylonian religion and worship 

http://autocww2.colorado.edu/~toldy2/E64ContentFiles/ReligiousGroups/BabylonianReligion.htm

This piece from the following source explains WHY indo european languages had no specific name for religion.

http://forward.com/articles/10776/roots-of-religion/

 

To return to the word “religion,” it is a curious fact that, although all the ancestors of today’s Europeans had (like the ancestors of all the world’s inhabitants) what we would call religions, no ancient Indo-European language had a specific word for religion, Latin having been the first — which is why the great majority of modern European languages have some version of religio as their term for it. Probably this was because, precisely since religion was everywhere in the ancient world and no activity was divorced from it, it never struck anyone as a distinct aspect of life calling for a name of its own. There were names for specific gods, ceremonies, rituals, forms of worship, cults, sects, etc., because all these were discrete things; religion itself was the unnamed totality of them all, the forest that couldn’t be seen for all its trees.

It took the Romans, who in conquering the world were forced to become its first anthropologists, to realize that behind all this multifariousness was something about which it was possible to generalize. From its original meaning of “punctilious respect for the sacred,” religio came to denote any comprehensive human system of organizing and expressing such respect. Religio was, Cicero wrote, cultus deorum, “the worship of the gods.” Whether he was also right about where the word came from would appear to be anyone’s guess.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/10776/roots-of-religion/

Thus   in reality  the evidences for ealry religions and worship are everywhere. It was so common that no one ever distinguished it with a specific word. It was inseparable from  everyday life and nothing was done without consulting the gods or spirits. We can see the same thing anthropologically in the primitive peoples found and studied in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries .Native australians have a had a strong religious and worshipful connection to the land and its spirits for over 40000 years We are lucky that this belief system and its connection to spirits and nature is still known, documented, and indeed lived and believed, by some modern  aboriginal people.   

Ps i can see where you got this theory from But what is it which appeals to you about it ?  The idea that the "primitive savage" was some how more rational and scientific in thought than  the religions of abraham?  that somehow christianity and associated beliefs are aberrations in a long period of rationalism and  logical thought?

 Fraid not  They are simply extensions and evolutions of much earlier human beliefs  

 

Ps the baabylonian interest in astronomy went back much further to  at least 1800 BC BUT the reason the y were interest init was in part religious

 In connection with the planets, the Babylonians appear to have been motivated by religious-philosophical reasons to take note only of isolated events, such as a planet's first and last appearances in the sky. Such occurrences were taken to have astrological significance: they might foretell human fate. There is no evidence that the Babylonians, unlike the Greeks, came up with any geometrical model of the cosmos. Even so, at the height of its creativity, in the so-called Seleucid era, around 600 BC, Babylonian astronomy could predict planetary motions with surprising accuracy, thanks to careful observations and the fact that from ancient times the Babylonians had a powerful mathematical tool in the sexagesimal system of numbers – a place-value system based on 60 that we still use.

The Latin names of the signs of the zodiac as we know them today are translations of the old Babylonian constellations.

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/Babylonian_astronomy.html

Edited by Mr Walker

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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

Thats just factually wrong. The latin word  describing religion from which the english word comes is religio.

This itself goes back probably to  the word  religare ( to  fasten or bind) although cicero thought it might come from  relegare (To reread or go over a text)

the ancient greeks used the word  deisidaimonia: a feminine noun meaning religion or superstition. 

In greek, religion is translated as thriskeia (θρησκεία). It derives from the verb throsko (θρώσκω) meaning look. It was first used by Homer (the oldest known greek author) and meant the respect of the people towards the gods.

Religio had a variety of common meanings, none corresponding to the modern concept of religion, nor making a distinction between religious and secular. The original meaning included nuances such as rite, protocol, decorum, sense of reserve, scruples, rules, and law - none of which are inherently ‘religious’. Several modern scholars favor the derivation re (again) and ligo from (connect), but this shouldn’t be assumed to mean connecting with anything supernatural; it should be understood as a reestablishment of a connection with social order, consistent with the established and common usage of the term previous to that time.   And as I'll make clear in the next post, it was a connecting with the natural world and the celestial mechanics that drives it ... actual physical / energetic properties ... not spooks, ghosts, fairies, demons, etc ...

This new supernaturalized definition of religio was then used by Christian scholars to translate the Hebrew terms huqqah and dan, (now understood to have simply meant statute, custom, or enactment); the Greek term threskeia (now understood to have meant simply rite or duty); and the Arabic term dīn, from which the Hebrew term dan derives (now understood to have meant simply custom, social transaction, social order, and law). As a result, these terms came to be newly regarded as carrying religious / supernatural meaning also.

Edited by No Solid Ground
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Dhurfjooydig
22 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

 

1 hour ago, No Solid Ground said:

And yet ... there is no comparable term for 'religion' in Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the common ancestor of Indo-European languages. Classical Greek has no term that functions as ‘religion’.The English word ‘religion’ had no direct equivalent in Arabic nor had the Arabic word dīn in English until the 20th century. The modern Chinese term zongjiao was first employed to mean ‘religion’ in the late nineteenth century. Japan had no word that signified 'religion' or 'supernatural' until the 1850s. Native Americans had none until after Christian colonization. And up until the 13th century, weorthscipe carried no 'supernatural' or 'religious' meaning. How do you account for this, besides dismissing it all as "ridiculous"?

Just because Western (Christianist) scholars saw it / see it there for the past 200 years, doesn't mean it was / is there. It's all hermeneutics ... the (conscious or unconscious) culturally conditioned lens you use as a perceptual filter. The evidence just isn't there to support premodern / ancient non-Western and non-Christian 'religion' or 'spirituality' or supernatural ideation, no matter how many times culturally-conditioned Christianist scholars insist that it's ridiculous to think it isn't there ... and yes, recontextualization is erasure and colonization. As i said before, there's nothing inherently 'religious' about mnemonic ritual. 

Remember, as early as 300-50 BCE, Babylonians were using advanced abstract mathematics (calculus / trapezoids) to track and measure the distance that Jupiter moved across the sky in a given length of time ... something that wasn't possible until the 14th century in religion / supernatural saturated Europe. Premodern folks weren't babbling about supernatural stuff ... they were using a mnemotechnical allegorical / symbolic language to record scientific observation / data / knowledge in dramatic narratives that frequently also had a social / moral code consistent with the scientific layer woven into the narrative. 

 To return to the word “religion,” it is a curious fact that, although all the ancestors of today’s Europeans had (like the ancestors of all the world’s inhabitants) what we would call religions, no ancient Indo-European language had a specific word for religion, Latin having been the first — which is why the great majority of modern European languages have some version of religio as their term for it. Probably this was because, precisely since religion was everywhere in the ancient world and no activity was divorced from it, it never struck anyone as a distinct aspect of life calling for a name of its own. There were names for specific gods, ceremonies, rituals, forms of worship, cults, sects, etc., because all these were discrete things; religion itself was the unnamed totality of them all, the forest that couldn’t be seen for all its trees.

 

Our premodern (pre christian) ancestors referred to the subtle moving patterns and processes that rhythmically dance within this totality as “spirits,” (more accurately, as "winds") though it’s important to note that much meaning is lost in the translation of their words for “spirit” (wind) into English as they are filtered through the modern mystified under­standing of the word. 'Essences" would be a more accurate translation.  In modern society, the word “spirit” has taken on a vague supernatural meaning as humans have lost sight and sense of the moving nature of existence, and this vague supernatural understanding has been projected onto premodern people's understanding of existence and their organic place in it.  We should understand “spirits” in premodern traditions as dynamic agents of change: the fluctuating processes and essences that are unique to all forms of energy, matter, life, and place. There’s nothing supernatural about these vibrant influences. Like the electromagnetic communication between bumblebee and flower, shifts in humidity and temperature throughout the day, ripples in the geomagnetic field that all of life are embedded in that also ripple through our mind and body ... they’re just the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, dynamic properties of Earth and sky in action. These elemental essences, or ‘spirits’, energetically infuse and inspire us with their life. They richly reveal what we’re missing. If we're aware of them, they inform and warn. They move us and we learn to move with them in beneficial and wisely moderated ways. We can be receptive to them rather than numb to or barricaded against them, so that we can benefit from them or minimize their nega­tive effects. When we stop ignoring them, or imposing supernatural definition, or attempting to control them, they’ll reveal a layer of life and potential that we’re blind to.

The understanding that there are unseen physical / energetic properties (essences / winds) that permeate the natural world, and us, energies that we may access, moderate, and align with if we’re aware, is pervasive around the world. In Ancient Greece, “daemons” were unseen forces that offered wisdom to the receptive. They weren’t viewed as discrete beings, but rather as “peculiar modes,” to use Walter Burkert’s phrase (Burkert 1985, 180) ... fluctuating conditions in the meta environments we're innately embedded in. Daemons were deeply linked to nature: to trees, waters, the land, and the sky. Only after the 12-13th century, after nature came to be regarded as “other” and demonized, was the word distorted to take on the meaning of evil, though a shade of its early meaning was retained in Gnostic Christianity as the “breath of God” found in all things and in the mystified “Holy Spirit” (holy meaning entire or whole, and spirit meaning breath or winds...movement)—both originally describing the dynamic wholeness of existence within which tiding patterns / processes and energies / essences rhythmically pulse and flow.

Ancient Rome co-opted the Greek notions surrounding daemons in their philosophy of numen, which refers to the wisdom or natural potential within an object, including stars and planets.

Across the Pacific, from Hawaii to New Zealand, the word mana is used to describe an energy that’s inherent in all things. Similarly, the Japanese Shinto term kami refers to essences within natural objects. Kami are often understood to have a dual nature: one benevolent (nigi-mitama) and one that disrupts (ara-mitama), regenerating and degenerating. In Tibet, the term drala is defined as natural essences that are available to us underneath the cloud of delusions that narrow and dull our vision.

In the Americas, the Aztec term teotl and the Inuit silla had meanings very similar to mana: a formless “breath" or winds that underlies all of nature. Like kami, both teotl and silla could have destructive as well as beneficial aspects.

In ancient Persia, these essences were referred to as dhawat, and understood as gateways to a deep understanding of nizam-i hasti, the fluctuating order of the cosmos and the natural world.

Across the African continent—from Egypt, where, to this day, ritual phrases are spoken to recall and become attuned to the dynamically fluctuating “spirits” of place; to Nigeria, where the Yoruba ashé indicates a profound sense that the natural world is alive with energies; to the southern African sangloma tradition—awareness of “spirit” as a reflection of natural / celestial patterns and processes and their organic effects is widespread.

All these cultures engaged (and some continue to engage) in mnemonic ritual ceremonies (awareness exercises) that enabled them to step out of the blinding conceptual mind and narrow identifications of self to open channels of communication and to cultivate awareness relationships with these physical properties, patterns, and energies that animate the natural world and all of existence. In this way we discover our own dynamic place within these patterns and energies, and sense how they are moving us and all of life ... biologically and energetically ... for example, the cycles of the moon regulate cardiac rhythms and solar storms increase metabolism. 

It’s useful to invite the ‘spirits’ to ‘speak’ to us. In some Native American cultures, before a piece of land was used, it would be the center of a ceremony that had the specific purpose of inviting the land to ‘speak’, and then the land would be closely observed and ‘listened’ to, sometimes for as long as ten years, before it was used. Land rituals enabled elder cultures to cultivate a clear relationship with the land and the relationships that exist within the land, rather than just its surface or parts, an example of the union of ritual and practicality. There wasn't anything 'supernatural' in this and it wasn't religion or spirituality. It was an attention / awareness exercise. This broad and deep ecological comprehension before use resulted in a minimal disruption of the life of the land. The communication process itself significantly enriched elder cultures and enhanced their relationship with the thin fragile layer of life we exist within. By relating to land in this way, they were able to directly witness the dynamic energetic and material partnerships moving within the land. In modern culture, we tend to see a piece of land as useless unless we can exploit it or extract something from it: it’s viewed as dead land if we cannot capitalize, mine, harvest, feed on its beauty, or gain status from it. We’re nearly blind to the innate essences and relationships operating within, and in relationship to, the land, and are perceptually blind to the myriad beings that exist in the land and contribute to its health and aliveness. Aldo Leopold, an American biologist and environmentalist who studied the relationship between organisms and their environments, described soil’s energies and partnerships in this way: “Land, then, is not merely solid; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals … this interdependence between the complex structure of the land and its smooth functioning as an energy unit is one of its basic attributes” (Leopold, 1949). This once-global view of land is in stark contrast to the modern, conventional, pathologically alienated view of land, summed up by the English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704): “Land that is left wholly to nature, that hath no improvement of pasturage, tillage, or planting, is called, as indeed it is, waste; and we shall find the benefit of it amount to little more than nothing” (Locke 1689).

It is the modern invention of 'religion' and 'supernatural' that estranges and alienates modern people from the natural world and prevents them from sensing the patterns and processes that operate within it (and within the human body). Premodern people weren't afflicted with this modern madness ... they were sane and saw / experienced the world as it really is, without supernatural perceptual filters. 

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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

There is no evidence that the Babylonians, unlike the Greeks, came up with any geometrical model of the cosmos.

...except that there is:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-babylonians-were-using-geometry-centuries-earlier-thought-180957965/#CosJ2q0ZBm2WY6pg.01

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Mr Walker
7 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

Religio had a variety of common meanings, none corresponding to the modern concept of religion, nor making a distinction between religious and secular. The original meaning included nuances such as rite, protocol, decorum, sense of reserve, scruples, rules, and law - none of which are inherently ‘religious’. Several modern scholars favor the derivation re (again) and ligo from (connect), but this shouldn’t be assumed to mean connecting with anything supernatural; it should be understood as a reestablishment of a connection with social order, consistent with the established and common usage of the term previous to that time.   And as I'll make clear in the next post, it was a connecting with the natural world and the celestial mechanics that drives it ... actual physical / energetic properties ... not spooks, ghosts, fairies, demons, etc ...

This new supernaturalized definition of religio was then used by Christian scholars to translate the Hebrew terms huqqah and dan, (now understood to have simply meant statute, custom, or enactment); the Greek term threskeia (now understood to have meant simply rite or duty); and the Arabic term dīn, from which the Hebrew term dan derives (now understood to have meant simply custom, social transaction, social order, and law). As a result, these terms came to be newly regarded as carrying religious / supernatural meaning also.

Na!  you are still trying to redefine the term religious, to make an impossible point 

Really not sure what sort of social agenda you are trying to push here but it is  based on totally historically inaccurate  understandings.

 It almost seems like some attempt to rewrite the whole nature of humanity's connection to and understanding of the spiritual  world by redefining a couple of words .

Why?  it is so impossible as to be incredible Christianity was simply part of an ongoing evolution of human belief faith spirituality and religiosity we know goes back probably  100000 years by  looking a t artefacts and archaeological evidences  The less humans knew about science and nature the more they filled in the gaps with beliefs and concepts which helped them feel safer and in control of their lives   Hunters and gatherers necessarily had one form of  spiritual relationship with their world. Settled agrarians and   animal husbanders had a different one, and as cities evolved religions became more sophisticated and underlay the many laws and  customs required for order in those larger settlements. 

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Mr Walker
7 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

Our premodern (pre christian) ancestors referred to the subtle moving patterns and processes that rhythmically dance within this totality as “spirits,” (more accurately, as "winds") though it’s important to note that much meaning is lost in the translation of their words for “spirit” (wind) into English as they are filtered through the modern mystified under­standing of the word. 'Essences" would be a more accurate translation.  In modern society, the word “spirit” has taken on a vague supernatural meaning as humans have lost sight and sense of the moving nature of existence, and this vague supernatural understanding has been projected onto premodern people's understanding of existence and their organic place in it.  We should understand “spirits” in premodern traditions as dynamic agents of change: the fluctuating processes and essences that are unique to all forms of energy, matter, life, and place. There’s nothing supernatural about these vibrant influences. Like the electromagnetic communication between bumblebee and flower, shifts in humidity and temperature throughout the day, ripples in the geomagnetic field that all of life are embedded in that also ripple through our mind and body ... they’re just the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, dynamic properties of Earth and sky in action. These elemental essences, or ‘spirits’, energetically infuse and inspire us with their life. They richly reveal what we’re missing. If we're aware of them, they inform and warn. They move us and we learn to move with them in beneficial and wisely moderated ways. We can be receptive to them rather than numb to or barricaded against them, so that we can benefit from them or minimize their nega­tive effects. When we stop ignoring them, or imposing supernatural definition, or attempting to control them, they’ll reveal a layer of life and potential that we’re blind to.

The understanding that there are unseen physical / energetic properties (essences / winds) that permeate the natural world, and us, energies that we may access, moderate, and align with if we’re aware, is pervasive around the world. In Ancient Greece, “daemons” were unseen forces that offered wisdom to the receptive. They weren’t viewed as discrete beings, but rather as “peculiar modes,” to use Walter Burkert’s phrase (Burkert 1985, 180) ... fluctuating conditions in the meta environments we're innately embedded in. Daemons were deeply linked to nature: to trees, waters, the land, and the sky. Only after the 12-13th century, after nature came to be regarded as “other” and demonized, was the word distorted to take on the meaning of evil, though a shade of its early meaning was retained in Gnostic Christianity as the “breath of God” found in all things and in the mystified “Holy Spirit” (holy meaning entire or whole, and spirit meaning breath or winds...movement)—both originally describing the dynamic wholeness of existence within which tiding patterns / processes and energies / essences rhythmically pulse and flow.

Ancient Rome co-opted the Greek notions surrounding daemons in their philosophy of numen, which refers to the wisdom or natural potential within an object, including stars and planets.

Across the Pacific, from Hawaii to New Zealand, the word mana is used to describe an energy that’s inherent in all things. Similarly, the Japanese Shinto term kami refers to essences within natural objects. Kami are often understood to have a dual nature: one benevolent (nigi-mitama) and one that disrupts (ara-mitama), regenerating and degenerating. In Tibet, the term drala is defined as natural essences that are available to us underneath the cloud of delusions that narrow and dull our vision.

In the Americas, the Aztec term teotl and the Inuit silla had meanings very similar to mana: a formless “breath" or winds that underlies all of nature. Like kami, both teotl and silla could have destructive as well as beneficial aspects.

In ancient Persia, these essences were referred to as dhawat, and understood as gateways to a deep understanding of nizam-i hasti, the fluctuating order of the cosmos and the natural world.

Across the African continent—from Egypt, where, to this day, ritual phrases are spoken to recall and become attuned to the dynamically fluctuating “spirits” of place; to Nigeria, where the Yoruba ashé indicates a profound sense that the natural world is alive with energies; to the southern African sangloma tradition—awareness of “spirit” as a reflection of natural / celestial patterns and processes and their organic effects is widespread.

All these cultures engaged (and some continue to engage) in mnemonic ritual ceremonies (awareness exercises) that enabled them to step out of the blinding conceptual mind and narrow identifications of self to open channels of communication and to cultivate awareness relationships with these physical properties, patterns, and energies that animate the natural world and all of existence. In this way we discover our own dynamic place within these patterns and energies, and sense how they are moving us and all of life ... biologically and energetically ... for example, the cycles of the moon regulate cardiac rhythms and solar storms increase metabolism. 

It’s useful to invite the ‘spirits’ to ‘speak’ to us. In some Native American cultures, before a piece of land was used, it would be the center of a ceremony that had the specific purpose of inviting the land to ‘speak’, and then the land would be closely observed and ‘listened’ to, sometimes for as long as ten years, before it was used. Land rituals enabled elder cultures to cultivate a clear relationship with the land and the relationships that exist within the land, rather than just its surface or parts, an example of the union of ritual and practicality. There wasn't anything 'supernatural' in this and it wasn't religion or spirituality. It was an attention / awareness exercise. This broad and deep ecological comprehension before use resulted in a minimal disruption of the life of the land. The communication process itself significantly enriched elder cultures and enhanced their relationship with the thin fragile layer of life we exist within. By relating to land in this way, they were able to directly witness the dynamic energetic and material partnerships moving within the land. In modern culture, we tend to see a piece of land as useless unless we can exploit it or extract something from it: it’s viewed as dead land if we cannot capitalize, mine, harvest, feed on its beauty, or gain status from it. We’re nearly blind to the innate essences and relationships operating within, and in relationship to, the land, and are perceptually blind to the myriad beings that exist in the land and contribute to its health and aliveness. Aldo Leopold, an American biologist and environmentalist who studied the relationship between organisms and their environments, described soil’s energies and partnerships in this way: “Land, then, is not merely solid; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals … this interdependence between the complex structure of the land and its smooth functioning as an energy unit is one of its basic attributes” (Leopold, 1949). This once-global view of land is in stark contrast to the modern, conventional, pathologically alienated view of land, summed up by the English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704): “Land that is left wholly to nature, that hath no improvement of pasturage, tillage, or planting, is called, as indeed it is, waste; and we shall find the benefit of it amount to little more than nothing” (Locke 1689).

It is the modern invention of 'religion' and 'supernatural' that estranges and alienates modern people from the natural world and prevents them from sensing the patterns and processes that operate within it (and within the human body). Premodern people weren't afflicted with this modern madness ... they were sane and saw / experienced the world as it really is, without supernatural perceptual filters. 

This is so wrong as to be laughable.  Early people simply did not have the knowledge of physics or science  to think in these terms   They did not have the  knowledge or data to see things as you explain them here   Spirits were living purposeful beings  with both good and evil intent . 

We know this for sure because, as i pointed out we see similar beliefs even today in people who are more closely connected to nature and their environment like the australian indigenous people.

Of course the rituals are supernatural, in that those holding them believed that the rituals would influence beings who had power over all things.  It seems like you are taking a VERY modern understanding, only available in the last couple of centuries as  science has advanced, and mixing it with some sort of new age belief that primitive people were somehow more wise and less superstitious than people who follow "modern" religions

  To take one simple example NO ONE knew or understood the physics behind the formation of thunder and lightning There was no way this could be explained correctly in natural scientific terms without an understanding of things like ionisation and  air displacement BUT it could be explained a s a demonstration of power by ancient gods or entities  And so it was  

Many early people lived in total fear of the entities the y believed caused thunder and lightning They Simply could not have any other understanding  because they had no knowledge of the science behind such natural phenomena. an had to attribute magical or supernatural agents as the cause of them.  MAny primitive people could not even associate death with purely natural causes, and saw often saw death where there was no physical injury  as a result of spirits attacking the body   How could the y possibly understand how tetanus or blood poisoning or even diseases caused a person to die from a tiny cut  ? However they could comprehend and believe in malevolent spirits and gods etc because that made sense given their lack of factual knowledge and understanding. .  How could they possibly NOT believe in such things and what reasons could the y possibly have for disbelief?  One only has to talk to young children who also lack the knowledge and experience of such things and attribute magical agents as the cause of all unknown things,  to see how their minds worked 

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Mr Walker
7 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

That is a different proposition to what was quoted in my source  The  babylonians used geometry and observation to look at the stars, to categorise them and to create a form of astrology, but not to form  a geometric model of the cosmos,  according to my source. Your source and mine both agree that the y were using maths and observations to track planets etc   But apparently that is  different  to   forming a geometric model of the cosmos as was described/devised  by the ancient greeks.

 http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast161/Unit3/greek.html

Edited by Mr Walker

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back to earth
18 hours ago, Lumpino said:

What a meditation about a name of a god or goddess and ask him/her what he/she thinking about? :rolleyes:

Like it done some bhaktiyogis (see for example Ramakrishna and his vision mother Kali), like it done some kabbalists (see book Sefer Raziel ha-malach for example), like it was in ancient mysteries (see Iamblichus of Chalkis, Mysteries ....and others)....

What  the .....   

Your English has gotten worse   Lumpy !     Hard to make any sense out of this   ^   .

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back to earth
18 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

 

Maybe i dont get your argument. It is on the face of it so ridiculous as to be unsustainable. 

No you dont , try opening  your  mind a little . Its not ridiculous .    And it has been sustained in academia for some time . 

 

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back to earth
14 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

NSG,   Interesting posts .  

At the beginning of this thread I mentioned how it had been batted out before here . There  I supplied lots of info ( from my days at Uni studying  Cultural Anthropology and comparative religion ). There much of this was discussed including the etymology of the word, related terms, history,  changes in perception and consciousness  (mostly around 1400 - 1600 ),   and a few things you brought up .

Walker came to that discussion pushing his agenda the same way .  A lot of what he is trying to push here was already  clearly debunked there .  But he will continue in the same manner here . 

You are academically correct .  Regardless of what he says .    I know , I studied it .     Walker has not

 

 

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Podo
20 hours ago, Frank Merton said:

I think (by which mean, "this is my opinion, folks") that religion originated in animism.  We nowadays draw a line between the living and non-living, as well as between the sentient and non-sentient and between the intelligent (us) and others (although we allow a few species very limited access to that club).

These are modern distinctions taken from modern science.  Even a couple hundred years ago it was thought life could spring from non-life (spontaneous generation) so the distinction was only beginning to be recognized.

The so-called "primitive" did not see the world that way.  He or she was in a sense less arrogant -- but in this case maybe mistakenly so.  The idea was then that everyone shared our sentience, our intelligence, even, although in different ways.  Tolkien, who was an expert on Medieval English thinking, reflects this -- trees may be slow but they have strengths and intelligence and emotions.  This was also the case with rivers and mountains and many animals (especially horses).  Nowadays we see horses as certainly sentient and willful, but not overly bright.

So what if a tree or a mountain or whatever is slow or otherwise different from us?  We regardless assume (this is an automatic assumption we seem to have to unlearn in our early youth) that they are "like" us in having emotions, feelings, thoughts, motives (including sometimes nasty ones) and so on.  Therefore it just behooves us to be polite to them -- to doff our hat hand greet them and smile.  Who knows -- maybe one day in a landslide the mountain will remember, "Oh, that's the guy who was always so polite -- no point crushing him."

Where does this sort of thinking become religion -- in short, where does politeness to the inanimate become worship?   Since it is so hard to define "worship" (my bowing to the Buddha is called worship by a Christian, seeing it only in their terms and not realizing that the Buddha is dead over 500 years) -- so what is "worship" (religion) and what is custom or culture or respect is hard to say for sure.  In its pure form Buddhism (along with the great Chinese thinking traditions) would be called philosophy.  That they are in fact to most people religion is due to superstition, with the traditions don't bother to correct, knowing that those who get it will and the rest have eternity to figure it out, so no bother.

So I think the custom of being polite to a variety of objects developed specialists -- people who knew how to placate a mountain, say, if one were worried one might have offended it -- and this obviously developed into what we call witch doctors and other specialists -- which became that profitable thing -- being a minister or priest (priests in some churches who are not such profiteers evolved from that -- reaction against people making themselves rich with TV appeals.

 

I think that animism as a religious origin is likely very accurate. It would make sense, as an early human, to see a bear or an aurochs or a mammoth and be in awe of its raw destructive capabilities. To early humans, such creatures would be divine, as no amount of wishing could save you from an angry wooly rhino. As technology improved and our fear of other animals lessened, we likely changed the object of our devotions.

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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, back to earth said:

No you dont , try opening  your  mind a little . Its not ridiculous .    And it has been sustained in academia for some time . 

 

So was flat earth theory . :)

it uses modern ideas and constructs, which can only be built with a wide scientific and knowledge base, to attribute attitudes to early people which COULD NOT exist without similar knowledge of science and nature

 You just don't find "modern" ancient peoples thinking in the terms described in this theory  

BAsically the earliest humans simply had no data base of knowldge on which to  understand the actual nature of nature. Thus they had to construct understandings based on what they DID know and understand.

We see the same process in young children, today. They used the knowledge of their own intelligence, and observation of the actions of nature, to construct and attribute intelligent purpose to ALL natural agents like sun ,moon, wind, animals etc.

There is nothing else the y COULD have done. They had no idea that self awareness came for the brain, or of the nature of mind, and so the y had to assume that all things demonstrating purposeful intent, had thoughts like their own motivations like ours and were acting with deliberate intent . 

 We also know that early peoples had no mental distinction between the physical material world, and the world of spirits and gods which they believed occupied the earth.  Thus a tree had a spirit A forest had real intelligent power Animals had spirits  ONLY because of such beliefs, would ceremonies and sacrifices work for hunting.  If you didnt believe the ceremony would work on the soul or spirit of the animal, or the gods of nature, there was no point in them  You could only avoid being hit by lightning a god was aiming at you by being on the right side of the god.  because the lightning was not random but a  purposeful construct of a god  Without the knowldge of the physics involved in meteorology, even,weather events had to be acts of an intelligent agency. 

One ONLY has to read pre christian mythologies from around the world to understand this  They were not written as mythologies just as the OT bible wasn't written as a mythology but as an explanation of how those people saw and understood their world 

 When you made a mud brick or beer, magic was involved in the process, and the spirits of the components played a part in the construction and making (we know this from sumerian writings) . 

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back to earth
21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

So was flat earth theory . :)

Incorrect . 

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

it uses modern ideas and constructs, which can only be built with a wide scientific and knowledge base, to attribute attitudes to early people which COULD NOT exist without similar knowledge of science and nature

Self assumed postulations do not hold weight against academic research . 

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

 You just don't find "modern" ancient peoples thinking in the terms described in this theory  

Modern ancient people  ..... riiiiiight  !  

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

BAsically the earliest humans simply had no data base of knowldge on which to  understand the actual nature of nature. Thus they had to construct understandings based on what they DID know and understand.

Your  'thus'  es   mean nothing .

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

We see the same process in young children, today. They used the knowledge of their own intelligence, and observation of the actions of nature, to construct and attribute intelligent purpose to ALL natural agents like sun ,moon, wind, animals etc.

Not comparable .

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

There is nothing else the y COULD have done. They had no idea that self awareness came for the brain, or of the nature of mind, and so the y had to assume that all things demonstrating purposeful intent, had thoughts like their own motivations like ours and were acting with deliberate intent . 

You are pretending to know the workings of the ancient mind ,  But we are basing our observations on evidence and research .

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

 We also know that early peoples had no mental distinction between the physical material world, and the world of spirits and gods which they believed occupied the earth.

Then , what the hell are you arguing about ?    THis is the central idea about them not having this separate thing that we know as religion . There was no separation , hence no 'religion.' 

You just demonstrated that yourself ! 

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

 Thus a tree had a spirit A forest had real intelligent power Animals had spirits  ONLY because of such beliefs, would ceremonies and sacrifices work for hunting.  If you didnt believe the ceremony would work on the soul or spirit of the animal, or the gods of nature, there was no point in them  You could only avoid being hit by lightning a god was aiming at you by being on the right side of the god.  because the lightning was not random but a  purposeful construct of a god  Without the knowldge of the physics involved in meteorology, even,weather events had to be acts of an intelligent agency. 

Again , you are arguing   OUR argument ! 

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

One ONLY has to read pre christian mythologies from around the world to understand this  They were not written as mythologies just as the OT bible wasn't written as a mythology but as an explanation of how those people saw and understood their world 

Thats right ,  they had no 'mythology' either ... and no religion and no 'secular' .

Keep going , you are making good points for our side of the argument ! 

21 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

 When you made a mud brick or beer, magic was involved in the process, and the spirits of the components played a part in the construction and making (we know this from sumerian writings) . 

Indeed ,    no difference between magic and bricklaying .   NO difference between a    'topping out '   and  purely physical building process . 

 No distinction between 'religious' and 'secular'  . 

 

Not connected with religious or spiritual matters.

‘secular buildings’
Contrasted with sacred

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/secular

 

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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Podo said:

To early humans, such creatures would be divine

This assumes that there exists evidence that early humans possessed a concept of 'divine'. What evidence do you propose?

divine (adj.) Look up divine at Dictionary.com

c. 1300, from Old French devin (12c.), from Latin divinus "of a god," from divus "a god," related to deus "god, deity" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god"). "

 

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Podo
2 hours ago, No Solid Ground said:

This assumes that there exists evidence that early humans possessed a concept of 'divine'. What evidence do you propose?

divine (adj.) Look up divine at Dictionary.com

c. 1300, from Old French devin (12c.), from Latin divinus "of a god," from divus "a god," related to deus "god, deity" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god"). "

 

Well you can call it anything you want, really. My point was that they'd likely have seen big, strong critters as bigger, stronger, and worthy of respect. Obviously I'm not suggesting that they used the word "divine" since we're talkin' tens of thousands of years before the great grandpappy of any modern language developed. 

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Mr Walker
7 hours ago, back to earth said:

NSG,   Interesting posts .  

At the beginning of this thread I mentioned how it had been batted out before here . There  I supplied lots of info ( from my days at Uni studying  Cultural Anthropology and comparative religion ). There much of this was discussed including the etymology of the word, related terms, history,  changes in perception and consciousness  (mostly around 1400 - 1600 ),   and a few things you brought up .

Walker came to that discussion pushing his agenda the same way .  A lot of what he is trying to push here was already  clearly debunked there .  But he will continue in the same manner here . 

You are academically correct .  Regardless of what he says .    I know , I studied it .     Walker has not

 

 

OH rubbish  I have studied social anthropology particularly in relation to polynesian and melanesia  societies. I have also studied many early religious forms and also TAUGHT  ancient histories and religions

. As usual i think oyu are just trolling by taking the opposite position to my own.

it is just possible that in some remote university in minnesota or istanbul there is an academic pushing this line.

It is NOT mainstream academic opinion, and simply cannot be, as it flies in the face of everything multiple disciplines know about human social  evolution, the evolution of human spirituality and religion, and the way in which people without scientific knowledge are compelled to see their worlds.

Humans have had religions, beliefs, gods, spirits, worship,  magical agencies etc., since we evolved self aware consciousness and indeed it IS exactly the same process by which human infants think about their world, lacking any data or knowldge

  it is a known cognitive function of all humans and it evolved precisely SO we could operate in a world where we knew almost nothing yet had to construct  behaviours which gave us confidence to live and act.

For example lightning is striking down all round you You know nothing about lightning save its awesome power  So you construct a belief that this the weapon of a  god who is self aware and purposeful like you are, and the lighting has a purpose.  and then you pray to or try to negotiate with the god (who being like you can be bargained with)  for your safety.  This constructs a mental mechanism which makes you feel more confident and safer, even when you are not, and instead of crouching in a fetal ball ,you can get on with living by at least hoping or believing that now the gods will NOT strike you down. It gives you an illusion of control when otherwise ( being totally ignorant and powerless) you would have no control at all.

And you know what? 99 times out of a hundred your prayers work and the gods don't strike you down thus building even greater belief and faith in the efficacy of your pleading.  The one guy in a hundred who gets hit does not live to tell that his prayers went unanswered and so this method is propagated across  groups . And by golly gosh it continues to be effective.   Those gods CAN be bargained with and propitiated. 

That is a religious form  and based on a spiritual belief in, and worship of, the gods or spirits of nature.   

It is actually an understanding of human psychology and cognition which is more important, here, than  either sociology or religious studies.  Human cognition and psychological needs form the basis for WHY humans are spiritual and religious beings. We construct those forms to meet needs which only arise BECAUSE we are self aware .  

Another argument is that spiritual and religious belief began as soon a s humans could appreciate the difference between being alive and being dead 

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=d6nVEszKaoUC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=theory+that+early+humans+were+not+religious+or+did+not+worship&source=bl&ots=WkGZjjKa9h&sig=xOFBUqGdqjyIQjbSzfMp9s8zpiE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqtZum5fPTAhUGHJQKHW9yDkYQ6AEIWDAJ

Try finding any reference to the theory you are proposing, by doing google searches like; "early people had no religions"   or "when did humans evolve a belief in gods and start to worship them?" or even "religion and worship only began in the middle ages"   

Edited by Mr Walker

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back to earth

We already did, go back and look  it, the  case is proved ....     your stories and fake claims change nothing . 

 

And  as far as your idiotic comment that I am just trolling to take the opposite viewpoint ....  listen up Walker ! 

YOU yourself posted material which supports our viewpoint and the viewpoint of the  academic view on it .... I stressed that , but you simply ignored that and switched to this carry on .  

I am happy to let the record stand as it is , by the previous proofs offered by myself ...  and now, also, by NSG  and more recently, even by you ! 

You are just too messed up to be able to interpret your own evidence ;   Here it is again  .... numbskull !   ;

"  Early humans actually saw the world a s an integrated mix of the material and the spiritual ,with the supernatural being a part of the natural order of things. As i said dryads, sprites and nymphs etc were seen to inhabit nature a s real and powerful natural beings. "

 Which totally supports our argument  ... and all the rest you said which I cant be bothered re quoting   exceot this stupid blunder by you ;

"  This is so wrong as to be laughable.  "

You give us our own evidence to dispute our facts and then you call it wrong and need to laugh at it . 

What a mixed up mess you are ! 

(are you sure you are still up fir this  ... and not getting a little 'confused;  and 'dottery '  ? 

Of course, as usual and like you did above, you will NOT address any valid point made against you and just segway off into silly posts like the above  .... accuse people of trolling and when they expose you and pose questions you cant answer ... your solution is to put them on ignore .   

 

Anyone can make and inference to that sort of behavior ! 

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Dhurfjooydig
2 hours ago, back to earth said:

your stories and fake claims change nothing . 

For people who have believed the 'religion is ancient' and 'religion is inevitable' cultural mythologies their entire life, who were indoctrinated as children and as adults, the reality that religion is a fairly modern strategically manufactured social control meme and tool used for geopolitical manipulation ... can be shocking to consider. Cognitive dissonance washes over them in waves. The impulse is to push against the intruding idea. Unconscious defense mechanisms activate ... denial is usually the first line of defense ... "it's impossible!" ... "it's ridiculous". Then a patronizing explanation of the obvious in an attempt to reentrench, quell confusion, and reclaim a (unexamined ) sense of solid ground usually comes next. And then dismissiveness ... "oh rubbish!" And paranoia ... "I think you're trolling me". And making stuff up. And anger if these defense mechanisms don't banish the intruding taboo idea. It's difficult for religiously indoctrinated people to set aside the calcified religious perceptual cataract and see the harsh reality of religion for what it is. It can be painful because it shakes the deepest foundations of their self identity which is all tangled up with religious doctrination. If religion is actually one of the most successful modern memes ever deployed ... then they no longer know who they are. There's no solid ground. There's no point in pushing the issue with them  ... they just stay stuck in reactive defense mechanisms. It takes time for them to incorporate this new worldview and resolve the cognitive dissonance in a healthy way. The good news is that once exposed to it ... it doesn't go away and uncertainty grows. They may even find themselves questioning other 'obvious' elements of their worldview. 

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Mr Walker
1 hour ago, No Solid Ground said:

For people who have believed the 'religion is ancient' and 'religion is inevitable' cultural mythologies their entire life, who were indoctrinated as children and as adults, the reality that religion is a fairly modern strategically manufactured social control meme and tool used for geopolitical manipulation ... can be shocking to consider. Cognitive dissonance washes over them in waves. The impulse is to push against the intruding idea. Unconscious defense mechanisms activate ... denial is usually the first line of defense ... "it's impossible!" ... "it's ridiculous". Then a patronizing explanation of the obvious in an attempt to reentrench, quell confusion, and reclaim a (unexamined ) sense of solid ground usually comes next. And then dismissiveness ... "oh rubbish!" And paranoia ... "I think you're trolling me". And making stuff up. And anger if these defense mechanisms don't banish the intruding taboo idea. It's difficult for religiously indoctrinated people to set aside the calcified religious perceptual cataract and see the harsh reality of religion for what it is. It can be painful because it shakes the deepest foundations of their self identity which is all tangled up with religious doctrination. If religion is actually one of the most successful modern memes ever deployed ... then they no longer know who they are. There's no solid ground. There's no point in pushing the issue with them  ... they just stay stuck in reactive defense mechanisms. It takes time for them to incorporate this new worldview and resolve the cognitive dissonance in a healthy way. The good news is that once exposed to it ... it doesn't go away and uncertainty grows. They may even find themselves questioning other 'obvious' elements of their worldview. 

This is reaching the stage of  a new age conspiracy theory 

The actual reason for rejecting this theory  (both mine and academias)  is that factually it is rubbish, and mainstream academia will tell you so.

 Again try googling the topic to see how much is written about it. 

Again, look into your personality and belief structures, to work out what it is about such a theory which appeals to you and your view of the world.

Maybe it is learned distrust of mainstream authority,  maybe a desire to establish personal independence of thought. Or maybe it is connected to the way you see religion faith and belief as inferior to scientific materialism and rationalism.  Your voodoo psychology won't work on me. i am both too grounded and also trained in psychology to fall for it.  Using buzz words without really understanding them doesnt impress me either. 

 This theory IS ridiculous because it runs counter to historical facts and only works when and if you start paying around with definitions of what things like religion, worship, gods or spirits, are, and mean to people.  

Mine is a rational and healthy denial.

I am more interested in your own psychological profile which has made you vulnerable to such theories. 

Religion is NOT a meme. It is an evolved cognitive apparatus by which human self are intelligence explains, and makes sense of, things we lack scientific knowledge about. And humans have been doing this since cro magnon and neanderthal days.  However i appreciate that  oyu have at last outlined the world view which has lead you to accept this theory 

 ie religion is a fairly modern strategically manufactured social control meme and tool used for geopolitical manipulation

That is rubbish.  Religion is an ancient evolved cognitive patterning which developed in response to human self awareness  Every individual constructs their original belief structure and then evolves and adapts it in response to the socio economic and political norms the y are exposed to. This is an established and known psychological and sociological phenomenon, well researched and demonstrated.  

Religion  is a "crowd funded"   project and while it can be USED for political advantage it was NEVER originated as such. It began as like minded individuals found the usefulness of establishing and codifying religious beliefs into social norms and laws. to make their lives feel safer and more predictable.  

On the other hand i will give you creative credit for this little gem

calcified religious perceptual cataract 

It is so clever i thought you must have got it from somewhere, but it appears you came up with it yourself

You dont have any background in ophthalmology by any chance.?  

Edited by Mr Walker

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Dhurfjooydig
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

ie religion is a fairly modern strategically manufactured social control meme and tool used for geopolitical manipulation

That is rubbish.  

Here's an example of how religion was used as a geopolitical tool to colonize minds and countries:

Jason Josephson writes in The Invention of Religion in Japan: “Throughout its long history, Japan had no concept for ‘religion’. There was no corresponding Japanese word, nor anything that came close to its meaning until the 1850s when America forced the Japanese to sign treaties demanding, among other things, freedom of religion” (Josephson 2012). This freedom of religion clause was lobbied for inclusion by Western Christian leaders, who eyed Japan as virgin territory for Christian mind share. To comply, Japan was forced by threat of economic / military might to create an official state-defined category for religion. Shendao (Shinto)—the way, path, law (dao) of the celestial entities (shen)—was officially categorized as a science. All other variations of the ancient story, thirty-six of them named in the scholarly documents of the time, became newly classified as religion or as superstition to satisfy treaty demands. The power of using religion as a geopolitical tool is apparent in the sad fact that just a hundred years later or so, Shinto became understood around the world as a 'religion' and 'spiritual path' in spite of Japan's Shinto leaders having rejected the classification. 

This evident marriage of 1. the concept of supernatural religion (as refined / codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century), 2. economic power, and 3. military might, was a powerful Christian dominated geopolitical force, starting in the 13th century, that drove the crusades and the inquisitions ... and that later wreaked geopolitical havoc as European countries colonized and committed genocide around the world in the name of 'religion' (and rich plunder) for the next 400 years. Christianity, the manufacturers of this modern concept of religion / geopolitical tool has centuries of blood on its hands. A strong argument can be made that this marriage of Christian 'religious' perception management and capitalism backed up by military might is still the dominant geopolitical force in the world. Colonization of minds (the newly invented concept of 'religion' as a perception management too) and countries (through military / economic force) ... was a central goal behind the invention / codification of religion in the 13th century, a time when a common perception of the separation of religious power and political power had yet to be implemented.

 

Edited by No Solid Ground
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back to earth

Similar to what happened with the Australian Aboriginals .   They didnt have a religion and didnt know what it was when asked .  White people, in their ignorant observations and classifications of them also considered that they had no religion as they observed they had no religious practices .   Today  the term     Indigenous spirituality, traditions   or culture is the term used . 

The same with concepts of land ownership .   Both these ( and some others , like their diversity )  have changed over time, the land issue especially ,  to  be able to  move through the new 'political' world .     ( Eg,  if one states they dont 'own ' the land then they will probably lose it forever . ) 

 

Shall we open the smelly fish on the   "  Hindu religion  "   ?     NO such thing , another western political invention ( later supported by the Indian Nationalist Party ) .     Before the British invasion of India  there was no 'Hinduism ' . 

(but I have already argued this with Walker , he chose to ignore it  )        

 

http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0195166558.001.0001/acprof-9780195166552

ABSTRACT

Is “Hinduism” a legitimate term for the widely varying religious practices of India that are commonly called by that name? The appearance of “religion” as a category comprising a set of practices and beliefs allegedly found in every culture dates from the modern period, emerging as Europe expanded trade abroad and established its first colonial relations in the 17th and 18th centuries. Hinduism emerged in the encounter between modernity’s greatest colonial power, Great Britain, and the jewel of her imperial crown, India. Around the turn of the 19th century, officials of the British colonial state and Christian missionaries helped cement the idea that regional and sectarian traditions in India possessed a sufficient coherence to be construed as a single, systematic religion. This encounter was deeply shaded by the articulation and development of the concept of “religion”, and it produced the now common idea that Hinduism is a unified religion. 

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