Re: The religion meme

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Mon 18 Nov 2002 - 15:42:46 GMT

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    You also have the civilizations such as Greece, Rome and Persia which turned famous people into gods. Alexander was a god in much of the middle east, for example and Zeus went from being an angry father to the father figure we now call Deus or God. The Japanese concept of gods on the other hand are things like trees and other natural objects but also include famous people who, through story telling, became greater than life. And like us, they borrowed gods from other cultures such as China. Zoroaster seems to be the first to have a god who came with an evil double resembling our devil, dividing the world into good and evil and then requiring people to worship the good and shun the evil. When I say "first" I just mean the earliest example of it that I've run across so far. There may be older ones that I don't know about.

    I find people like Buddha and Christ interesting in the fact that they didn't become gods by conquering people in war, but came to embody great ideas that "conquered" the minds of people. Mattsu in China along with Lautze and Confucius came about much the same way. Some people might object that these are people not deities, but they are worshipped as such by people as if they were. They are prayed to, have temples built to their memory, and their words are passed down from generation to generation with great reverance. I think that's pretty much how all of the deities started out.




    >At 10:44 AM 17/11/02 -0800, you wrote:
    > >> From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > >
    > >SNIP..........
    > >> Thanks for this Ted, it does sound somewhat plausible. Just one
    > >a
    > >> lot of early religions also place their gods in the environment, sun,
    > >moon,
    > >> stars, mountains, rivers etc. does this fit with the idea you've
    > >presented?
    > >> I would think it should, environmental change beyond the control of
    > >> humans might easily lead to features of the environment which might be
    > >very
    > >> significant when change occured (the Nacza and their famous lines, for
    > >> example, not runways for spaceships but ritual pathways relating to the
    > >> mountainous landscape that provided the arid plain with water).
    > >>
    > >> Vincent
    > >>
    >Hi To Ted and Vincent
    >I think that I have some insights for you on this one. Whislt studying
    >diverse cultures and their spiritualities through primary narratives it
    >occured to me that cultures form thier spiritualities in the image of their
    >own cultures. This means that a hunter gatherer people have nature spirits
    >which include animals, geographic anomolies, springs, lakes, rivers, and so
    >on. Agrarian societies have seasons, fertility, winds, rain and so on. The
    >great male monotheism on the other hand derives from a patriarchal tribe of
    >herding people. The image of the great, all powerful God, standing guard
    >over his flock (the Pope still even carries a curly stick) is the mirror of
    >Abraham and his people.
    >I hope that this makes some sense to you, as it is late and I've had a
    >rough day. I can explain this theory better with more time.

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