From: Grant Callaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed 25 Dec 2002 - 15:47:36 GMT
I think religion is a natural outgrowth of tribalism. A tribe usually forms around a strong individual, a leader. In some cases, the leadership skills of the leader are exceptional and the organizing power of that leader holds the tribe together. But strong leaders often give birth to less capable children. In China there is a saying that a rich family only lasts three generations -- the first generation makes the fortune, the second builds on it, and the third fritters it away.
It's only natural that the tribe tends to follow the rules set down by the strong leader. When the rules are questioned, the weaker followers refer to the rule maker and his/her accomplishments as authority. Over time and the narration of history within the tribe, the legend of the leader tends to grow and the man becomes a god. All the gods in the histories I've read grew out of individuals. Even the Jewish Yaweh acts like a human being and is often called God the Father. He has children and commands his followers in the same way a strong leader would. A good leader delegates authority and when he dies, the delegatees carry on the structure they inherited.
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