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16 Sep 2019 at 05:36:32 user 'jcobban' wrote: The Evolution of Religion

Until about 3 thousand years ago in Eurasia, that is at the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, there was no "religion" as a separate aspect of life.  Every activity, from waking in the morning to falling asleep at night, involved the divine.  There was no word in any ancient language for religion.  The Roman word "religio" did not refer to a system of belief but rather to the incantantions used to literally "bind" the gods to human service. Each incantation had a speech or prayer, frequently recited using a form of the language so old that much of it was no longer understood, accompanied by defined gestures.  Any flaw in performing the incantation would make it ineffective and therefore explain why the gods did not respond.  This understanding is incorporated into the Latin Missal of the Roman Catholic Church which specifies the exact words to speak and the exact gestures or rubrics, written in red, to use for each occasion.  Thirty years ago the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops tried to modernize the English version of the Missal to remove in particular sexist language which is offensive in 21st century English, but that attempt was vetoed by the Holy Inquisition led by the former Nazi Joseph Ratzinger so that an unimaginative literal translation of the Latin is now imposed.

Bronze Age faith was a direct continuation of practices which were already tens of thousands of years old.  The bull motifs of Late Bronze Age temples from 1200BCE are direct descendants of the bulls of the Cave of Altamira from 32,000BCE.  There are no interruptions of that tradition in the physical remains of those cultures.  There was no "separation of church and state" because the leader of the community was also the chief priest of the patron deity, and was himself a god, son of the patron deity.

The Iron Age starting in the 12th century BCE, for reasons which are not understood but which continue to act in our world, introduced prophetic religion.  That is radical new systems of belief which are proclaimed by a charismatic leader: Moses, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, the Buddha, Laozi, Jesus, Mohammed, Guru Nanak Dev, Bahá'u'lláh, Joseph Smith, Karl Marx, L. Ron Hubbard.  Unlike older faiths these have:

  1. A holy book alleged to contain the authentic inspired words of the "prophet".  For example the first five scrolls of the Hebrew Scriptures even though internally inconsistent, clearly collected over a period of centuries, and editorially connected to the following 6 scrolls, are believed by the faithful to be the authentic words of Moses, the "Instructions" or "Torah".  The recitations, Q'uran, of Mohammed are believed to be the literal Word of God which preceded the creation of the World and which was dictated by the Archangel Jibreel.  This is a belief that appears also in the opening words of the Gospel of John "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
  2. A denial of the authenticity or authority of previous systems of belief.
  3. A denial of the possibility of future inspiration, so that any subsequent charismatic leader is preaching heresy and he and his followers must be persecuted:  "Kill them all and let God sort them out." Papal legate and Cistercian abbot Arnaud Amalric prior to the massacre at Béziers 1209
  4. To enforce these rules an organization is instituted to limit deviation and punish deviance.

This is all subject to a Hegelian dialectic.  The "thesis" of each prophetic faith inspires an "antithesis" and after much pain and suffering there is a resolution to a "synthesis".


We will pray to Aphrodite
She's beautiful but flighty
In her silken see-thru nightie
She's good enough for me.

We will pray to Zarathrustra,
Pray just like we used-to,
I'm a Zarathrustra booster,
He's good enough for me.

We will pray just like the Druids,
Drinking strange fermented fluids,
Go dancing naked through the woods,
They're good enough for me.

We will pray to the god Buddha,
Of gods there is none cuter,
Come in silver, brass or pewter,
He's good enough for me.

We will pray with those Egyptians,
Who built pyramids to put our crypts in
Covered up with strange inscriptions,
They're good enough for me.

We will pray to Ra and Ahmen
Just like Tutankhamen,
And teach our friends embalming,
They're good enough for me.

Hare Krishna he must be laughed on,
To see me dressed in saffron,
With my hair only half-on
He's good enough for me.

I will rise up at early morning,
When my Lord gives me the warning,
That the solar age is dawning,
He's good enough for me.

We won't worship like the Persians,
We'll sacrifice no virgins,
Please control your carnal urgin's,
It's good enough for me.

We will all worship the Mother
Not the womb of any other
Virgin, crone and mother
She's good enough for me

We will pray for New Age Aquarians,
And hang out in Planetariums,
Lotta um are Unitarians,
They're good enough for me.

We will pray to a god named Odin,
In their wooden boats go floatin'
Filled Europe with forbodin'
He's good enough for me.

We will pray to the Quakers
Oft confused with the Shakers,
Of war they are not makers,
They're good enough for me.

We will pray to the god Shiva,
the one with many sleeva's
Who destroys all disbelivas
He's good enough for me.

We will pray to rev Moon
All our friend will think we're loony
As we sing this crazy tune-y,
He's good enough for me.

Recorded by Seeger on Precious Friend
@parody @religion
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