What is the oldest religion?

the history of religion on earth series is an extensive treatment that delves into the ancient origins of

religion the constructs of primitive ritual the institutionalized timelines and the corruptions within

those timelines that have led up to our current religious paradigm we aim to analyze

the current academic consensus but more importantly we want to introduce additional hypotheses that are

disallowed by the mainstream when we look at the deep history of religion we need to understand what

religion is in his book the bonobo and the atheist the promitologist franz de waal suggests

this definition religion is the shared reverence for the supernatural

sacred or spiritual as well as the symbols rituals and worship that are associated

with it the importance of shared experience can’t be overstated since

the evolution of human religion is inseparable from the ever increasing sociality of

the hominin line as sociologist robert bella points out religion

is a way of being we might also view it as a way of feeling as a way of filling together while much

of the scientific study of religion is on theology-based doctrinal religions the evolutionary psychologist robin

dunbar thinks this is a narrow way of studying the phenomenon because it completely ignores the fact

for most of human history religions have had very different shamanic-like forms that lack gods and moral codes

while the theology-based forms are only a few thousand years old and characteristic of post-agricultural

societies dunbar argues that the shamanic forms date back

years these he claims are characteristic of hunter-gatherers if we want to

understand how and why religion evolved we need to start out by examining religions

with the cultural accretions stripped away we need to focus less on questions about

big gods and creeds and more on questions about the capacities that emerged in our ancient ancestors

that allowed them to achieve a religious way of being together all societies seem to have religions of

some sort and there are no exceptions to this there are two major perspectives on why

this might be one is called functionalism or adaptationism the idea that religion brings positive

evolutionary benefits which are most often framed in terms of its contribution

to group living after all if all societies have religion

it must have a social purpose others take the view that religion is a byproduct of evolutionary processes

religion can be seen as akin to vestigial organs perhaps it was adaptive in the

environments it originally evolved in but in this environment it’s maladaptive

or perhaps religious beliefs are the result of psychological mechanisms that

evolved to solve ecological problems unrelated to religion either way evolution didn’t aim at

religion religion just emerged as evolution aimed at other things

while folks on both sides of this debate have their reasons it seems unhelpful to frame the evolution of

religion in these either or terms something that was merely a byproduct of a blind evolutionary

process could well be taken up by human beings to perform a specific function or solve a specific

problem this can be true for many behaviors including music but religion presents a particular

puzzle since it often involves extremely costly behaviors such as altruism

and at times even self-sacrifice for this reason some theorists such as dunbar argue that

we should also look beyond the individual to the survival of the group this

approach is known as multi-level selection which recognizes that fitness benefits can

sometimes accrue to individuals through group level effects rather than always being the direct

product of the individual’s own actions an example is cooperative hunting which

enables groups to catch bigger prey than any member could catch as individuals bigger prey means more for

me even if i must share the meat such group level processes require the individual

to be sensitive to the needs of other members of the group if we are to understand religion then we

first need to look back into our deep history to understand how human ancestors evolved to live in groups in

the first place we are after all descended from a long line of ancestral hominoids

with weak social ties and no permanent group structures so how did darwinian selection work

on the neuroanatomy of hominins to make them more social so that they could generate cohesive

social bonds to form primary groups that’s not a natural thing for apes

the current mainstream paradigm dictates that our ape line evolved from our last common ancestor around million years

ago orangutans broke away about to million years ago while the gorilla line

branched away about eight to nine million years ago the hominin line then branched into two

about five to seven million years ago with one line leading to the chimpanzees in bonibos

and the other leading to us we modern humans share of our genes with living

chimpanzees which means we’re the two most closely related apes in the whole line

the similarities between humans and chimps are well known but one important difference has to do

with group size chimpanzees on average can maintain a group size of about .

this appears to be the largest group size that can be maintained through grooming alone in contrast the

average human group is about . the reason for this is that humans have

the capacity to reach three times as many social contacts as chimps for a given amount of social effort

human religion seems to emerge out of this increased capacity for sociality

the question then becomes why as our ape ancestors moved from receding

forest habitats to more open environments like the savannahs of eastern and southern africa

environmental pressures acted on them to make them more social for increased protection from predators

and better access to food it also made it easier to find a mate without the ability to maintain new

structures like small groups of five or six so-called nuclear families these apes wouldn’t have been able to

survive so how did nature achieve this socialization process

the key isn’t with what we typically think of as intelligence but rather with the emotions which was

accompanied by some important changes to our brain structure although the

neocortex figures prominently in many theories of the evolution of religion

the more important alterations concern the subcortical parts of the brain which gave hominins the capacity to

experience a broader range of emotions these enhanced emotions promoted bonding

a crucial achievement for the development of religion the process of subcortical enhancement

dates to about . million years ago when the first author of emerged initially selection increased

the size of their brain about cubic centimeters beyond that of chimpanzees to about

cc for the sake of comparison this is smaller than later hominins homo habilis had a

cranial capacity of cc while homo erectus was slightly larger

than to cc modern humans in contrast boast a brain

size much bigger than any of these with a cranial capacity of up to

cc but the comparably smaller brain size doesn’t mean that nothing was happening

to the hominin brain brain size is measured by endocast but these do not reflect the subcortical

enhancement that was occurring between the emergence of australopiths and homo erectus

and it is in the story of how these subcortical mechanisms evolve that ultimately the origins of

religion are to be discovered although the neocortex of humans

is three times the size of apes the subcortex is only twice as big which leads turner

to believe that the enhancement of hominin emotion was well underway before the neocortex began to

grow to its current human size here’s how nature pulled it off

you’ve probably heard of the so-called four primary emotions aggression fear sadness and

happiness notice anything about that list three of the emotions are negative

but the promotion of solidarity requires positive emotions so natural selection had to find a way

to mute the negative emotions and enhance the positive ones the emotional capacities of great apes

particularly chimpanzees were already more elaborate than many other mammals so

selection had something to work with enter the concept of first and second

order elaborations which are emotions that are the result of combinations of two or more primary

emotions so for example the combination of happiness and anger generates vengeance while
Happiness & Anger = Vengence

jealousy is the result of combining anger and fear all which figures majorly in religion
Awe = Fear & Happiness

is the combination of fear and happiness second order elaborations are even more

complex and occurred in the evolution from homo erectus to homo sapiens

guilt and shame for example two crucial emotions for the development of religion are the

combination of sadness fear and anger it’s difficult to imagine religion

without the capacity to experience these emotional elaborations for the same reason

it’s difficult to imagine close social groups without them such an emotional palette binds us to

one another at a visceral level human solidarities are only possible by emotional arousal

revolving around possible emotions love happiness satisfaction caring

loyalty and the migration of the power of negative emotions or at least some

negative emotions and once these new valences of positive emotions are neurologically possible

they can become entwined with rituals and other emotion arousing behaviors

to enhance solidarities and eventually produce notions of power gods and supernatural

forces as selection worked on existing brain structures enhancing emotional and interpersonal

capacities certain behavioral propensities of apes began to evolve

some of the propensities already present in apes include the ability to read eyes and faces and

imitate facial gestures various capacities for empathy the ability to become emotionally

aroused in social settings the capacity to perform rituals a sense

of reciprocity and justice and the ability to see the self as an object

in an environment an increase in the emotional palate available to apes would result in an

increase in all of these behavioral capacities the roots of ritual are in what vela

calls serious play activities done for their own sake which may not serve an immediate

survival capacity but which have a very large potentiality of developing more capacities

this view fits with various theories in developmental science showing that playful activities are

often crucial for developing important abilities like theory of mind

and counter factual thinking play in this evolutionary sense has many

unique characteristics it must be performed in a relaxed field when the animal is fed and healthy and

stress-free play also occurs in bouts it has a clear beginning

and ending in dogs for example play is initiated with a bow

play involves a sense of justice big animals need to self-handicap in order to not

hurt smaller animals now compare serious play to rituals

rituals begin and end they require both shared intention and shared attention

there are norms involved they take place in a time within time

beyond the time of the everyday think for example of a football game in which

balls can be caught out of bounds and time can be paused we regularly participate in modes of

reality in which we willingly bracket out the real world play allows us to do this

most important of all play is a practice in itself and not something with an external end

ritual is the primordial form of serious play in human evolutionary history which

means that ritual is an enhancement of the capacities that make play first possible in the

mammalian line there is a continuity between the two

the second trait we must consider is empathy empathy is not primarily in the head

it’s in the body at least that’s how it started it began with the synchronization of bodies

running when others run laughing when others laugh crying when others cry or yawning when

others yawn empathy is absolutely central to what we call morality

without empathy you can’t get human morality it makes us interested in others it

makes us have an emotional stake in them if religion according to our definition

is a way of being together then morality which instructs us as to the best ways to be together is an

inextricable part of that we see animals want to share food even

though it costs them we do experiments on them and the general conclusion is that many animals

first tendency is to be altruistic and cooperative altruistic tendencies come very

naturally to many mammals but isn’t this just self-preservation aren’t the animals

just acting in their own best interest if they behave in a way that appears

altruistic aren’t they just preparing for a time when they will need help well to call that selfish because

in the end these pro-social tendencies have benefits is a logical fallacy

yes of course there are pleasurable sensations associated with the action of giving to

others but evolution has produced pleasurable sensations for behaviors we need to perform like

sex and eating and female nursing the same is true for altruism

that does not fundamentally alter what the behavior is such a hard and fast line between

altruism and selfishness then is naive at best and deceptive at worst and we can see the

same with discussions of social norms philosophers such as david hume have

made the distinction between what a behavior is and what it ought to be which is a

staple of ethical deliberation an animal may perform the behavior x

but does it do so because it feels it should do so thanks to an appreciation of a norm

there is evidence that animals actively try to preserve harmony within their social network by

reconciling after conflict protesting against unequal divisions and breaking up

fights among others they behave normatively in the sense of correcting or trying to

correct deviations from an ideal state they also show emotional self-control

and anticipatory conflict resolution in order to prevent such deviations

this makes moving from primate behavior to human moral norms less of a leap than commonly thought

there’s obviously a gap between primate social repair and the institutionalization of moral

codes that lie at the heart of modern human societies still all of these human moral systems make

use of primate tendencies how far back do these tendencies go

probably like those capacities that allow for play and ultimately ritual to the advent of

parental care during million years of mammalian evolution

females sensitive to their offspring out reproduce those who were cold and

distant of course nurturing is arguably seen in species of fish

crocodiles and snakes but the nurturing capabilities of mammals is really a giant leap forward in the

evolutionary story our religious services of today may seem

worlds away from the mammalian play and empathy that emerged in our deep past

but evolution teaches us that complex advanced phenomena develop from simple

beginnings we don’t come from nowhere we are embedded in a deep biological and cosmological history

as the apeline evolved from our last common ancestor in more open environments it was

necessary to pressure apes who prefer to go it alone to form more lasting social structures

natural selection was able to accomplish this astonishing feat by enhancing the emotional palettes

available that had long been available to our ancestors with a broader set of emotions the

hominin brain was then able to enhance some of its capabilities some of which

quite naturally lent themselves to a religious way of being as these capacities got more acutely

enhanced with the growth of the homo brain and the development of the neocortex

behaviors such as play and ritual entered a new phase in hominin development becoming the raw

materials out of which cultural evolution would begin to institutionalize religion

and though this history doesn’t determine us this biocosmological history influences

everything we do and are even the most seemingly autonomous human decision is

made from within history that’s the big picture here that’s what we’ve been keeping in mind

as we made our way back in time to the evolutionary seeds that would eventually and quite slowly blossom into human

religion so now that we have reviewed the earliest form of religion within the

biocosmological context of our hominin ancestors we are now ready to focus on the origins

of religions in the homo sapien cultures of our ancient past in parts and .

perhaps one of the most heated ongoing debates concerning the topic of religion is which one is the oldest one of the

prevailing theological views about religion is the archaeological evidence does not support the presence of

religious practices by modern humans or neanderthals prior or during the middle paleolithic period

ranging from three hundred thousand to fifty thousand bce however as we discussed in part one

the shamanic forms of religion date back at least five hundred thousand years moreover

contrary to theological academia some of the earliest significant evidence of religious practices does

indeed date from the middle paleolithic period intentional burial particularly with

grave goods may be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice since it may signify a concern

for the dead that transcends daily life the earliest undisputed human burial

dates back one years human skeletal remains stained with red okra were discovered in

skull cave in israel a variety of grave goods were present at the site

including the mandible of a wild boar in the arms of one of the skeletons

as we move into the upper paleolithic period circa bce we find the remains of one of

the earliest known anatomically modern humans to be cremated around bce the aurignacian

figurine the oldest known zoomorphic sculpture in the world and one of the oldest known sculptures

in general was made the sculpture has also been interpreted as anthropomorphic

giving human characteristics to an animal although it may have represented a deity

between and the oldest discovered venus figurines

appeared in graves some were deliberately broken or repeatedly stabbed

possibly representing the murders of the men with whom they were buried or owing to some other unknown social

dynamic also clear examples of burials are present in iberia

wales and eastern europe these two incorporate the heavy use of red okra

and various objects were included in the graves when we reached the neolithic period in the

younger dryas roughly years ago we find that noticeable burial activity has resumed

all these graves are delineated by the cave walls in large limestone blocks

the burials share several characteristics such as the use of red okra and shell and mammoth ivory jewelry that

go back thousands of years they were now beginning to take on the form of modern cemeteries

old burials were commonly re-dug and moved to make way for new ones with the older bones often being

gathered and cashed together large stones may have acted as grave markers

pairs of antlers were sometimes mounted on poles within the cave this is compared to the modern practice

of leaving flowers at a grave it is during the pre-pottery

neolithic period that we come across quebecole tempe the oldest religious site yet discovered

anywhere it includes circles of erective massive t-shaped stone pillars

the world’s oldest known megaliths decorated with abstract enigmatic pictograms and

carved animal reliefs the site near the home place of original wild wheat

was built before the so-called neolithic revolution where we find the beginning of

agriculture and animal husbandry around bce but

the construction of gobekli tempe implies organization of an advanced order not hitherto

associated with paleolithic societies the site abandoned around the time the

first agriculture society started is still being excavated and analyzed

and thus might shed light on the significance it had for the region’s older foraging

communities as well as for the general history of religions

in essence when it comes to the question of the oldest religion there really is no solid answer because

the written record only extends back a bit over years so as we start out in the ancient era we

will base our chronology on the written record as discovered thus far

[Music] it comes as no surprise that the first recognized written record of a religion

originates where the first written language was discovered mesopotamia when religion developed in

mesopotamia is unknown but the first written records of religious practice

date to circa bce from sumer mesopotamian religion refers

to the religious beliefs and practices of the civilizations of ancient mesopotamia

particularly sumer arcade assyria and babylonia between circa bce and

ce after which they largely gave way to syriac christianity the religious

development of mesopotamia and mesopotamian culture in general was not particularly

influenced by the movements of the various peoples into and throughout the area

particularly in the south rather mesopotamian religion was a

consistent and coherent tradition which adapted to the internal needs of its adherents

over millennia of development the earliest undercurrents of mesopotamian religious

thought involved the worship of forces of nature as providers of sustenance

in the third millennium bce objects of worship were personified and became an expansive cast of

divinities with particular functions the last stages of mesopotamian

polytheism which developed in the second and first millenniums introduced greater emphasis on personal

religion and structured the gods into a monarchical hierarchy with the national god being the head of

the pantheon mesopotamian religion finally declined with the spread of iranian religions

and with the christianization of mesopotamia [Music]

the first written records of egyptian religious practice come from around bce in the

pre-diagnostic period in egypt the beginnings of egyptian religion extend into prehistory

though evidence comes only from the sparse and ambiguous archaeological record

careful burials during the pre-dynastic period imply that the people of this time

believed in some form of an afterlife at the same time animals were ritually

buried a practice which may reflect the development of zoomorphic deities like those found in the later religion

the early dynastic period began with the unification of egypt around bce

this event transformed egyptian religion as some deities rose to national

importance and the cult of the divine pharaoh became the center focus of religious activity during the old

kingdom the priesthoods of the major deities attempted to organize the complicated national pantheon

into groups linked by their mythology and worshiped in a single cult center

in contrast with the great size of the pyramid complexes temples to gods remain

comparatively small suggesting that official religion in this period emphasized the cult of the divine king

more than the direct worship of deities the funeral rituals and architecture of this time

greatly influence the more elaborate temples and rituals used in worshiping the gods in later

periods in the nd century bce the old kingdom

collapsed into the disorder of the first intermediate period eventually rulers from thieves reunified

the egyptian nation in the middle kingdom in this new egyptian state personal

piety grew more important and was expressed more freely in writing a trend that

continued in the new kingdom the middle kingdom crumbled in the second intermediate

period but the country was again reunited by the thebian rulers who became the first pharaohs of the new

kingdom under the new regime amun became the supreme state god

he was syncretized with ra the long-established patron of kingship

and his temple at karnak and thieves became egypt’s most important religious center the new

kingdom religious order was disrupted when akhenaten asceted and replaced a moon with the

aten as the state god eventually he eliminated the official worship of most

other gods and moved egypt’s capital to a new city at armana

this part of egyptian history the amarna period is named after this akhenaten’s

successors restored the traditional religious system and eventually they dismantled all otenis monuments

before the armarna period popular religion had trended toward more personal relationships between

worshipers and their gods akhenaten’s changes had reversed this trend but once the traditional

religion was restored there was a backlash the populists began to believe that the gods were much more

directly involved in daily life the pharaoh was correspondingly more human and less divine

the importance of oracles as a means of decision-making grew as did the wealth and influence of the

oracle’s interpreters the priesthood these trends undermined the traditional structure of society

and contributed to the breakdown of the new kingdom in the first millennium bce egypt was

significantly weaker than in earlier times and in several periods foreigners seized

the country and assumed the position of pharaoh the importance of the pharaoh continued

to decline and the emphasis on popular piety continued to increase

animal cults a characteristically egyptian form of worship became increasingly popular in this

period possibly as a response to the uncertainty and foreign influence of the time in the

fourth century bce egypt became a hellenistic kingdom under the ptolemaic dynasty which

assumed the pharonic role maintaining the traditional religion in building or rebuilding many temples

the kingdom’s greek ruling class identified the egyptian deities with their own

from this cross-cultural syncretism emerged serapis a god who combined osiris

and apis with characteristics of greek deities and who became very popular among the

greek population nevertheless for the most part the two belief systems remain

separate and the egyptian deities remained egyptian ptolemaic era beliefs changed little

after egypt became a province of the roman empire in bce with the ptolemaic

kings replaced by distant emperors as the empire weakened official temples

fell into decay and without their centralizing influence religious practice became fragmented and

localized meanwhile christianity spread across egypt and in the third and fourth centuries ce

edicts by christian emperors and iconoclasm by local christians eroded traditional beliefs while it

persisted among the populists for some time egyptian religion slowly faded away


the indus valley civilization was a bronze age civilization that existed between

and bce and its antecedents dating as far back as to bce

during the neolithic period the religion and belief system of the indus valley

people have received considerable attention especially from the view of identifying

precursors to deities and religious practices of indian religions that later developed in

the area however due to the sparsity of evidence which is open to varying interpretations

and the fact that the indus script remains undeciphered the conclusions are partly speculative

and largely based on a retrospective view from a much later hindu perspective

nevertheless some assumptions about the indus valley civilization religion are number one the indus people

probably worshipped a mother goddess in addition to male and female deities number two they may have worshiped a

father god who might be a progenitor of the race and probably was a prototype of siva as the lord of

the animals number three they were familiar with some form of yoga and meditation

number four they believed in a tree of life which is depicted in the seals as a

pipal or acacia tree defended by a guardian spirit against an evil force

symbolized as a tiger in the seals the guardian spirit is depicted variously as a bull a snake

a goat and a mythical creature or animal number five they worship fertility symbols such as

round stones and pierced stones number six they might have also believed

in magical rituals charms and amulets and so also in spirits and demons seven the great bath

of mohenjo daro was probably a prototype koval or sacred tank which are found

in the ancient temples of southern india where people might have taken purification baths

or participated collectively in ritual baths on important occasions and eight going by the number of animals

in the indus seals and the presence of babs suggests that they might have used water in

animals in sacrificial rituals as offerings or for expiation and ritual cleansing

in contrast to contemporary egyptian and mesopotamian civilizations

indus valley lacks any monumental palaces even though excavated cities indicate

the society possess the requisite engineering knowledge this may suggest

that religious ceremonies if any may have been largely confined to individual homes

small temples or the open air several sites have been proposed as possibly

devoted to religious purpose but at present only the great bath that mohenjo-daro

is widely thought to have been so used as a place for ritual purification the funerary

practices of the harappan civilization are marked by fractional burial in which

the body is reduced to skeletal remains by exposure to the elements before final interment and even cremation

long before ancient greek civilization developed the minoan civilization on the island of

crete was engaged in religious practices that would become the foundation for the greeks modern scholars

have reconstructed it almost totally on the basis of archaeological remains

rather than text the minoans seem to have prominently worshipped a great goddess which had previously led

to the belief that their society was matriarchal however it is now known that this was not the

case the minoan pantheon featured many deities among which a young spear-wielding male

god is also prominent some scholars see in the minoan goddess a female divine

solar figure although some depictions of women may be images of worshipers

and priestesses officiating at religious ceremonies goddesses seem to include a mother

goddess of fertility a goddess of animals and female protectors of

cities the household the harvest and the underworld they are often represented by serpents

birds poppies or an animal on the head [Music]

the origins of judaism according to the current historical view lie in the bronze age amidst

polytheistic ancient semitic religions specifically evolving out of ancient

canaanite polytheism then coexisting with babylonian religion

and secretizing elements of babylonian belief into the worship of yahweh as reflected

in the early prophetic books of the hebrew bible although judaism as a religion first

appears in greek records during the hellenistic period and the earliest mention of israel is

inscribed in the mernepta stila dated – bce

religious literature tells the story of israelites going back at least as far as bce

during the iron age the israelite religion became distinct from the canaanite polytheism

out of which it evolved this process began with the development of yahwehism

the monolatristic worship of yahweh that gave acknowledgement to the existence

but suppressed the worship of other canaanite gods later this monolithic beliefs cemented

into a strict monotheistic belief and worship of yahweh alone with the rejection of the existence of all

other gods whether canaanite or foreign during the babylonian captivity of the

sixth and fifth centuries bce certain circles within the exiled judaites

in babylon refined pre-existing ideas about their yahweh centric monolithrism election divine law and

covenant into a strict monotheistic theology which came to dominate the former kingdom of judah

in the following centuries from the th century bce until ce israel-like religion

developed into the various theological schools of second temple judaism besides hellenistic judaism in the

disporia second temple eschatology was significantly influenced by

zoroastrianism the text of the hebrew bible was redacted into its extant form

in this period and possibly also canonized as well


the religion of the olmec people significantly influenced the social development and

mythological world view of mesoamerica scholars have seen echoes of olmec religion in the subsequent

religions and mythologies of nearly all later pre-columbian era banded eye god feather serpent fish or

snake monster cultures the first mesoamerican civilization the almex

developed on the present-day mexican southern gulf coast in the centuries before bce

the culture lasted until roughly bce at which time their center at levinta

lay abandoned the olmec culture is often considered a mother culture to later mesoamerican cultures there is

no surviving direct account of the olmecs religious beliefs unlike the mayan popovu or the aztecs

with their many codices and conquistador accounts archaeologists therefore have to rely on

other techniques to reconstruct olmec beliefs they have employed typological analysis of olmec

iconography and art comparison to later better documented pre-columbian cultures

and comparisons to modern day cultures of the indigenous peoples of the americas

the latter two techniques assume that there is a continuity extending from almec times

through later mesoamerican cultures to the present day this assumption is called the continuity

hypothesis using these techniques researchers have discerned several separate deities

or supernaturals embodying the characteristics of various animals

[Music] mainstream greek religion is a

polytheistic religion that appears to have developed out of proto-indo-european religion and

although very little is known about the earliest periods there are suggestive hints that some

local elements go back further than years although its origins may be traced to

the remotest eras greek religion in its developed form lasted more than a thousand years

from the time of homer probably th or th century bce to the reign of emperor

julian around th century ce during that period

its influence spread as far west as spain east to the indus valley and throughout

the mediterranean world its effect was most marked on the romans who identified their deities with those

of the greeks under christianity greek heroes and even deities survived as saints

while the rival madonnas of southern european communities reflected the independence of local cults

the rediscovery of greek literature during the renaissance and above all the novel perfection of

classical sculpture produced a revolution in taste that had far-reaching effects on

christian religious art the most striking characteristic of greek religion was the belief in a

multiplicity of anthropomorphic deities under one supreme god priests simply looked after cults they

did not constitute a clergy and there were no sacred books

when the roman republic conquered greece in bce it took much of greek religion along

with many other aspects of greek culture such as literary and architectural styles

and incorporated it into its own the greek gods were equated with the ancient roman deities

zeus with jupiter hera with juno poseidon with neptune aphrodite with venus ares with mars

artemis with diana athena with minerva hermes with mercury has feastus with

vulcan hestia with vesta demeter with ceres hades with pluto

and pan with faunus some of the gods such as apollo and bacchus had earlier

been adopted by the romans there were also many deities that existed in the roman religion before its

interaction with greece that were not associated with a greek deity including janus and quirinius

the initial decline of greco-roman polytheism was due in part to its syncretic nature

assimilating beliefs and practices from a variety of foreign religious traditions as the roman empire expanded

greco-roman philosophical schools incorporated elements of judaism and early christianity

and mystery religions like mithraism also became increasingly popular constantine the first became the first

roman emperor to convert to christianity and the edict of milan in ce

enacted official tolerance for christianity within the empire still in greece and elsewhere there is

evidence that pagan and christian communities remained essentially segregated from each other

with little cultural influence flowing between the two urban pagans continued to utilize the

civic centers and temple complexes while christians set up their own new places of worship in suburban areas of

cities contrary to some older scholarship newly converted christians did not simply

continue worshiping in converted temples rather new christian communities were

formed as older pagan communities declined and were eventually suppressed and disbanded

zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest continuously practiced religions

it is a multi-tendency faith centered on a dualistic cosmology of good and evil

and an eschatology predicting the ultimate conquest of evil with theological elements of

hinotheism monotheism and polytheism ascribe to the teachings of the iranian

spiritual leader zoro astor it exalts an uncreated and benevolent deity of wisdom a hero

mazda as its supreme being major features of zoroastrianism such as

messianism judgment after death heaven and hell and free will may have influenced other

religious and philosophical systems including the second temple judaism gnosticism

greek philosophy christianity islam and buddhism with possible roots dating

back to the second millennium bce zoroastrianism enters recorded history

in the th century bce zoroastrianism was adopted by the persian empire

the parthian empire and found its fullest expression under the sassanian

empire the sassanians made zoroastrianism the state religion while at the same time developing a different

branch of the faith usually referred to as a heresy known as zorvanism after the muslim arab invasion

in ce zoroastrians were persecuted the faith suppressed and the religious

sites destroyed or turned into mosque zoroastrianism survived however though

adherents were greatly reduced in number and continues to be observed in the present day

jainism dates to the th century bce in india the religion derives its name

from the genus meaning conquerors a title given to great teachers through whom their faith

was revealed mahavira the last of the teachers is considered the founder of jainism

an early schism occurred that lasts to the present day over certain aspects of monastic

discipline the scavedum berasek believed that monks and nuns should wear

white robes whereas the digamberas believe that monks should wear no clothes the

latter group is also differentiated by its belief that a female cannot attain liberation

the schism was further cemented when the scuvetum bearers met in a council to fix the jain canon of

scriptures in ce the digamberas were excluded from the

council and they later rejected the decisions of the council in the period of the th through th

centuries ce the jain community migrated westward eventually settling in western and

central india jainism was more influential in its new area than it was in the area of its

birth the digamberas settled in the south where they enjoyed much political favor

many scholars argue that hinduism known to adherence as sanatan dharma or the eternal order

is the oldest religion on earth founded as early as bce

hinduism is a fusion of various indian cultures and traditions among the roots of hinduism are the

historical vedic religion of iron age india itself already the product of a

composite of indo-aryan and harappan cultures and civilizations and mesolithic and neolithic cultures of

india such as the religions of the indus valley civilization this hindu fusion emerged after the

vedic period between bce and ce although often viewed as a

polytheistic faith hinduism is actually henotheistic there is only one supreme god in

hinduism brahma and all other deities are his aspects and reflections

since brahma is too immense a concept for the human mind to comprehend he presents himself in the many

different versions of himself which people recognize as deity such as visnu

shiva and the many others the hindu belief system includes million gods

and these range from those who are known at a national level such as krishna to lesser known local deities

[Music] confucianism developed from the

teachings of the chinese philosopher confucius which lived between and

bce it is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient china

and variously described as tradition a philosophy a religion a humanistic or rationalistic

religion a way of governing or simply a way of life confucianism may be identified as a

continuation of the shang zhao official religion or the chinese aboriginal religion which

has lasted uninterrupted for years the terms confucianism and confusion are

not meaningful terms in chinese they are western terms coined by th

century jesuit missionaries in china confucianism has deeply influenced

spiritual and political life in china its influence has also extended to korea

japan and vietnam east asians may profess themselves to be shintoists

taoists buddhists muslims or christians but seldom do they cease to be confusions confucianism

would engage in a historic push and pull with the philosophies of buddhism and taoism experiencing

ebbs and flows and influence with high points during the han tang and song dynasties as buddhism

became the dominant spiritual force in china confucianism declined in practice and

with the emergence of communism and maoism in the th century the mainstream practice of confucianism

was largely at an end

the history of buddhism spans from the th century bce to the present buddhism arose in the

eastern part of ancient india in and around the ancient kingdom of magdha

and is based on the teachings of siddhartha gautama this makes it one of the oldest

religions practiced today the religion evolved as it spread from the northeastern region of the indian

subcontinent through central east and southeast asia at one time or another it influenced

most of the asian continent the history of buddhism is also characterized by the development of

numerous movements schisms and schools with contrasting periods of expansion

and retreat by the rd century bce the picture we

have of buddhism is very different the marian indian emperor ahsoka the great who ruled from

to bce turned buddhism into the state religion of india he

provided a favorable social and political climate for the acceptance of buddhist ideas

encouraged buddhist missionary activity and even generated among buddhist monks

certain expectations of patronage and influence on the machinery of political decision-making archaeological evidence

for buddhism between the death of the buddha and the time of ahsoka is scarce after the time of ahsoka it is abundant

during the first century ce while the oldest buddhist groups were growing in the south in southeast asia

a new buddhist school named mahayana originated in northern india

this school had a more adaptable approach and was open to doctrinal innovations

mahayana buddhism is today the dominant form of buddhism in nepal tibet china japan mongolia

korea and vietnam [Music]

christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teaching of jesus of nazareth

christianity teaches that jesus is the son of god and the messiah the savior of humanity foretold in the

torah the primary scriptural doctrine of the jewish faith christian

scripture incorporates both the torah referred to by christians as the old testament

with the story of jesus his teachings and those of his contemporaneous disciples

that’s the new testament these form the bible the central text of the christian faith

christianity began in jerusalem as an outgrowth of judaism that considered jesus the christ

this idea and its adherence spread rapidly through ancient judea around the st century ce

then throughout the ancient world christianity has seen countless

reformation movements which spawned innumerable sex and offshoot denominations

far too many forms of practice exist to be named in one place but the faith’s three largest branches

are roman catholicism eastern orthodoxy and protestantism combined christianity

is the largest religion in the world with roughly . billion adherents or percent of the total population

its impact on the shape of world history and on present day world culture

is incalculable [Music]

the earliest origins of gnosticism are obscure and still disputed the proto-orthodox

christian groups called gnostics a heresy of christianity but according to the modern scholars the theology’s

origin is closely related to jewish sectarian milius and early christian sex

as christianity developed and became more popular so did gnosticism with both

proto-orthodox christian and gnostic christian groups often existing in the same places

the gnostic belief was widespread within christianity until the proto-orthodox christian

communities expelled the group in the second and third centuries ce

some scholars prefer to speak of gnosis when referring to first century ideas that later developed into gnosticism

and to reserve the term gnosticism for the synthesis of these ideas into a coherent movement

in the second century no gnostic texts clearly predate christianity

however the nag hamadi library contain hermetic teachings that can be argued to go back

to the old egyptian kingdom gnosticism likely refers not to a single religious

orientation but to an inter-religious phenomenon in which various groups across an array

of regions evolved to a similar set of beliefs and ideas a term adapted in modern historical

discourse gnosticism concerns the variety of religious systems

and beliefs in the ancient world that emerged from the judeo-christian tradition these belief systems held that

emanations from a single god were responsible for the creation of the material world and that as such all humans carried the

divine spark of god gnosticism is dualistic and draws sharp divides between the superior

spiritual world and the inferior material world with the gaining or receiving of special

hidden knowledge allowing transcendence from one realm to another

[Music] shinto is a religious tradition native

to japan initially an informal collection of beliefs and mythologies shinto was less

a religion than a distinctly japanese form of cultural observance the first recorded

use of the term shinto can be traced to the th century ce and is essentially the connective tissue

between ancient japanese customs and modern japanese life the primary focus of shinto is the

native belief in kami and interaction with them through public shrines these shrines are

essential artifacts of and channel shinto observation more than shinto shrines dot

japan traditional japanese styles of dress dance and ritual are also rooted in shinto

customs shinto is unique among religions as a reflection of japanese identity shinto

observance is not necessarily limited to those who view themselves as religious adherents

roughly three to four percent of the japanese population identifies as being part of a shinto

sect or congregation by contrast in a survey roughly

percent of japanese citizens reported visiting shinto shrines

islam is a monotheistic religion that like christianity and judaism traces its

roots to the garden of eden adam and the prophet abraham islam teaches that allah is the only god

and that muhammad is his messenger islam holds that god spoke to muhammad through the archangel gabriel sometime

around ce delivering the revelations that would form the quran the islamic faith proliferated

rapidly through the middle east particularly around the three holiest sites of the faith

mecca where an awakened muhammad made his first pilgrimage medina the center of early islamic faith

under muhammad’s leadership and jerusalem the spiritual capital of the ancient world

in the centuries to follow islam would simultaneously produce countless wars of succession and a

growing sense of spiritual unity within the arab world the dichotomy between internal conflict

and cultural unity remains a presence in the islamic faith today the dichotomy

would also give way to a division between the two dominant sects of islam sunni and shia today islam

is the dominant faith for large swaths of geography particularly in the middle east

southeast asia and north africa with more than . billion adherents

islam is the second largest religion in the world and the chief spiritual identity for

more than percent of the world’s population

before watching this presentation it is strongly recommended to watch parts one through three

in part one we learned the biocosmological origins of religion that likely evolved naturally from our ape

ancestors to current modern homo sapiens in parts and we learned the

chronology of institutionalized religions beginning in the ancient era some of you may ask why cover that

material well simply put it’s tough to read between the lines

without the lines in general the archive consistently presents the mainstream

paradigm on any given subject not only to present a more comprehensive analysis but also

to provide a full context in which alternative hypotheses are extrapolated and applied

and on this particular subject we are certain many of our viewers have already recognized where and when

the current mainstream academic paradigm has a very major hiccup perhaps it may

be better characterized as an anomaly remember back at the beginning of part

we discussed the younger dryas period and how human burials resumed at that time

well if something resumed that implies it stopped for some reason in his

book the cosmic code zechariah sitchin provided a chronological timeline for

earth before and after the great deluge in this timeline sitchin stated that around

years ago the first appearance of homo sapiens occurred as a result of genetic

engineering by an extraterrestrial race known as the anunnaki this flew in the

face of the current academic paradigm that had concluded that homo sapiens were approximately years old

but nearly twenty years later in the academic paradigm was turned on its

head based on the re-dating of a discovery from . max planck institute evolutionary

biologist john jacques hublin discovered five early humans three adults a child

and an adolescent located in a cave on a moroccan hillside between marrakech and

the atlantic coast at a site known as jebel or hood after using some of the newer dating

technologies in it was announced these fossils were actually

year old homo sapiens so here is yet another example where

sitchin’s research and interpretation of sumerian tablets and seals was vindicated by modern academic

science the reason we point this out is because it seems like that sitchin’s perspective

is continually being proven accurate as academic research catches up to his hypotheses now

let us jump to that time period known as the younger dryos first off what is it the academic

perspective claims that the younger dryers was a earth period that began roughly

years ago and finished years ago these twelve hundred years

mark the transition out of the last great ice age it was a period where the earth was a

very different place ice sheets covered most of north america in particular and also europe sea levels were much

much lower with a large proportion of land mass exposed then around years ago

global warming began and the vast ice sheets began to steadily melt

the problem is that ice ages generally don’t end quickly at years ago global temperatures

rocketed up by as much as degrees celsius in only a few years suddenly a large

portion of the ice sheets melted and the earth emerged out of the full ice age here marks

the start of the younger dryas many of you are familiar with the author graham

hancock in his works hancock is a proponent of the younger dryer’s impact hypothesis

which claims that massive fragments from a comet struck earth years ago and in turn

spawned the younger drivers period he explains quote the result was a global disaster that

lasted for thirteen hundred years it is i believe the smoking gun that made us a species with amnesia

and wiped out almost all traces of a former high civilization of prehistoric antiquity

but there were survivors who preserved at least some of the knowledge of the civilization that had been destroyed

with the intention of transmitting it to future generations so it is not an accident that the first

traces of reemergence of civilization in the form of the earliest known megalithic architecture

and the re-promulgation of agricultural skills occur at gobekli tempe in turkey

years ago a date that coincides exactly with the end of

the younger dryas and the return to a more congenial global environment

everything we have been taught about the origins of civilization occurs after years ago in other words

after the radical punctuation mark of the younger dryas end quote let’s jump back to sitchin now

in that same cosmic code timeline from sitchin describes the occurrence of

a great deluge and wouldn’t you know it he concluded that it occurred approximately

bce or around years ago

in his interpretation of the sumerian references it was actually the proximity of the planet

nibiru passing nearby that was the cause of the havoc here is where we find the story of inky

warning sasudra to build a submersible ship and the great flood stories that permeated the ancient era religions

even though hancock and sitchin disagree as to the cause of the younger dryas

and the potential great flood that occurred during that time the result is the same it basically

resets civilization both men actually agree that high civilization existed prior to

this time they simply disagree as to his origin regardless of which hypothesis is chosen

we have near unanimous agreement that civilization was restarted after this period

and when it comes to the religions of humans we can discern a clearer picture of how those religions

originated and were utilized for social control suddenly we moved to city centers and

developed more complex pantheons of deities the natural spirituality humans

developed over a quarter of a million years had been usurped and co-opted by an external force

and this is when we believe religion becomes a tool the question is a tool for who

the archive has already addressed this part of the story in four separate videos that we encourage you to

view in order to round out your understanding of this time period

the anunnaki gods of ancient egypt ancient india ancient mesoamerica and ancient

greece go in depth about the plethora of religious parallels between these cultures

and potential extraterrestrial origins those presentations among several others

on our channel have helped us conclude that religion is nothing more than a tool that’s been used over millennia to

manipulate people usually for the benefit of a select few

we have a pretty good idea of what is civilization and what is religion and why they are vitally related

civilization as we have seen is a complex of acquired habits it is

not innate in man but each generation has to acquire the ever increasing mass of

habits and traditions which make it up but these habits and traditions cannot be passed on successfully

from generation to generation in human society without strong social sanctions

or adequate means of social control for many of them call upon the individual

to restrain his animal impulses and even to sacrifice himself for the good of his

group the most ancient of these means of social control is probably religion

as soon as the habits of any primitive group were reflected upon in connection with the welfare of the

group they became inevitably associated with the elements of luck of good fortune or bad fortune of safety

and danger to the group in brief with the whole mysterious wonder working powers of

nature thus superhuman sanctions became attached to those habits of action which were

found to be safe and conducive to group welfare they became in other words

the mores of the group and the moors thus embedded in religious sanctions became

all-powerful out of them were developed all the other agencies of social control

it is for this reason that we find primitive science and art as well as primitive government law

morality and education all associated with religion often indeed indistinguishable from it

social control was thus primitively a religious control and through all the subsequent centuries

religion has been the core of social control because it has been at the heart of the standards the values

the mores of every civilization as the guardian of the moors religion develops prohibitions

and taboos of actions of which the group or its dominant class disapproves it may lend itself

therefore to maintaining a given social order longer than that order is necessary or

even after it has become a stumbling block to social progress for the same reason it may be exploited

by a dominant class in their own interests it is in this way that religion has

often become an impediment to progress and an instrument of class

oppression every once in a while we have someone from within the religious ranks

who explains the truth of its usage as a tool for social control

listen carefully to episcopal bishop john shelby sponge

i don’t think he’ll exist i happen to believe in life after death but i don’t think it’s got a thing to do

with reward and punishment religion is always in the control business [Music]

and that’s something people don’t really understand it’s it’s in the guilt-producing control

business and if you have heaven as a place where you’re rewarded for your goodness and

hell is a place where you’re punished for your evil then you sort of have control of the

population and so they create this fiery place which has quite literally scared the

hell out of a lot of people throughout christian history and it’s part of a control tactic but wait a minute you’re saying that hell

the idea of a place under the earth or somewhere where you’re tormented for an eternity is actually an invention

of the church i think the church fired its furnaces hotter than anybody else but i think there’s a sense in most

religious life of reward and punishment in some form the church doesn’t like for people to grow up

because you can’t control grown-ups that’s why we talk about being born again when you’re born again you’re still a

child the people don’t need to be born again they need to grow up they need to accept their responsibility for themselves in

the world what do you make of the theology which uh is pretty quite prominent these days in

america which is that there is one guaranteed way not to go to hell and that is to accept

jesus as your personal savior i grew up in that tradition uh every church i know claims that we

are the true church and they have some ultimate authority we have the infallible pope we

have the inerrant bible the idea that the truth of god can be bound in any human system by any human

creed by any human book is almost beyond imagination for me

i mean god is not a christian god is not a jew or a muslim or a hindu a buddhist

all of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery

of god i honor my tradition i walk through my tradition but i don’t

believe my tradition defines god i think it only points me to god you and i are emerging people not fallen

people our problem is not that we are born in sin

our problem is we do not yet know how to achieve being fully human

the function of the christ is not to rescue the sinners [Music]

but to empower you and to call you to be more deeply and fully human

than you’ve ever realized there was the potential within you to be maybe salvation

needs to be conveyed in terms of enhancing your humanity rather than rescuing you from it life is

a startling and wondrous experience and eventually i think we’re going to discover

that god is unfolding through the life of our consciousness and our self-consciousness

and is not a parent figure up in the sky but i believe because i’m related to something that is not bound by time and

space that i will share in whatever god’s eternity is

the question becomes why is it so many people care so much about the personal religious

views of others if everyone kept their beliefs private as they should practice them in

the appropriate places and didn’t judge others who believe differently

we would most certainly have a more peaceful world have you ever wondered how many murders

wars and acts of terror were committed in human history in the name of religion

not faith or spirituality but religion in a very practical way organized

religion today is simply one group of humans telling another that they’re wrong it’s

one group of people manipulating the masses to oppose another group of people based

on their own interpretation of a faith apparently it is easy to take a group of

people with like-minded beliefs group them together and manipulate them for ulterior goals

as we focus on certain periods of history we find that religious leaders often perpetuated that specific

kings or emperors were ordained by whatever relevant god and for the people to revolt against

them would be blasphemy to question their rule was to go against god

thus risking damnation organized religion can force people to support

leaders who don’t have their best interest in mind by simply evoking the wrath of whatever god they worship and this isn’t

just a christian thing you see this with almost every religion around the world

our goal as humans should simply be to exist as good people

and that’s essentially what the core of all of these faiths tell us just be a good person

however it’s organized religion that has taken that simple goal and twisted it for human-made selfish

ambitions greed and power but when we say human-made we must consider the ancient

astronaut hypothesis when it asserts that homo sapiens are the result of a genetic modification

could such a modification have instilled those selfish ambitions greed and lust for power

or even simply have amplified them from what the archive understands about the sumerian

descriptions of the anunnaki it would seem very feasible that is what happened

the anunnaki seemed to possess some of the worst human emotions and inclinations but in essence it is

the reverse we possess their negative attributes as such the already naturally formed

spirituality of homo sapiens would certainly have been a means by which to exercise control

over an increasing population indeed it is a viable explanation for the

original repurposing of religion by another planetary race and then by us

humans after the younger dryas but what if the anunnaki epoch

is but one of many not over several hundreds of thousands of years but over several millions nearly two

years ago the archive posted a presentation titled the silurian hypothesis

while the anunnaki epoch spans back nearly years the solarian hypothesis

assesses modern science’s ability to detect evidence of a prior advanced civilization

perhaps several million years ago in a paper adam frank an astrophysicist at the

university of rochester and gavin schmidt director of the nasa goddard institute

imagined an advanced civilization before humans and pondered whether it would be possible to detect an industrial

civilization in the geological record by the way in case you were wondering

the term solarian hypothesis was inspired by a s doctor who

serial doctor who and the solarians which featured a species called the solarians

according to the researchers since fossilization is relatively rare and little of earth’s exposed surface is

from before the quaternary time period which is about . million years ago

the chances of finding direct evidence of such a civilization such as technological artifacts is small

after a great time span the researchers concluded we would be more likely to find indirect

evidence such as anomalies in the chemical composition or isotope ratios of sediments objects that could

indicate possible evidence of past civilization include plastics and nuclear waste

residues buried deep underground or on the ocean floor prior civilizations could have gone to

space and left artifacts on other celestial bodies such as the moon and mars and

interestingly the evidence for artifacts on these two worlds would be easier to find than on earth where

erosion and tectonic activity would erase much of it

so we very likely have some gaps to say the least but if you bother to jump out the

academic circle you find a whole lot of stuff that fills in the holes gaps crevices cracks and wrinkles

of the mainstream paradigm the history of religion on earth is not simply the history of one facet

of our human development as a species it is also the history of

government law art science civilization itself and perhaps

even extraterrestrial intervention

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