Spike Jones writes:
> I have a notion that I tried once before, but it didnt catch on: that
> the first societies to invent god acheived a military advantage. the
> alpha male could more successfully talk the others into fighting his
> battles, robbing and raping the neighboring village if he could
> say god told him to tell them if they died in battle, (or during pillage,
> mid-rape, etc) then god would reward generously in the afterlife.
> (And would punish in this life and the next, if they failed to
> pillage, rape and rob the other village.) The invention of god
> *might* be as simple as this: it made for more enthusiastic warriors.
Actually, I think that it has been established that the earliest
religious rituals had to do with hunting. Ritual dances were held with
a shaman dressed in the animal skin, and a mock killing would occur.
I believe that these rituals were actually practice. I think the shaman
dressing in the animal skins would lead the others into the ritual of
the hunt. They would be trained how to hunt, how to hide, how to sneak
up on the kill.
I believe that these rituals were actually practice. I think the shaman dressing in the animal skins would lead the others into the ritual of the hunt. They would be trained how to hunt, how to hide, how to sneak up on the kill.The leader could see whose aim was better, who could hide well, who could run fast, and who was weak. He could predict that the best aimers would hit the animal with spears first. He could predict who could keep up with a running animal, and who couldn't. He could predict who could sneak up on an animal, and who couldn't. He would choose the best hunting teams. Although the non-alpha males may not have realized what was going on, they did learn that after going through rituals beforehand, their hunts went better. Those who practiced ritual got kills more often. Those who didn't perform ritual did not fare so well. Those teams picked by the shaman worked together best. Those not chosen by the shaman might tag along, but wouldn't do so well.
I think the early animal shamanism evolved out of the basic hunt for food. The idea of the totem grew out of the practice animal effigies made of animal skins. Those who paid homage to these totems got the kill. Those who did not did not get the kill. The basics of religious belief are all there, but the rationale behind the rituals were lost on many members. They just developed faith that if they did as the shaman instructed, it would be better. It was not an irrational belief, because it really worked.
I have similar theories about agriculture religions evolving from the sky watchers who told people when it was time to plant, when it was time to harvest, and when it was time to store food. Those that obeyed the astrologers did better than those who did not listen to their predictions.
-- Harvey Newstrom <http://newstaffinc.com> Author, Consultant, Engineer, Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.