Re: thoughts on origin of religions

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 06:30:51 MST

On Fri, Feb 22, 2002 at 01:08:38PM +1100, Miriam English wrote:
> I have been wondering why so many of the world's most powerful religions
> seem to have been born around the same time. It seems to me that many of
> the big religions got much of their power from the birth of writing.

No; writing was invented long before - around 4100-3800 BCE. The
sumerians, egyptians and babylonians were writing thousands of years
before the idea of monotheism became fashionable. The first big monotheist
religion was Zoroastrism, which emerged around ~1400 BCE. Judaism maybe
emerged from around 2000 BCE onwards, hinduism evolved around 1500 BCE,
buddhism around 600 BCE. Christianity emerged around 100 CE, and islam
around 600 CE. Overall, the emergence of new religions appear rather
evenly spaced. However, the ideas that are incorporated may have emerged
elsewhere and in far older times.

I would really like to know what happend 500-400 BCE - look at the number
of extremely influential philosophers suddenly popping up worldwide; the
important greek ones in the West, Sun Tzu, Confucius, Buddha etc. Why so
many at this time?

> There would have been a special awe for written works back then when the
> technology was still new.

True. This is especially noticeable in the "people of the book", the
judeo-christian-islamic sphere. Here greek ideas about the nature of
reality as words/text/information get linked with religion in a very
strong sense. No wonder cabala and "magic" using sacred books (swearing on
bibles, placing sacred scriptures as protections) became popular.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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