Re: thoughts on origin of religions

From: Miriam English (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 19:50:39 MST

At 12:30 AM 23/02/2002, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>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.

You are right -- I shouldn't have said "birth" of writing. I know writing
has been around longer than the world's big current religions. The others
had their religions too... they just died out when their civilisations
folded. It just seems to me that early writing was dreadfully important --
the awe they had for the written word -- The Book -- when the technology
was ooh aah new. It may be the shift from oral to written recording that
may be crucial -- when writing is new for each people.

>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?

Yeah, this is what I mean. I was thinking it may be connected with this
reverence for written works. Of course I could be totally on the wrong
track... something about it feels right though...

> > 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.


         - Miriam

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Virtual Reality Association

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:40 MST