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The Religion of Man

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The Religion of Man
Doyle W. Upchurch
World Civilizations HIS 103
Jay Keever
October 31, 2012

The Religion of Man Throughout time there have been different types of religions. There have been conflicts, battles and even wars, between families, clans and nations over religion. Religion has had a hand in changing the face of this world for millions of years and a hand in the development of nations. Religion has been and still is one of the most controversial subjects known to man. Paleolithic cave art was closely linked to the ‘conceptual discovery’ of the symbolic and religious world of primitive peoples. This denied any hint of symbolic and intellectual complexity among hunter-gatherers, made it impossible to fit such art within a ‘savage’ society. It was only when this idea of progress became more flexible, in parallel with the discovery and more precise definition of the symbolic–religious world of primitive people, that the prehistoric chronology of the parietal depictions could be accepted. (Eduardo Palacio-Perez, 2010) Prehistorians defined the decorated objects, as crafts, a ‘lesser art’ aimed at decoration, characteristic of traditional and primitive societies, in contrast with the ‘fine arts’ associated with the expression of the aesthetic ideals of civilized mankind. Clearly, with such a restricted conception of Paleolithic art, there was no room for the parietal depictions. However, does the key for the recognition of the age of cave art lie in the discovery of the religious and symbolic world of primitive people? Is there a direct correlation between the acceptance of parietal art and the generalization of the concepts of animism, totemic and sympathetic magic? And with the existence of a supposed religion in the ‘Age of Reindeer’, deduced from the discovery of Paleolithic burials? Were these new revelations really sufficient to look upon the cave paintings in another way? Or were other changes needed that we have not previously taken into account? (Eduardo Palacio-Perez, 2010) Naturally, Paleolithic hunters had no religion, as Mortillet maintained mighty all his life: ‘It happens that as soon as religious ideas appear, funerary practices are introduced. However, there is no evidence of funerary practices in the Paleolithic man. Paleolithic man was, therefore, wholly devoid of any feeling of religiousness’. In the case of Gabriel de Mortillet, it was his strict evolutionism combined with personal and political reasons and in his desire to prove that religion was essential to human nature, to show there was more to the definition of portable art then just simple decorative craftsmanship. It is clear that these theories were soon to form part of the prehistorian’s way of thinking. They appeared in two decisive debates: one arising from the acceptance of the Paleolithic date of certain burials and, some years later, the debate on the existence of cave art. , Lartet and Christy were the first to suggest the existence of a funerary culturing the ‘Age of Reindeer’ based on the remains found at Aurignac. Excavated in the caves of Bouaoussé-Roussé near Menton, where he discovered the remains of possible burials among abundant Paleolithic material. However, many refused to accept this evidence, and alluded to stratigraphical arguments that negated the Paleolithic date of the skeletons or assumed they were the results of accidents caused by the collapse of boulders. It was Cartailhac who, in 1886, after detailed study of the various human remains found at different sites, finally attributed the existence of clearly defined burials to the Paleolithic: ‘The skeleton thus prepared had been the object of the mysterious attention of the living, dressed with adornments, covered with red dust and probably hidden beneath a thin layer of earth and ashes. In France we have seen sites that reveal the same funerary rite. The observations made in the Pyrenees and the centre of France show that this custom was generalized’ In this way, the idea grew that the ‘primitive’ people in the Paleolithic possessed some form of religiousness and a solid belief in the afterlife. The History of Religion or the History of Art will always be greatly influenced by the opinions and beliefs of the men that are performing the study or writing the studies on the subject. (Eduardo Palacio-Perez, 2010) Romans had a practical attitude to religion, which perhaps explains why they had difficulty in taking to the idea of a single, all-seeing, all-powerful god. Romans had a religion of their own; it was not based on any central belief, but on a mixture of fragmented rituals, Gods, taboos, superstitions, and traditions which they collected over the years from a number of sources. Religion was less a spiritual experience than a contractual relationship between mankind and the forces which were believed to control people's existence and well-being. (Franco Cavazzi, 2002)
Most of the Roman gods and goddesses were a blend of several religious influences. Many were introduced via the Greek colonies of southern Italy. Many also had their roots in old religions of the Etruscans or Latin tribes. The old Etruscan or Latin name survived but the deity over time became to be seen as the Greek god of equivalent or similar nature and so it is that the Greek and Roman pantheon look very similar, but for different names. An example is the goddess Diana to whom the Roman King Servius Tullius, built the temple on the Aventine Hill. Essentially she was an old Latin goddess from the earliest of times. Others were Jupiter- God of the heavens, Lar- a Spirit of the household, Mars- God of war, Neptune- God of the sea, Venus- Goddess of love, and Roma -Goddess of Rome. (Franco Cavazzi, 2002)
Religious activity required some kind of sacrifice. And prayer could be a confusing matter due to some gods having multiple names or their sex even being unknown. The practice of Roman religion was a confusing. In the Roman mind, there was a sort of contract between the gods and the mortals. As part of this agreement each side would provide as well as receive services. The very nature of Roman religion itself, with its numerous gods, many of which had multiple roles, was cause for problems. Particularly as in some cases not even the sex of a deity was clear. Hence the phrase 'whether you be god or goddess' was a widespread in the worship of certain deities. Many Roman gods also had entire collection of additional names, according to what aspect of life they were a patron. (Franco Cavazzi, 2002)
A prayer almost always will have been made together with a small offering to the deity. Such sacrifices did not always need to involve the killing of an animal, although this was very often the case. The sacrifice had to be a symbol of life in some way or form. Milk, fruit, cheese, also wine was often used as less bloody offerings to the gods. But naturally for the official rituals of the state gods it was animals which most of the time were sacrificed. And for each god there would be different animals. For Janus one sacrificed a ram. For Jupiter it was a heifer. Mars demanded an ox, a pig and a sheep, except for 15 October when it had to be the winning race horse of the day (the near side horse of a chariot team). Such animal sacrifices were by their mere nature very elaborate and bloody affairs. The animal's head had wine and sacred bread (baked by the vestal virgins) sprinkled over it. The animal was killed by having its throat cut. But before it was sacrificed it was disemboweled for inspection of its innards, to ensure that the god was not offered an animal bearing a bad omen. Should indeed something be found wanting about the animal's entrails then it was not only a bad sign, but a new animal would have to be sacrificed in its place. A priest would then say prayers, this too was a closely guarded ritual, by which the priest himself would be wearing some form of mask or blindfold to protect his eyes from seeing any evil and a flute would be played to drown out any evil sounds. Roman religion did not as such really practice human sacrifice. Although it was not totally unknown, slaves were sacrificed in the third and second century BC. (Franco Cavazzi, 2002)
Muslims are taught that throughout the ages, God sent messengers to all tribes and nations all over the earth beginning with Adam, the first prophet of God as well as the father of humanity. Every time a messenger of God would pass away, his people would begin to fall back on their evil deeds until a few generations later they would have managed to have completely corrupted His original message to them. When God's message was in danger of being completely obliterated by these people, He would choose from among them a new messenger to receive the original, uncorrupted message and convey it to them. However, the message would always be available for those who wanted it. God made sure that all of mankind would always have access to His true religion, no matter where or when they lived. It would then be up to them to seek out this knowledge. (Dr. Ishaq Zahid, Sept. 28, 2010)
Muslims are further taught that each messenger was sent only to his own people. His message was then fine-tuned to suit them. Thus, the basic message would be the same for all messengers: "God is one!, Worship Him alone!" The details of each people's worship would be molded to suit their lifestyle, state of knowledge, and so forth. (Dr. Ishaq Zahid, Sept. 28, 2010)
Muslims are told that when God created mankind, He gave them "The Choice." They were told that they could either live, their lives then die and fade out of the picture, like the animals do. Or they could elect to be held accountable for their actions. If they accepted the accountability, then the potential reward will be great. The potential retribution would be equally great. (Dr. Ishaq Zahid, Sept. 28, 2010)
He then assisted mankind with many factors in order to guide them to His true path and the ultimate reward. Firstly, He sent the messengers. No matter how much mankind tried to corrupt His religion, it would always be available to those who searched for it. (Dr. Ishaq Zahid, Sept. 28, 2010)
Secondly, He supplied mankind with minds. He gave them these minds in order to be able to distinguish between right and wrong using their intellect. If they see someone worshipping fire, and they see that the fire cannot hear their prayers nor answer their calls, then no matter how much these fire-worshippers "spiritualized" their worship and tell them of the great miracles the fire has worked for them and how it has answered their prayers, and how it "loves" them, their intellect will refuse to believe these concoctions. (Dr. Ishaq Zahid, Sept. 28, 2010)
Finally, God gave mankind an inborn sense called in Arabic "Fitrah" (instinct). This "Fitrah" is the small voice inside each one of us which tells us "this doesn't feel right." (Dr. Ishaq Zahid, Sept. 28, 2010)
Hinduism's history is closely linked with social and political developments, such as the rise and fall of different kingdoms and empires. Hinduism's early history is the subject of much debate for a number of reasons. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Firstly, in a strict sense there was no 'Hinduism' before modern times, although the sources of Hindu traditions are very ancient. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Secondly, Hinduism is not a single religion but embraces many traditions. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Thirdly, Hinduism has no definite starting point. The traditions which flow into Hinduism may go back several thousand years and some practitioners claim that the Hindu revelation is eternal. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Although there is an emphasis on personal spirituality, Hinduism's history is closely linked with social and political developments, such as the rise and fall of different kingdoms and empires. The early history of Hinduism is difficult to date and Hindus themselves tend to be more concerned with the substance of a story or text rather than its date. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Hindus in general believe that time is cyclical, much like the four seasons, and eternal rather than linear and bounded. Texts refer to successive ages, designated respectively as golden, silver, copper and iron. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
During the golden age people were pious and adhered to dharma (law, duty, truth) but its power diminishes over time until it has to be reinvigorated through divine intervention. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
The Indus Valley civilisation was located in the basin of the river Indus, which flows through present day Pakistan. It had developed by about 2500 BCE although its origins reach back to the Neolithic period. It had faded away by 1500 BCE. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
The Indus Valley a developed urban culture akin to the civilisations of Mesopotamia. Two major cities have been uncovered, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, which has given us the alternative name of Harappan culture. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
The civilisation was extensive, from the eastern foothills of the Himalayas, to Lothar on the Gujarat coast, and to Sutgagen Dor near the Iranian border. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
The Indus civilisation did not develop as a result of contact with other civilisations such as Sumer or Egypt but was an indigenous development growing out of earlier, local cultures. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Social structure or politics of this early civilisation and we do not know the language, but seals have been found with what looks like a script inscribed on them. This has not been deciphered successfully and some scholars now question whether it is in fact a script, although this is contentious. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
Religion in the Indus valley seems to have involved temple rituals and ritual bathing in the 'great bath' found at Mohenjo-Daro. There is some evidence of animal sacrifice at Kalimantan. A number of terracotta figurines have been found, perhaps goddess images, and a seal depicting a seated figure surrounded by animals that some scholars thought to be a prototype of the god Shiva. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)
There may be continuities between the Indus Valley civilisation and later Hinduism as suggested by the apparent emphasis on ritual bathing, sacrifice, and goddess worship. But ritual purity, sacrifice and an emphasis on fertility are common to other ancient religions. (Professor Gavin Flood, 2009)

References:
Cavazzi, F. The religion of Rome.
Retrieved from http://www.roman- empire.net/religion/religion.html
Flood, G., Prof. History of Hinduism.
Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/history/history_1.shtml
Palacio-Perez, E., Dr.
CAVE ART AND THE THEORY OF ART: THE ORIGINS OF. Retrieved from http://library.ashford.edu
Zahid, I., Dr.
Retrieved from http://www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/christ_islam.html…...

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Religion

...The world is full of religions. There is Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. All these religions are different, but they have one thing in common. They all have certain traditions that have been passed down over the centuries and continue today. As a quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel says “A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.” This can be true about all religions; they all stress the fact that a person must not be evil but learn to love everyone. All religions have a supreme being. Most religions believe in a God. And throughout religions there has been some form of physical representation of this person. For example, Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God, born through a virgin. Muslims believe that the prophet Mohammed was the messenger of God. This divine belief is the basis for some religions. That there is a higher power that can be the basis for people’s thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Monotheism is the belief in one God or Supreme Being. This divine person is said to be all knowing and omnipotent. Then there is pantheism or all divine. These are religions that believe in an immanent power. This is an energy source or mysterious power. Finally there is polytheism, the belief in many gods. A perfect example of this type of religion would be the ancient Greek and......

Words: 759 - Pages: 4