Start of Religion? A Thought.

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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Start of Religion? A Thought.

Postby Nigel Di Salvia » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:34 am

I have been having a recurring thought for many years now. Many prehistoric carvings and statues found are of what can only be described as pregnant women. Why the focus on pregnancy? Were pregnant women held in high esteem because getting pregnant and going full term with a surviving infant and mother was uncommon?

Many of the prehistoric peoples seemed to focus on worshipping a fertility goddess. Worship of actual humans and the events surrounding them that eventually turned from physical to spiritual. Could this be where religion stems from?
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Postby Minimalist » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:33 pm

Once we have the rise of agricultural societies we suddenly see the fixation on "fertility." Very important for the priests to be able to con people that they knew when the growing season would start and other such rot.

But "religion" pre-dates the agricultural revolution and I'm not so sure that the analogy can be carried back quite that far.
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Postby curious01 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:43 am

I've often wondered about the beginnings of religion, as well.

I don't think we'll ever know the true start of it, but one reason could be:

Not having a crystalized, fact-based answer for whatever phenomena occurred at the moment, causing the individual(s) to blame or thank an outside force.

I believe the most pertinent question would be 'When did humans come up with the idea of an unseen intelligence guiding life and death?' I suspect the answer lies much further in the past, beyond HSS.

When did our ancestors develop the higher portions of brain matter that come into play during abstract thought processes such as imagination, forethought and religious experience? Was it the process itself which caused the massive growth of this new brain tissue, or was it the reverse?
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Postby Minimalist » Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:01 pm

When did our ancestors develop the higher portions of brain matter that come into play during abstract thought processes such as imagination, forethought and religious experience?



You'll find that one of the recurring themes around here is the notion that Neanderthal and Erectus are not considered the brutes that they were originally claimed to be by 19th century science.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Postby curious01 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:22 am

Minimalist wrote:
When did our ancestors develop the higher portions of brain matter that come into play during abstract thought processes such as imagination, forethought and religious experience?



You'll find that one of the recurring themes around here is the notion that Neanderthal and Erectus are not considered the brutes that they were originally claimed to be by 19th century science.


I'd just seen a news blurb focusing on new stone tool finds dated at at least 1/2 a million years. Incredible, but not as surprising as I'd thought that would be. I wonder just how long proto-languages have been around, as well.
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Postby Digit » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:33 am

I wonder just how long proto-languages have been around, as well.


My grandson is just learning to speak, and even without a working vocabulary he can still communicate using some words, sounds and gestures.
I suspect that language in our ancestors followed much the same path.

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Postby Beagle » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:48 am

curious01 wrote:
Minimalist wrote:
When did our ancestors develop the higher portions of brain matter that come into play during abstract thought processes such as imagination, forethought and religious experience?



You'll find that one of the recurring themes around here is the notion that Neanderthal and Erectus are not considered the brutes that they were originally claimed to be by 19th century science.


I'd just seen a news blurb focusing on new stone tool finds dated at at least 1/2 a million years. Incredible, but not as surprising as I'd thought that would be. I wonder just how long proto-languages have been around, as well.



Hey - the forum is back up! Great.

Hi Curious, and welcome to the forum. This is a bit odd for the mythology section, but what the hey.

The article, I think, was referring to "blades", not tools. Homo Habilis was known to use tools 2.5 million years ago. However, this seems to be the oldest time thus far that we have found blades and blade cores. I'm not at all shocked and expect that in the future this advanced technology will be found to have occurred even earlier.
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Postby curious01 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:05 am

ooops, double post! :oops:
Last edited by curious01 on Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby curious01 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:06 am

Beagle wrote:
curious01 wrote:
Minimalist wrote:
When did our ancestors develop the higher portions of brain matter that come into play during abstract thought processes such as imagination, forethought and religious experience?



You'll find that one of the recurring themes around here is the notion that Neanderthal and Erectus are not considered the brutes that they were originally claimed to be by 19th century science.


I'd just seen a news blurb focusing on new stone tool finds dated at at least 1/2 a million years. Incredible, but not as surprising as I'd thought that would be. I wonder just how long proto-languages have been around, as well.



Hey - the forum is back up! Great.

Hi Curious, and welcome to the forum. This is a bit odd for the mythology section, but what the hey.

The article, I think, was referring to "blades", not tools. Homo Habilis was known to use tools 2.5 million years ago. However, this seems to be the oldest time thus far that we have found blades and blade cores. I'm not at all shocked and expect that in the future this advanced technology will be found to have occurred even earlier.


Thanks for the welcome!

Sorry, I lumped tools & blades into the same category mentally.

I think it might be quite possible that blades, as it were, have been around off and on over the millenia, going back further than any recent find. I don't think it would be uncommon for an enterprising individual to accidently discover processes for making them, then never passing on that knowledge, only to be 'discovered' by later societies, individuals or groups.

I know that doesn't comprise any observable proof, but I have though about what might drive the peoples of the past.
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Postby Beagle » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:26 am

I think it might be quite possible that blades, as it were, have been around off and on over the millenia, going back further than any recent find. I don't think it would be uncommon for an enterprising individual to accidently discover processes for making them, then never passing on that knowledge, only to be 'discovered' by later societies, individuals or groups.


I agree Curious. It seems that every generation has it's genius. I must be gone most of the day now but I'll try to catch up this evening. 8)
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Postby Minimalist » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:46 pm

Let's see....

http://www.sciam.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=how-similar-was-neandertal-behavior-2009-04-06

Neandertals have long been portrayed as dumb brutes. But a growing body of evidence hints that these extinct humans were much savvier than previously thought.



This article was actually doing pretty well....right up until here.

It could just be that modern humans had a slight reproductive advantage that, over thousands of years, allowed their population to swamp the Neandertal one.


Which....as the lawyers say.....assumes facts not in evidence!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Postby kbs2244 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:49 am

But you know his editor wouldn’t let him leave us hanging out there without and answer!
“We are scientists.”
“We are smart.”
“We have the answers.”
“Give them a reason.”
“It doesn’t have to be right.”
“Lord knows few of them are.”
“But we have an image to protect.”
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