Origin of monotheism question.

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by Senthil, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. Ruh Ishq

    Ruh Ishq Member

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    Monotheism seems to take root in the Upanishads, which seems to predate any other written belief system.

    There is some confusion because the Vedas and Avestas are basically saying the same thing, so the source is debatable, ultimately.

    What has happened is that we have centered on the appearances of the One, rather than the One itself.

    To be clear, though, Hindus don't have many Gods, the Hindu has one God taking many forms.

    There are so many because whatsoever you think of as God is not God, the thinker of that is.

    The appearance of your ideal has no bearing on the Absolute.

    It is only in the transcendence of partiality that God is actually known.
     
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  2. Ruh Ishq

    Ruh Ishq Member

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    It would be better to call every Hindu God an Angel, insisting that Brahman is alone the true God.

    This of course allows us to include Buddha, for he says that "unless one knows Brahman, he cannot be called a Brahmin"... one of the great controversies that made Buddhism a distinct tradition, in Hinduism you are Brahmin because you were born so.
     
  3. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    This corresponds with what I was brought to understand, that the "different" gods were actually different aspects of the one god.

    I would elaborate the little I understand of Native American beliefs, in that while there is recognition of the "spirit" of various natural entities, this would probably correspond more with the Christian term "angel," although that is a rough analogy...but the point is that rivers, mountains, water, etc were not worshipped per se, but reverentially acknowledged and recognized...something like appeasing the various angels in the Jewish Old Testament. Otherwise, Wankan Tonka (at least among Plains Indians) would correspond to "G-d," Tunkishila would correspond roughly with Messiah or G-d's right hand, and then there's Mother Earth...so something of a trilogy, with the added recognition of the various natural forces and powers and spirits.

    What I find more intriguing is the beginning of religion at all...why have humans ever even bothered to develop such a comprehensive system of recognizing the Divine? If, as atheists argue, there is no god, then why did prehistoric humanity universally pursue reconnection with the Divine? Not just Cro Magnon, there is evidence among Neandertals, and I suspect there will be finds eventually among Denisovans. *All* of us carry genetic material from these three distinct species of homo, in greater and lesser amounts. I just read yesterday that in one Island culture there is genetic material that points to a 4th distinct human species we have yet to identify. What stands so amazing to me, is that we have finds from Cro Magnon and Neandertal pointing to reverential desire to reconnect with the Divine, to "seek blessing" as it were, that spans entire continents and entire "ages."

    Why would Hunter Gatherer societies consumed daily with the struggles of survival create anything like religion...if there were no god to pursue? Mass hysteria? OK, then that hysteria was effectively worldwide, across cultures and species, and it lasted we know for tens of thousands of years. That is a mighty long mass hysteria, and if so would suggest we continue to labor under the same delusion, worldwide. I don't think so...unless the whole of humanity is *entirely* stark raving nuts (that would include atheists by association).

    I don't think a hunter gatherer society could afford a frivolous pursuit to the extent that was given to religion, unless there was some survival benefit. Something is out there, we intuitively know it. We've been chasing it since we became human.

    Lascaux, Cosquer, Chauvet, Niaux, Altamira, Pech Merle, Fumane, Blombos, Niah, Bomeo, Maros, Padah-Lin, Tabon, Khoit Tsenkher, and more display artwork that is routinely defined by anthropologists in the field as religious in application. This spans all of the Old World habited continents except Australia and all dated well into prehistoric "stone age." There are cliff paintings in Australia that fit this as well for dates and purposes.

    There are Pre-Columbian finds in the New World as well. All of this points to humanity pursuing the Divine LONG before religion was formally systematized and organized into competing faiths. Even the prehistoric uncivilized barbaric unlearned preliterate heathens still sought Divine guidance. My guess is they received that guidance, humanity still being here now serves as proof.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Blombos cave in South Africa provided pierced shell beads...art...dated to 100,000 years before present.

    There is a bone flute attributed to Neanderthals (Divja Babe, Slovenia)...music...dated at 55,000 years before present. Not even anatomically modern humans, our species seems to have gotten music from Neanderthals.

    The Indonesian island of Sulawesi has given up cave paintings that rival the oldest in Europe for age, as old as those at El Castillo in Spain dated nearly 41,000 years before present, and remarkable because the "reverse handprint" style graffiti seems a common theme throughout the Paleolithic era and across the span of continents.

    Portable art in the form of "Venus" fertility figures, various animals, and even the "Lion Man" Löwenmensch from Hohlenstein, many of which date up to 40,000 years before present.

    Red Ochre is another common theme throughout, ritual use as a pigment and as a medium to be carved can again be found across the gamut and throughout the time period under discussion.

    My point being "(r)eligion, arts, music, etc." have been with humanity a VERY long time, cross culturally and cross species of homo, appear to be universal pursuits, and are linked inextricably with reaching out to the Divine.

    Moreover, at Skhul cave at Qafzeh, Israel the oldest known to date careful human burials were found, dated conservatively at 100,000 years old, including a Cro Magnon man with a boar mandible placed carefully across his chest, and a mother and child whose bones were deliberately stained with red ochre.

    The oldest careful Neanderthal burial is noted as 130,000 years ago, at Krapina in Croatia.

    Shanidar 1 (Iraq) is a Neanderthal that was not only carefully buried, but because of illness and injury had to have a great deal of compassionate assistance to survive during his 40 years of life. This demonstrates Neanderthals were cooperative to the point of providing aid to their elderly and infirm. Another Neanderthal find at La Chapelle-aux-Saints suggests the same theme, though this find still seems to be under question.

    The oldest ritual burial in Australia is dated at 42,000 years ago at Lake Mungo.

    So the question to me is not "who has seniority?" among world religions. Every single major world faith owes a debt of gratitude to our prehistoric forebears.

    The question to me has long been "why are we religious, if there is nothing there?"
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017

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