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Author Topic: Which is the oldest religion in the world?  (Read 3473 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 26, 2011, 03:33:25 PM »


I'm sitting here in my crowded cube farm, and across the wall is a conversation.

One lady is trying to convince the new Indian girl to come to her multicultural church this Sunday.

I don't know any of these people, as we are only sitting here temporarily while our portion of the buildling is getting renovated.  However, I know the Indian girl just started last Wednesday, so, she's a bit timid still.  I've never laid eyes on any of these people, it's like listening to a radio program.  I hear them, but, never see them.

Anyway, the conversation keeps going with the Hindu girl telling the other lady that Hinduism is a way of life and the only true religion....and what they believe.  The Christian lady goes "Ohhh!  Wow!  That's really interesting!  I find it amazing how we all believe differently.  I love all faiths." 

OK.

So, the other man (also a Hindu) in their 4 cube section gets off the phone and joins the conversation, reiterating that Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world.  He continues by saying, it's not just a religion, it's a way of life.

Not that it really matters, but, I wanted to know which is really the oldest religion in the world?

I would have thought Christianity, as it is a fulfillment of the Old Testament, which began with the Creation.  What could be older?  ...and it truly is a way of life, not just a "religion".

However, when I Googled it I got Hindu is the oldest, Jewish is the oldest and Zoroastrianism is the oldest.

I'm just curious.
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2011, 03:44:40 PM »

I actually heard Hinduism is the oldest, with Zoroastorinism being the oldest prophetic one.

But I'd wait until Enclyopedia Britannica posts for the final authority on the matter.
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 03:50:40 PM »

I suppose it depends on how you define their origin.  

Apparently religious activity has been found in the Indus Valley as early as 5500 BC.  The Vedas, or Hindu Scriptures, were apparently written about 1500 BC.

Zoroaster lived any time between 3000 BC and 600 BC, no one seems to be quite sure.

If you want to date the Jewish religion to Abraham, he lived somewhere around 1800 BC.  The Hebrew Bible was written down and codified considerably later than this.

I believe that mankind has had dealings with God, and an awareness of religion, spiritual things, and another existence apart from this one, the whole way back in time.  Archaeological evidence generally supports this, so far as I have seen.

From this historical development, various groups passed on oral history, developed theories and doctrines and wrote things down.  One group ended up as Hindus, another as Jews, another as Zoroastrians.  All claim that they hold the original truth, although some make more allowances for inclusiveness than others.

As Christians, we believe that the faith as received by Abraham and transmitted through his descendants is the identical truth which was known and experienced (however imperfectly) by our remotest ancestors, and which was more perfectly revealed in Christ.  Because nothing much was written down before that time, we have to receive the correctness of our tradition by faith, as it is the evidence of things not seen.

As to the other comment, all religions are a "way of life."  If a religion didn't have practical application for living it would be pointless, IMHO.  
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2011, 04:05:47 PM »

Christ is the Firstborn of Creation, being the Creator, so of course Chrisitanity is the oldest.

Hinduism's Rig-Veda and Zoroastrianism's Avesta, by their language show that they were composed after 2000 BC, and their topics show that they were written between then and 1400 BC.  They were not redacted and canonized until a millenium later.

The elements of Genesis date from the third millenium (3000-2000) BC, going to Abraham, who lived around 1700 BC.  The oldest parts of the Bible, parts of Psalms, comparable to the Rig-Veda and Avesta, date from before 1000 BC.  So it's between the Christians and Jews.
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2011, 04:10:21 PM »

I suppose it depends on how you define their origin.  

Apparently religious activity has been found in the Indus Valley as early as 5500 BC.  The Vedas, or Hindu Scriptures, were apparently written about 1500 BC.

Zoroaster lived any time between 3000 BC and 600 BC, no one seems to be quite sure.

If you want to date the Jewish religion to Abraham, he lived somewhere around 1800 BC.  The Hebrew Bible was written down and codified considerably later than this.

I believe that mankind has had dealings with God, and an awareness of religion, spiritual things, and another existence apart from this one, the whole way back in time.  Archaeological evidence generally supports this, so far as I have seen.

From this historical development, various groups passed on oral history, developed theories and doctrines and wrote things down.  One group ended up as Hindus, another as Jews, another as Zoroastrians.  All claim that they hold the original truth, although some make more allowances for inclusiveness than others.

As Christians, we believe that the faith as received by Abraham and transmitted through his descendants is the identical truth which was known and experienced (however imperfectly) by our remotest ancestors, and which was more perfectly revealed in Christ.  Because nothing much was written down before that time, we have to receive the correctness of our tradition by faith, as it is the evidence of things not seen.

As to the other comment, all religions are a "way of life."  If a religion didn't have practical application for living it would be pointless, IMHO.  
the Zoroastrians like to push Zoroaster as far back as they can get away with, but he definitely does not predate 2000 BC., and most likely lived around 1000 BC.
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 04:16:42 PM »

Christ is the Firstborn of Creation, being the Creator, so of course Chrisitanity is the oldest.

Hinduism's Rig-Veda and Zoroastrianism's Avesta, by their language show that they were composed after 2000 BC, and their topics show that they were written between then and 1400 BC.  They were not redacted and canonized until a millenium later.

The elements of Genesis date from the third millenium (3000-2000) BC, going to Abraham, who lived around 1700 BC.  The oldest parts of the Bible, parts of Psalms, comparable to the Rig-Veda and Avesta, date from before 1000 BC.  So it's between the Christians and Jews.
I guess we need to classify what we mean by religion. Because surely there were humans worshipping false gods even before the time of Genesis' composition.
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2011, 04:24:13 PM »

Worship of the Great Bear...duh.

Jokes aside, from a religious point of view I would tell you that Adam and Eve worshiped God from the beginning of the ages.  By extension, Old Judaism is a formalization of the worship of God and Christianity is the completion of the Jewish religion.

Anthropologically, I would tell you that Animism is the best candidate.  There is evidence of some form of religion amongst the Neanderthals, specifically burial and a seemingly ritual use of Bear skulls.
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2011, 04:26:03 PM »

If we base the "oldest religion" on dates of religious texts still in use, Hinduism would be the oldest (I think).

According to Wikipedia:

"The Rigveda of Hinduism is proposed to have been composed between 1700–1100 BCE[2] making it possibly the world's oldest religious text still in use." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas

And regarding the Old Testament:

"Few scholars today doubt that it reached its present form in the Persian period (538-332 BCE)..."--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Testament

But it sounds like the oldest known religious texts came from Egypt (2400-2300 BCE) and Sumeria (2150-2000 BCE)!--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text

Is wikipedia infallible, though?  Cheesy

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I believe that mankind has had dealings with God, and an awareness of religion, spiritual things, and another existence apart from this one, the whole way back in time.  Archaeological evidence generally supports this, so far as I have seen.

Nicely put, Yury. Interesting thought...

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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2011, 04:38:31 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Simply put, all the religions are the same age, as they continue to perpetuate and transmit the same universal truths of the collective human experience and psyche, we all draw from the same well-spring of spiritual inspiration, much like with our linguistic diversity, we all are saying the same things in different manners and languages.

Read some Joseph Campbell and that should clear it up for you to be able to clearly see the interconnectedness of the one World Mono-Myth of heroes and saviors and avatars and God incarnate..

In regards to written codified forms of the original oral traditions, all religions, including those in India, began this same process around the 4th-9th centuries BC..

Further, the Indians have a trump card, their pantheon is an illusory manifestation of the Universal Monad, the One True God, by Divine Essence and Nature. For Indians, there is only a single Divine Nature (God) and It has appeared or manifested Its form in all India's (indeed, all the world's) religious traditions and histories so of course the logical inference is to claim India to have the oldest religions, but it is simply speculative aggrandizement.

We believe something similar in Christianity, but our avatar is different than theirs.  In the Incarnation, the One True, Universal God became Incarnate in ONE single, permanent and eternal physical form, the Person of Jesus Christ.

That is our only real distinction between us and truly any other messianic or mystery religions, and further we aren't mutually exclusive, quite the opposite, we're mutually inclusive like Paul explained in Acts 17..

Stay blessed,
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2011, 05:00:24 PM »

the Hindu girl telling the other lady that Hinduism is a way of life and the only true religion....and what they believe.

Funny, as the portion in bold has never been a teaching of Hinduism.

Quote
The Christian lady goes "Ohhh!  Wow!  That's really interesting!  I find it amazing how we all believe differently.  I love all faiths."

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

I think the question is virtually impossible to answer, save from a religious perspective, as we really don't know.  Sure, "Hindu" manuscripts may be among the oldest we have, but what does that mean?

As to the various claims of being the oldest, the St. Cyprian quote (I believe) about old, established traditions sometimes simply being old, established errors springs to mind.

from a religious point of view I would tell you that Adam and Eve worshiped God from the beginning of the ages.  By extension, Old Judaism is a formalization of the worship of God and Christianity is the completion of the Jewish religion.

Agreed, but I suppose my question is: when is the term Judaism applicable?
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2011, 05:16:27 PM »


from a religious point of view I would tell you that Adam and Eve worshiped God from the beginning of the ages.  By extension, Old Judaism is a formalization of the worship of God and Christianity is the completion of the Jewish religion.

Agreed, but I suppose my question is: when is the term Judaism applicable?

I am writing from a modern perspective.  I'm not sure what they would have called themselves way on back, I'm just referring to the religion in the terminology I know.  Having studied history I am going to have to go with the term being applicable from the earliest recorded reference we have of the religion being referred to as Judaism.  For when exactly that was, you will have to find someone smarter than me.
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2011, 05:22:31 PM »

hi, i feel like here i am learning a lot about 2 things.
1. orthodoxy.
2. weird american practices.
i mean, what is a cube farm? i am imagining a big cube, like a multi-layer car park (=parking lot) with sheep on the top floor, then cows, then grass, then vegetables, then chickens, then the humans maybe living on the ground floor and going up and down to tend to all the animals.
but that would be tooo weird. so what is it really?

back to the topic;
job's story is generally believed to have occurred before the time of abraham and that was 1,000s of years ago in the area that is roughly now iraq.
and abel, who is recognised as a Christian saint offered acceptable sacrifices to God towards the beginning of human history, so i believe we worship God in a similar way to the pre-jewish saints.
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2011, 05:26:35 PM »

A cube farm is a big office with lots of cubicle-type desks. These are large tables with plastic dividers on top, which create extra space for each person, are invariably gray, and cost the employer very little, while making the employees crazy.

Rent the movie "Office Space." It's funny.
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2011, 05:28:36 PM »

the Zoroastrians like to push Zoroaster as far back as they can get away with, but he definitely does not predate 2000 BC., and most likely lived around 1000 BC.
I wonder what Deusveritasest has to say on the matter... Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 05:38:47 PM »

thanks, biro.
in the uk, we call these 'open-plan offices'.
i think i'm gonna get a british-american english dictionary!
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2011, 05:53:01 PM »

Glad to help.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2011, 06:02:43 PM »

"This is the faith which has established the universe!" -Nicaea II
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2011, 09:12:01 PM »

If we base the "oldest religion" on dates of religious texts still in use, Hinduism would be the oldest (I think).

According to Wikipedia:

"The Rigveda of Hinduism is proposed to have been composed between 1700–1100 BCE[2] making it possibly the world's oldest religious text still in use." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas

And regarding the Old Testament:

"Few scholars today doubt that it reached its present form in the Persian period (538-332 BCE)..."--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Testament

But it sounds like the oldest known religious texts came from Egypt (2400-2300 BCE) and Sumeria (2150-2000 BCE)!--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text

Is wikipedia infallible, though?  Cheesy

Quote
I believe that mankind has had dealings with God, and an awareness of religion, spiritual things, and another existence apart from this one, the whole way back in time.  Archaeological evidence generally supports this, so far as I have seen.

Nicely put, Yury. Interesting thought...


Just thought I'd point out that you're dating the non-Christian texts from composition, and the Christian texts to when they reached their present form. The Veda's have gone through many redactions themselves.
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2011, 04:36:27 AM »


I'm sitting here in my crowded cube farm, and across the wall is a conversation.

One lady is trying to convince the new Indian girl to come to her multicultural church this Sunday.

I don't know any of these people, as we are only sitting here temporarily while our portion of the buildling is getting renovated.  However, I know the Indian girl just started last Wednesday, so, she's a bit timid still.  I've never laid eyes on any of these people, it's like listening to a radio program.  I hear them, but, never see them.

Anyway, the conversation keeps going with the Hindu girl telling the other lady that Hinduism is a way of life and the only true religion....and what they believe.  The Christian lady goes "Ohhh!  Wow!  That's really interesting!  I find it amazing how we all believe differently.  I love all faiths." 

OK.

So, the other man (also a Hindu) in their 4 cube section gets off the phone and joins the conversation, reiterating that Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world.  He continues by saying, it's not just a religion, it's a way of life.

Not that it really matters, but, I wanted to know which is really the oldest religion in the world?

I would have thought Christianity, as it is a fulfillment of the Old Testament, which began with the Creation.  What could be older?  ...and it truly is a way of life, not just a "religion".

However, when I Googled it I got Hindu is the oldest, Jewish is the oldest and Zoroastrianism is the oldest.

I'm just curious.


Just thought I'd add here, that it would be incorrect to call Hinduism a single "religion".  As it's an umbrella term for several different philosophies, or schools of thought that all share a similar pantheon.

My understanding of this is that we originally all followed the religion of Adam, who was probably a literal person.  Around the Tower of Babel things got mixed up, and thus you see how things could easily get lost in translation.  One of Abraham's sons through Keturah went to the East and helped integrate with what would become the Persian and Indian peoples. 

Regardless of what people may say, Christ is not the same as Krishna.  I personally believe Krishna, and the concept of the Avatar came to foreshadow the Incarnation of Christ.  Thus there are seeds of truth within the concepts and teachings of all religions..
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2011, 01:40:00 PM »

Just thought I'd add here, that it would be incorrect to call Hinduism a single "religion".  As it's an umbrella term for several different philosophies, or schools of thought that all share a similar pantheon.

In fairness this is common of decentralized pagan belief systems. One doesn't have to look far into the Greek or Roman religion to find completely different understandings of the gods and their acts within the same time period.
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2011, 05:09:59 PM »

But it sounds like the oldest known religious texts came from Egypt (2400-2300 BCE) and Sumeria (2150-2000 BCE)!--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text
The Sumerian texts referred to are from the post-Akkadian invasion Ur III period. There were older religious texts, but almost all of the surviving myth tablets come from Ur III or later.

If you're interested, here is a brief explanation:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/literature.php
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2011, 10:52:16 PM »

Obviously it's Wicca.
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2011, 11:02:34 PM »

Obviously it's Wicca.

I <3 you for this.
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2011, 06:42:22 AM »

no, adam and eve had a relationship with God before satan stepped in and demanded to be listened to above God.
i don't see God face to face for an evening chat, which makes adam and eve's relationship with God before the fall closer than mine.
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« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2011, 09:14:14 AM »

There's a belief running around called "Original Monotheism," that all religions are essentially monotheistic in their origin. While it sounds a bit far-fetched, there's actually some good reasons to believe in it, as even polytheistic religions like Hinduism still have traces of monotheism, especially in earlier version of the religion.

Likewise, this would fit with the Christian narrative of how humans lost communion with God. It makes sense that religion would devolve from being monotheistic to polytheistic.

So the oldest religion in the world? Probably Hinduism if you look at this from a secular perspective. Judaism didn't exist prior to Abraham (remember, the sign of the covenant was the foundation of Judaism) and we know there were other religions prior to Abraham.

Ultimately, however, I would still default to ialmisry's response as it is in accordance with reality.
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« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2011, 09:14:44 AM »

Archeologically speaking, fetishism predates all formal religions.
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« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2011, 09:24:44 AM »

Abraham didn't practice "Judaism".

Concerning Hinduism, internal astronomical data, as well as Indus Valley geology, point to a pre-2000 BC date for some portions of the Vedic corpus.

Some figures in the Vedic text are also recognized by the Jains, who claim to have existed before the composition of the Vedas.
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« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2011, 09:46:14 AM »

Abraham didn't practice "Judaism".

Concerning Hinduism, internal astronomical data, as well as Indus Valley geology, point to a pre-2000 BC date for some portions of the Vedic corpus.

Some figures in the Vedic text are also recognized by the Jains, who claim to have existed before the composition of the Vedas.

If you consider the sign of the covenant as the essential aspect of Judaism and the founding aspect of Judaism (the one constant thing throughout all the exiles), then Abraham was the first practitioner of Judaism. And he did this at 99 years old (ouch).

If you prefer the Law of Moses, while I think that's a fair argument, the Law hasn't always been consistently followed or applied due to circumstance, whereas circumcision has remained regardless.
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« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2011, 09:52:18 AM »

Abraham didn't practice "Judaism".

Concerning Hinduism, internal astronomical data, as well as Indus Valley geology, point to a pre-2000 BC date for some portions of the Vedic corpus.

Some figures in the Vedic text are also recognized by the Jains, who claim to have existed before the composition of the Vedas.

If you consider the sign of the covenant as the essential aspect of Judaism and the founding aspect of Judaism (the one constant thing throughout all the exiles), then Abraham was the first practitioner of Judaism. And he did this at 99 years old (ouch).

If you prefer the Law of Moses, while I think that's a fair argument, the Law hasn't always been consistently followed or applied due to circumstance, whereas circumcision has remained regardless.
Circumcision may be essential to Judaism, but it's also essential to other religions and cultures (Traditional African, Australian aborigene, e.g.). I wouldn't argue that being circumcised makes one a Jew; it may be necessary, but not sufficient.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 09:52:58 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2011, 09:57:48 AM »

Abraham didn't practice "Judaism".

Concerning Hinduism, internal astronomical data, as well as Indus Valley geology, point to a pre-2000 BC date for some portions of the Vedic corpus.

Some figures in the Vedic text are also recognized by the Jains, who claim to have existed before the composition of the Vedas.

If you consider the sign of the covenant as the essential aspect of Judaism and the founding aspect of Judaism (the one constant thing throughout all the exiles), then Abraham was the first practitioner of Judaism. And he did this at 99 years old (ouch).

If you prefer the Law of Moses, while I think that's a fair argument, the Law hasn't always been consistently followed or applied due to circumstance, whereas circumcision has remained regardless.
Circumcision may be essential to Judaism, but it's also essential to other religions and cultures (Traditional African, Australian aborigene, e.g.). I wouldn't argue that being circumcised makes one a Jew; it may be necessary, but not sufficient.

This ignores the significance of circumcision, specifically in the Bible. It acted as a sign that one was dedicated to God - it was the first and central act in Judaism. When it was imparted on Abraham as a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants, that was the first act of Judaism. Everything after that merely pointed back to this being "set apart." All of the Law is summed up in the act of circumcision, of being set apart.
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« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2011, 10:01:52 AM »

hi, i feel like here i am learning a lot about 2 things.
1. orthodoxy.
2. weird american practices.
i mean, what is a cube farm? i am imagining a big cube, like a multi-layer car park (=parking lot) with sheep on the top floor, then cows, then grass, then vegetables, then chickens, then the humans maybe living on the ground floor and going up and down to tend to all the animals.
but that would be tooo weird. so what is it really?


This is the "cube farm" where I spend some of my days. 
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« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2011, 10:02:39 AM »

Abraham didn't practice "Judaism".

Concerning Hinduism, internal astronomical data, as well as Indus Valley geology, point to a pre-2000 BC date for some portions of the Vedic corpus.

Some figures in the Vedic text are also recognized by the Jains, who claim to have existed before the composition of the Vedas.

If you consider the sign of the covenant as the essential aspect of Judaism and the founding aspect of Judaism (the one constant thing throughout all the exiles), then Abraham was the first practitioner of Judaism. And he did this at 99 years old (ouch).

If you prefer the Law of Moses, while I think that's a fair argument, the Law hasn't always been consistently followed or applied due to circumstance, whereas circumcision has remained regardless.
Circumcision may be essential to Judaism, but it's also essential to other religions and cultures (Traditional African, Australian aborigene, e.g.). I wouldn't argue that being circumcised makes one a Jew; it may be necessary, but not sufficient.

This ignores the significance of circumcision, specifically in the Bible. It acted as a sign that one was dedicated to God - it was the first and central act in Judaism. When it was imparted on Abraham as a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants, that was the first act of Judaism. Everything after that merely pointed back to this being "set apart." All of the Law is summed up in the act of circumcision, of being set apart.
So anyone who is circumcised because of divine revelation, is Jewish?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 10:03:21 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2011, 10:03:06 AM »

hi, i feel like here i am learning a lot about 2 things.
1. orthodoxy.
2. weird american practices.
i mean, what is a cube farm? i am imagining a big cube, like a multi-layer car park (=parking lot) with sheep on the top floor, then cows, then grass, then vegetables, then chickens, then the humans maybe living on the ground floor and going up and down to tend to all the animals.
but that would be tooo weird. so what is it really?


This is the "cube farm" where I spend some of my days. 

Looks wretched.
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« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2011, 10:51:56 AM »

Abraham didn't practice "Judaism".

Concerning Hinduism, internal astronomical data, as well as Indus Valley geology, point to a pre-2000 BC date for some portions of the Vedic corpus.

Some figures in the Vedic text are also recognized by the Jains, who claim to have existed before the composition of the Vedas.

If you consider the sign of the covenant as the essential aspect of Judaism and the founding aspect of Judaism (the one constant thing throughout all the exiles), then Abraham was the first practitioner of Judaism. And he did this at 99 years old (ouch).

If you prefer the Law of Moses, while I think that's a fair argument, the Law hasn't always been consistently followed or applied due to circumstance, whereas circumcision has remained regardless.
Circumcision may be essential to Judaism, but it's also essential to other religions and cultures (Traditional African, Australian aborigene, e.g.). I wouldn't argue that being circumcised makes one a Jew; it may be necessary, but not sufficient.

This ignores the significance of circumcision, specifically in the Bible. It acted as a sign that one was dedicated to God - it was the first and central act in Judaism. When it was imparted on Abraham as a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his descendants, that was the first act of Judaism. Everything after that merely pointed back to this being "set apart." All of the Law is summed up in the act of circumcision, of being set apart.
So anyone who is circumcised because of divine revelation, is Jewish?

That's not even close to what I said. Stop trying to create straw-man arguments as it's not going to get us anywhere.
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« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2011, 11:25:34 AM »

Theo, I don't think anyone's trying to demean your argument -- but you are coming across somewhat haphazardly.  It's slightly confusing to get what you're trying to say.  If you insist on talking about the circumcision thing, we're going to need to create a separate thread. 

  The fact that other cultures are circumcised doesn't limit the uniqueness of the Jewish claim.  If Abraham were not called out of Babylon, and Joshua did not lead the Israelites across the Jordan then there would be no Christ. 

Jetavan, were you raised Hindu before you found Christianity?
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« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2011, 11:49:32 AM »

hi, i feel like here i am learning a lot about 2 things.
1. orthodoxy.
2. weird american practices.
i mean, what is a cube farm? i am imagining a big cube, like a multi-layer car park (=parking lot) with sheep on the top floor, then cows, then grass, then vegetables, then chickens, then the humans maybe living on the ground floor and going up and down to tend to all the animals.
but that would be tooo weird. so what is it really?


This is the "cube farm" where I spend some of my days. 

Ugh.  I would like to congratulate you on still having a soul, working in such an environment.  I always thought cube farms were for humans what feed lots are for cattle.
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« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2011, 12:15:50 PM »

I'm a bit out of sync with the timing of the reply to this. I felt quite surprised you seemed to be taking the line you took.

I haven't read Joseph Campbell for years so I may be harbouring a prejudice when I say that he seemed to like all religions, however diverse because they weren't pretending to be historical. If I remember rightly he disliked the socalled Abrahamic religions because they did insist they were historical.

It seems to me that the difference between Christianity and say, Hinduism with its avatars, is that Christ actually lived and you can almost pinpoint the date. Krishna lived way back when and has no date.

Christianity also makes mysticism practical: 'If you do it to the least of these you do it to Me.'

I don't wish to talk about the differences between Islam, Judaism and Christianity but they are somehow in the same boat re history.

How we are to view other beliefs I don't know. They all have their own beauty and glory. But let's be able to say, if we are Christians, that Christianity is better.



I

 
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« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2011, 12:20:45 PM »

Sorry, I was replying to Habte Selassie

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« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2011, 12:32:04 PM »

It seems to me that the difference between Christianity and say, Hinduism with its avatars, is that Christ actually lived and you can almost pinpoint the date. Krishna lived way back when and has no date.
Most Hindus do not limit Avatar-status just to Krishna of 3000 BC. Many, for instance, believe that the Avatar took human form, as someone named Ramakrishna, in the late 19th century.
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« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2011, 12:33:25 PM »

Jetavan, were you raised Hindu before you found Christianity?
No, I was raised Baptist, though now I also have Buddhist connections, as well.
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« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2011, 12:48:23 PM »

It seems to me that the difference between Christianity and say, Hinduism with its avatars, is that Christ actually lived and you can almost pinpoint the date. Krishna lived way back when and has no date.
Most Hindus do not limit Avatar-status just to Krishna of 3000 BC. Many, for instance, believe that the Avatar took human form, as someone named Ramakrishna, in the late 19th century.
Is Ramakrishna widely held to be an avatar, apart from by Christopher Isherwood and the Californian Vedantists?

How kistorical is Rama, Ganesh etc?
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« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2011, 12:57:24 PM »

It seems to me that the difference between Christianity and say, Hinduism with its avatars, is that Christ actually lived and you can almost pinpoint the date. Krishna lived way back when and has no date.
Most Hindus do not limit Avatar-status just to Krishna of 3000 BC. Many, for instance, believe that the Avatar took human form, as someone named Ramakrishna, in the late 19th century.
Is Ramakrishna widely held to be an avatar, apart from by Christopher Isherwood and the Californian Vedantists?

How kistorical is Rama, Ganesh etc?
Yes, Ramakrishna is widely believed to have been an Avatar of the Divine. Not all Hindus see him thus, but many do. (Which is not to say that those who see him as an Avatar, are specifically devoted to him as their Guru.) Rama is believed to have lived several thousand years before Krishna, and there are several geographical sites associated with Rama, but given Rama's time-period, much (though not all) of the life-story of Rama may be mythological.

Ganesh is not the name of an Avatar; Ganesh is a Son of Siva and Durga. "Ganesh" literally means "Lord of Hosts". He is venerated as the "Remover of Obstacles" and is often invoked before ritual or any major undertaking.
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« Reply #42 on: August 29, 2011, 02:21:56 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I'm a bit out of sync with the timing of the reply to this. I felt quite surprised you seemed to be taking the line you took.

I haven't read Joseph Campbell for years so I may be harbouring a prejudice when I say that he seemed to like all religions, however diverse because they weren't pretending to be historical. If I remember rightly he disliked the so called Abrahamic religions because they did insist they were historical.

It seems to me that the difference between Christianity and say, Hinduism with its avatars, is that Christ actually lived and you can almost pinpoint the date. Krishna lived way back when and has no date.

Christianity also makes mysticism practical: 'If you do it to the least of these you do it to Me.'

I don't wish to talk about the differences between Islam, Judaism and Christianity but they are somehow in the same boat re history.

How we are to view other beliefs I don't know. They all have their own beauty and glory. But let's be able to say, if we are Christians, that Christianity is better.



It is my understanding that Joseph Campbell was a practicing Roman Catholic and attended Mass even until his passing.  Further, if you read his works, there is definitely an academic favoritism towards "Eastern religions" however it is also quite clear that Campbell himself supports the Christian doctrines.  His scholarly premise that all world religions are the same because they draw from the same wellspring of inspiration did not in his practice inviolate the legitimacy of his own Christian beliefs, if anything in his writings they seem expand his Christianity.  He is thoroughly Catholic though in much of his interpretations of Christianity alongside his expansive coverage of world mythology.


Yes the Christian concept of the Incarnation is fundamentally different than the Gita concepts of the Avatar, however remember that the Gita is written under the influence of thousands of years of Indian theology, philosophy, and culture which had to formulate reincarnation cycles into its cosmology, just as Christianity had to reconcile the legalism of the Judaic influences into our Orthodox lifestyles.
I was not trying to make literal comparisons, rather literary and cultural.  The Gitas are a brief text but a monumental achievement in Indian thought, just as the Gospels are small in text but could realistically replace the entire OT canon if one was in a bind to have to chose one or the other, just as the Gita could replaces ages of Indian religion as it concisely explains Indian thought in its relatively few verses (for Indian standards).

Christianity stands alone as THE TRUE SAVIOR mystery cult, in that we are indeed grounded in historicity, on the Grace of God, on the succession of the Apostles, however lets not kid ourselves in this regard, Jesus is really a matter of faith more so than historical fact about as much as any other messiah, however we are acquainted withHis power directly so we feel the difference, but again this is faith more so than fact.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2011, 03:47:03 PM »

Christianity stands alone as THE TRUE SAVIOR mystery cult, in that we are indeed grounded in historicity, on the Grace of God, on the succession of the Apostles, however lets not kid ourselves in this regard, Jesus is really a matter of faith more so than historical fact about as much as any other messiah, however we are acquainted withHis power directly so we feel the difference, but again this is faith more so than fact.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

But couldn't the historicity of Christ justify our faith in Him?
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« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2011, 05:15:20 PM »

But couldn't the historicity of Christ justify our faith in Him?

It could buttress both belief and unbelief, but is probably more significant for the latter. 99.99% of Christians don't know about and frankly don't care about historical arguments for Jesus or ancient Christianity.
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« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2011, 12:00:23 AM »

Theo, I don't think anyone's trying to demean your argument -- but you are coming across somewhat haphazardly.  It's slightly confusing to get what you're trying to say.  If you insist on talking about the circumcision thing, we're going to need to create a separate thread. 

  The fact that other cultures are circumcised doesn't limit the uniqueness of the Jewish claim.  If Abraham were not called out of Babylon, and Joshua did not lead the Israelites across the Jordan then there would be no Christ. 

Jetavan, were you raised Hindu before you found Christianity?

I think I'm being as clear as I could possibly be.

The sign of the covenant (which God used circumcision as a physical display of this covenant) began with Abraham. Hence the foundation of Judaism. Circumcision itself isn't the founding point, but what it represents in relation to God and His decrees is the foundation of Judaism. That is why I said Abraham represents the foundation of Judaism.
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« Reply #46 on: August 30, 2011, 10:40:26 AM »

Just thought I'd add here, that it would be incorrect to call Hinduism a single "religion".  As it's an umbrella term for several different philosophies, or schools of thought that all share a similar pantheon.

In fairness this is common of decentralized pagan belief systems. One doesn't have to look far into the Greek or Roman religion to find completely different understandings of the gods and their acts within the same time period.

Which is why it's a bit odd to call Hinduism the 'oldest religion' (as opposed to debates about whether the Vedas are the oldest recorded religious texts). Hinduism is not a centralized belief system with a pinpointable starting point (like Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, etc). Hinduism is the folk religion of the Indian sub-continent, elements of which are tracable as far back as the Indus-Vally city states and undoubtedly beyond. In that sense it's certainly older than any 'founded religion' where on can point to single historical individual who started it all (whether we know the actual dates of the founder or not). But in that same sense it's not any older than the non-Buddhist parts of the Chinese Religious complex, Shintoism, or Native American relgions (to focus on those that still have active adherents). All of them go back eventually to either the first stirrings of religious thought in early hominids (scientific answer) or humanity's degeneration from the true faith of Adam (Monotheistic answer).
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« Reply #47 on: August 30, 2011, 10:52:17 AM »

It seems to me that the earliest form of religion was the awe people had for God's creation.
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« Reply #48 on: August 30, 2011, 06:06:26 PM »

Just thought I'd add here, that it would be incorrect to call Hinduism a single "religion".  As it's an umbrella term for several different philosophies, or schools of thought that all share a similar pantheon.

In fairness this is common of decentralized pagan belief systems. One doesn't have to look far into the Greek or Roman religion to find completely different understandings of the gods and their acts within the same time period.

Which is why it's a bit odd to call Hinduism the 'oldest religion' (as opposed to debates about whether the Vedas are the oldest recorded religious).
"Hinduism" is more analogous to "the Abrahamic traditions as a whole", than to "Judaism", or "Christianity" or "Islam" in particular. Within the category "Hinduism", which may be called a "mega-religion", there are several large "religions" that are rather analogous to any one Abrahamic faith: Vaishnava (the tradition centered on Vishnu); Shaiva (Shiva-centered); Shakta (Shakti-centered); and so forth.

Within each of these religions, there are well-defined traditions, or "sampradayas", each with its own lineage of gurus, sacred scripture, and practices. Within the Shaiva religion, there are Shaiva Siddhanta, Vira Shaiva, Kashmir Shaiva, and so on. Vira Shaiva, for instance, was founded by the 12th-century brahmin, Basavanna. Shaiva Siddhanta's first guru was Nandinatha, c. 250 BC.

It's the sampradayas (not the larger religions) that are usually traceable to one single founder, who received a revelation-insight from the Divine, so one could argue that it is the sampradaya, like Shaiva Siddhanta, (and not the larger religion in which it exists, like Shaiva) that is in fact analogous to any one Abrahamic religion.
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« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2011, 03:35:43 PM »

Disregarding sentimentalities and approaching the original question from a purely historical perspective, it is clear that the oldest is the Egyptian pagan beliefs that go back as far as 4000 BC. Thus Egyptian paganism is both the oldest and longest surviving religion. However Judaism is the oldest surviving religion.
PS. Zoroaster lived around 7th century BC.
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« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2011, 03:38:23 PM »

I'm gonna say that Sumerian religion lasted as long or longer than Egyptian religion; both underwent many transformations over those 4000 years so any real continuity is a mere facade. Of course, neither were the first religion. Our immediate pre-human ancestors surely had some form of religion anyway.

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« Reply #51 on: September 21, 2011, 03:41:56 PM »

PS. Zoroaster lived around 7th century BC.
Current scholarship accepts a date around 1100 BC, due to linguistic and other evidence. Seventh century is much too recent.
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« Reply #52 on: September 21, 2011, 03:55:12 PM »

i agree somewhat, but Mesopotamian religion in general was very inconsistent as each kingdom displaced and destroyed its predecessor, allowing no room for continuity . whereas the Egyptian Pantheon remained almost unchanged until 520 AD when Justinian destroyed the last Egyptian temple. the important thing here is that apart from periodic invasions and the likes, Egypt remained relatively stable and more importantly UNITED and this reflected on its religious continuations. whereas Mesopotamia was divided into small kingdoms, so that when one is defeated its religious legacy is annihilated in favor of a new one.

i used mesopotamia to refer to all the civilizations in the region as the kingdom of Sumer was not long-lasting and neither was its religion.
the Egyptian Pantheon on the other-hand remained the same. Isis, Osiris, Ra, etc were worshipped until very late in the Roman period.

whilst i do agree with you regarding a proto-religion, the lack of evidence of a unified religion raises questions regarding the validity of the claim as well as rousing argument regarding what can be qualified as religion.

God bless.

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« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2011, 03:59:05 PM »

Current scholarship accepts a date around 1100 BC, due to linguistic and other evidence. Seventh century is much too recent.
[/quote]

in any case, Zoroastrianism can not compare in age or longevity to any other religion as it is younger than Egyptian and Mesopotamian paganism and whilst it is still alive today, it is still younger and by extent has a shorter lifespan to judaism.

God bless.
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« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2011, 04:06:04 PM »

....the Egyptian Pantheon on the other-hand remained the same. Isis, Osiris, Ra, etc were worshipped until very late in the Roman period.
Don't forget the Indus-Gangetic Cultures. Veneration of Shiva is evidenced as occurring as early as 2000 BC, in the Mohenjo-Daro culture, and it continues into the present. (There's also evidence that the Celtic Deity Cernunnos derives from a proto-Shiva figure.)
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« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2011, 04:17:54 PM »

the Egyptian Pantheon remained almost unchanged until 520 AD when Justinian destroyed the last Egyptian temple.
I think that's kind of simplistic. Ptolemaic Egyptian religion was heavily modified.

i used mesopotamia to refer to all the civilizations in the region as the kingdom of Sumer was not long-lasting and neither was its religion.

...Mesopotamia was divided into small kingdoms, so that when one is defeated its religious legacy is annihilated in favor of a new one.
Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Neo-Babylonian religion were all inheritors of Sumerian religion, which existed in some form before the invention of writing, in the Ubaid period (6500-5300 BC). You find mostly the same deities worshiped in each culture with a few additions here and there.
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« Reply #56 on: September 21, 2011, 04:19:00 PM »

....the Egyptian Pantheon on the other-hand remained the same. Isis, Osiris, Ra, etc were worshipped until very late in the Roman period.
Don't forget the Indus-Gangetic Cultures. Veneration of Shiva is evidenced as occurring as early as 2000 BC, in the Mohenjo-Daro culture, and it continues into the present. (There's also evidence that the Celtic Deity Cernunnos derives from a proto-Shiva figure.)
You have to be careful with claims like this, as indian nationalist pseudoscholars always push all the indian dates back too far. We don't know that the creatures on Harappan stamps were proto-shivas.
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« Reply #57 on: September 21, 2011, 04:24:16 PM »

Quote
Timeline

300,000 years ago – first (disputed) evidence of intentional burial of the dead. Sites such as Atapuerca in Spain, which has bones of over 32 individuals in a pit within a cave.[23]
130,000 years ago – Earliest undisputed evidence for intentional burial. Neanderthals bury their dead at sites such as Krapina in Croatia.[23]
100,000 years ago – The oldest known ritual burial of modern humans at Qafzeh in Israel: a double burial of what is thought to be a mother and child. The bones have been stained with red ochre. By 100,000 years ago anatomically modern humans migrated to the middle east from Africa. However the fossil record of these humans ends after 100kya, leading scholars to believe that population either died out or returned to Africa.[24][25]
100,000 to 50,000 years ago – Increased use of red ochre at several Middle Stone Age sites. Red Ochre is thought to have played an important role in ritual.
50,000 years ago – Humans have evolved the traits associated with modern human behavior. Much of the evidence comes from Late Stone Age sites in Africa. Modern human behavior includes abilities such as modern language, abstract thought, symbolism and religion.[25]
42,000 years ago – Ritual burial of a man at Lake Mungo in Australia. The body is sprinkled with copious amounts of red ochre - seen as evidence that the Australians had brought along with them religious rituals from Africa.
40,000 years ago – Upper Paleolithic begins in Europe. An abundance of fossil evidence includes elaborate burials of the dead, Venus figurines and cave art. Venus figurines are thought to represent fertility goddesses. The cave paintings at Chauvet and Lascaux are believed to represent religious thought.
30,000 years ago – Earliest known burial of a shaman.[15]
11,000 years ago – The Neolithic Revolution begins.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_Religion

Quote
Intentional burial, particularly with grave goods may be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice (the onset of burial itself being a canonical indicator of behavioral modernity) since, as Philip Lieberman suggests, it may signify a "concern for the dead that transcends daily life."[1]
A number of archeologists propose that Middle Paleolithic societies such as Neanderthal societies may also have practiced the earliest form of totemism or animal worship. Emil Bächler in particular suggests (based on archeological evidence from Middle Paleolithic caves) that a widespread Middle Paleolithic Neanderthal bear cult existed (Wunn, 2000, p. 434-435).
(...)The early Bronze Age Proto-Indo-European religion (itself reconstructed), and the attested early Semitic gods, are presumed continuations of certain traditions of the late Neolithic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_religion

The oldest religions therefore started with ritualistic burial and animal worship. Both suggesting a newly discovered respect for human beings (they can't simply be disposed of) and a glimpse of transcedense in nature. The Semitic Gods, in whose context Abrahan would come to clarify his understanding of God, are the natural development of the Neolithic religions.

So, if we put together the points, religion is a convoluted but fierce strugle towards the Revelation of Christ.
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« Reply #58 on: September 21, 2011, 04:29:50 PM »

i disagree,
Ptolmy and his successors NEEDED the support of the priesthood so they only made minor administrative adjustments in relations to funding, and not religious dogma or practice, in effect the only major changes were the introduction of Serapis to appease the Alexandrine greeks. the same can't be said of Sumerian religion as their deities were related to cities and kingdoms, so when a kingdom is destroyed so is its religion, some deities are assimilated but this DOES NOT show, justify or prove continuity as the deities were added to by late kingdoms. so all in all, Egypt remained a single unity, and this ensured the pantheon was not overthrown, whilst the divisions within mesopotamia ensured that no single religious belief can achieve continuity.

God bless.
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« Reply #59 on: September 21, 2011, 04:33:23 PM »

Quote
Timeline

300,000 years ago – first (disputed) evidence of intentional burial of the dead. Sites such as Atapuerca in Spain, which has bones of over 32 individuals in a pit within a cave.[23]
130,000 years ago – Earliest undisputed evidence for intentional burial. Neanderthals bury their dead at sites such as Krapina in Croatia.[23]
100,000 years ago – The oldest known ritual burial of modern humans at Qafzeh in Israel: a double burial of what is thought to be a mother and child. The bones have been stained with red ochre. By 100,000 years ago anatomically modern humans migrated to the middle east from Africa. However the fossil record of these humans ends after 100kya, leading scholars to believe that population either died out or returned to Africa.[24][25]
100,000 to 50,000 years ago – Increased use of red ochre at several Middle Stone Age sites. Red Ochre is thought to have played an important role in ritual.
50,000 years ago – Humans have evolved the traits associated with modern human behavior. Much of the evidence comes from Late Stone Age sites in Africa. Modern human behavior includes abilities such as modern language, abstract thought, symbolism and religion.[25]
42,000 years ago – Ritual burial of a man at Lake Mungo in Australia. The body is sprinkled with copious amounts of red ochre - seen as evidence that the Australians had brought along with them religious rituals from Africa.
40,000 years ago – Upper Paleolithic begins in Europe. An abundance of fossil evidence includes elaborate burials of the dead, Venus figurines and cave art. Venus figurines are thought to represent fertility goddesses. The cave paintings at Chauvet and Lascaux are believed to represent religious thought.
30,000 years ago – Earliest known burial of a shaman.[15]
11,000 years ago – The Neolithic Revolution begins.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_Religion

Quote
Intentional burial, particularly with grave goods may be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice (the onset of burial itself being a canonical indicator of behavioral modernity) since, as Philip Lieberman suggests, it may signify a "concern for the dead that transcends daily life."[1]
A number of archeologists propose that Middle Paleolithic societies such as Neanderthal societies may also have practiced the earliest form of totemism or animal worship. Emil Bächler in particular suggests (based on archeological evidence from Middle Paleolithic caves) that a widespread Middle Paleolithic Neanderthal bear cult existed (Wunn, 2000, p. 434-435).
(...)The early Bronze Age Proto-Indo-European religion (itself reconstructed), and the attested early Semitic gods, are presumed continuations of certain traditions of the late Neolithic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_religion

The oldest religions therefore started with ritualistic burial and animal worship. Both suggesting a newly discovered respect for human beings (they can't simply be disposed of) and a glimpse of transcedense in nature. The Semitic Gods, in whose context Abrahan would come to clarify his understanding of God, are the natural development of the Neolithic religions.

So, if we put together the points, religion is a convoluted but fierce strugle towards the Revelation of Christ.
these practices cannot be labelled as a religion; religion is the belief in a superhuman power, the above does not fit. i do however agree with your last sentence, everything leads into the Lord our God, for he is the culmination of the ages, the creator of all things.
God Bless.
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« Reply #60 on: September 21, 2011, 04:50:59 PM »

If they were burying people for believing in afterlife and were assuming animals had supernatural powers, then it was a religion. I know it's controversial though.
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« Reply #61 on: September 21, 2011, 05:05:51 PM »

i disagree,
Ptolmy and his successors NEEDED the support of the priesthood so they only made minor administrative adjustments in relations to funding, and not religious dogma or practice, in effect the only major changes were the introduction of Serapis to appease the Alexandrine greeks. the same can't be said of Sumerian religion as their deities were related to cities and kingdoms, so when a kingdom is destroyed so is its religion, some deities are assimilated but this DOES NOT show, justify or prove continuity as the deities were added to by late kingdoms.
I don't think you know or understand much about the Mesopotamian pantheons. Do you know about how the Egyptian pantheon developed from a bunch of different local animal gods? Was the religion "destroyed" when later Pharaonic powers assimilated them into a pantheon?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 05:07:33 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #62 on: September 21, 2011, 05:49:38 PM »

....the Egyptian Pantheon on the other-hand remained the same. Isis, Osiris, Ra, etc were worshipped until very late in the Roman period.
Don't forget the Indus-Gangetic Cultures. Veneration of Shiva is evidenced as occurring as early as 2000 BC, in the Mohenjo-Daro culture, and it continues into the present. (There's also evidence that the Celtic Deity Cernunnos derives from a proto-Shiva figure.)
You have to be careful with claims like this, as indian nationalist pseudoscholars always push all the indian dates back too far. We don't know that the creatures on Harappan stamps were proto-shivas.
2000 BC is a conservative date. Nationalists push it back to 8000 BC, at least.
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« Reply #63 on: September 21, 2011, 05:59:31 PM »

Obviously, the oldest religion is the one practiced by Adam and Eve, so it is 6,000 years old. Give or take. (5501, 5492, etc., according to different authoritative, sound-minded, Godly people who knew what they were talking about - see http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/05/30/how-old-is-earth) If some Hindus or whoever they are out there claim that their Vedas or whatever are 8,000 years old, they should simply read the Bible!
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« Reply #64 on: September 21, 2011, 06:00:19 PM »

Obviously, the oldest religion is the one practiced by Adam and Eve, so it is 6,000 years old. Give or take. (5501, 5492, etc., according to different authoritative, sound-minded, Godly people who knew what they were talking about - see http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/05/30/how-old-is-earth) If some Hindus or whoever they are out there claim that their Vedas or whatever are 8,000 years old, they should simply read the Bible!
LOL.
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« Reply #65 on: September 22, 2011, 05:30:25 AM »

i disagree,
Ptolmy and his successors NEEDED the support of the priesthood so they only made minor administrative adjustments in relations to funding, and not religious dogma or practice, in effect the only major changes were the introduction of Serapis to appease the Alexandrine greeks. the same can't be said of Sumerian religion as their deities were related to cities and kingdoms, so when a kingdom is destroyed so is its religion, some deities are assimilated but this DOES NOT show, justify or prove continuity as the deities were added to by late kingdoms.
I don't think you know or understand much about the Mesopotamian pantheons. Do you know about how the Egyptian pantheon developed from a bunch of different local animal gods? Was the religion "destroyed" when later Pharaonic powers assimilated them into a pantheon?
I am sorry to disappoint you, but i do possess some knowledge of the evolution of Egyptian religion. firstly you misunderstand the Egyptian situation, Egypt was invaded by many nations and barbarians alike. however, none of the invaders left any permanent mark or caused any real change to the corpus of beliefs and religious bearings that the Egyptians held (apart from the muslims). also your scenario regarding the Pharaonic assimilation of local animal gods, is not in anyway analogous to the Sumerian situation, for the following reasons:
1) Egypt with its religion and language, remained united, this meant that no assimilation, change or alteration can occur as the pharaohs did not change the pantheon, they merely expounded and elaborated on the beliefs.
2) Sumer was a kingdom among MANY kingdoms in Mesopotamia, and whilst it was influential on other cultures in the region, it in no way was the benchmark or common culture of the region. Sumer's glory declined greatly in the second millenium BC and this led to the gradual disintegration, if not disassociation of their religion.
3) the religion of Sumer evolved to become anthropocentric. Although this within itself does not constitute a discontinuation within the religion, it had a great influence on causing the fall of Sumerian religion whenever the Sumerian kingdom dissolved. this is because the Gods were related to the cities and towns (ironically the best example comes from the Egyptian Pantheon in the form of the god Ptah being the major deity in Memphis)  this association ensured that when the city was conquered by an invading culture, the god of the city would be forsaken as they were defeated.
4) there is not much evidence to suggest that the religions of mesopotamia were the same. However i would agree that they had a similar basis, this does not mean continuation as Christianity IS a separate religion from Judaism, and Islam is not in continuity with either Judaism or Christianity. this example highlights that whilst sharing a similar foundation, religions that are similar are not in continuity with each other----> directly analogous to the Mesopotamian situation.

Hope you have a nice day Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: September 22, 2011, 07:14:10 AM »

heorhij,
that's what i was trying to say ages ago!
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