Author Topic: Which is the oldest religion in the world?  (Read 4553 times)

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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline Shiny

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.  

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Shiny

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline stavros_388

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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?  :D

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...

« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 04:27:56 PM by stavros_388 »
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Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 04:40:43 PM by HabteSelassie »
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Offline Cognomen

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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."

 :D :D :D

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?
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 05:08:03 PM by Cognomen »
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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline mabsoota

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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... :P
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Offline mabsoota

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2011, 05:53:01 PM »
Glad to help.  :)
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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline Kasatkin fan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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?  :D

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.

Offline Andrew Crook

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline Kasatkin fan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2011, 10:52:16 PM »
Obviously it's Wicca.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2011, 11:02:34 PM »
Obviously it's Wicca.

I <3 you for this.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
 ;)

Offline theo philosopher

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2011, 09:14:44 AM »
Archeologically speaking, fetishism predates all formal religions.
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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 09:33:41 AM by Jetavan »
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Offline theo philosopher

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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 »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline theo philosopher

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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. 
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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 »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Tallitot

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
Proverbs 22:7

Offline theo philosopher

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus

Offline Andrew Crook

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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?
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline Aidan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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

 

Offline Aidan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2011, 12:20:45 PM »
Sorry, I was replying to Habte Selassie

In Christ

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Aidan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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?

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 02:22:42 PM by HabteSelassie »
"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10

Offline Shiny

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Which is the oldest religion in the world?
« 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.