A Brief History of Religion

Introduction: During the last few hundred thousand years, humans started talking. Before speech, we probably didn’t have a lot of articulated thoughts in our heads or any precise ideas of Gods. However, as time went on prophet-like, priest-like people suggested that there were immaterial forces behind material events like lightning, child-birth, death, rain, crop growth, and inside ourselves, inside animals, inside plants perhaps as well. Regardless, a multitude of Gods did exist and many people from all parts of the world still believe in a multitude of Gods, often choosing one of them as the most important one or as the only true God, sometimes in combination with any of the major religious movements mentioned below. Let’s assume that about 5,000 years ago, there were sky gods, fertility gods, battle gods et cetera; Most people were nomadic, but some were farmers, some were city-folk, some were monarchs and some were slaves.

Amendment: The evolution of mythology is very psychosocial. The Goddess usually represents the Earth, the universe, life, while the God represents the spirit, action and change. The male Marduk killed the Goddess and replaced her. Marduk was the favourite local God and to become top dog he had to destroy the old universe (the Goddess) and remake it. Yahweh was a thunder god, very manly. Then the apostles brought back the Goddess. They borrowed the virgin birth from the Greek tradition and it represents the spirit birth, because Jesus was more than a physical man and therefore not conceived through physical sex and penetration and sperms and eggs and DNA and moaning and physical pleasures and animal drives. Oden, the God of wisdom and death (calm reason, sex and death is today part of the Swedish stereotype), replaced Tyr, the sky God. Tyr represents the male courage of the spirit as he sacrifices his bodily hand to bind the Fenrir Wolf, who was so strong they had to bind him with a rope made by the dwarves out of the roots of the mountains, the rumble of the cats, the tendons of the bear, the breath of the fish, the beard of the women and the spit of the birds. In the old Testament the Messiah is not related to God, but in the New testament, the son replaces the father as the protagonist. The Greek mythology contains Gods that behave very human-like, they’re envious, greedy, foolish, loving. All religions are based on metaphors for psychological tides driving different societies, like the hunter-gatherers, the farmers and the city folks all emphasize very different aspects of existence. The evolution of mythology is also why you can see many different versions of creation myths within the same religion. And when you have a lot of different groups of people you get a mix of stories that might often contradict each other and leads to a huge pantheon and lots of demigods.

2nd amendment: Constantine continued a belief in the Sun, which in Swedish is still called sol. The Egyptians worshiped the Sun in the form of Ra, which was humanized as Amun-Ra, a God-head, a humanesque God at the top of a hierarchy, with the earthly ruler as second in command. Constantine was like the sun, unmovable from supremacy. This goes from the pharaohs to the Pope to George Bush and a long list of people in between.  Sol was replaced by Jesus and YHWH. This was part of a history of patriarchy that was more concerned with inter-human relations than Mother Earth. During the Axial Age Buddha and Socrates, brothers in pacifism, rebelled against the structure of society. Buddha deconstructing the Hindu pantheon and Socrates deconstructing the Greek pantheon. Buddhism created a more altruistic society in the East, but Socrates was sentenced to death. 2000 years after Socrates, Giordano Bruno was martyred for criticizing the Church and suggesting each star was a sun, an anarchic idea to the sun kings who have reigned from the Scorpion King 5000 years ago till this very day. 2500 years after Buddha, the Church still defends the Inquisition. These three people (and other of course) questioned society, not for their own gain or to create a new structure in which they were at the top, but to allow enlightenment to combat the structural errors that were produced by these top-down-led trial-and-error-evolving societies. The consequences of the suppression of this enlightenment in the West created the banking system, the inflation and the stock market, to name but a few evils of modern western life created by the top-down trial-and-error. It will take a huge amount of enlightenment to mend the problems this has created. There are a lot of positive things in society, but societal phenomenon like capitalism and official laws and hierarchies are wormly appendixes that need be removed for they have poisoned or killed too many innocent minds and given no real benefits to the metaphorical world soul.


80,000 years ago, Cave paintings in Africa. “The use of abstract symbolism on the engraved pieces of ochre and the presence of a complex tool kit suggests Middle Stone Age people were behaving in a cognitively modern way and had the advantages of syntactical language at least 80,000 years ago.”

32,000 years ago, Cave paintings in Europe and “‘the Lion Man’ found in the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave of Germany’s Swabian Alb and dated at 32,000 years old, is associated with the Aurignacian culture and is the oldest known anthropomorphic animal figurine in the world.”

12,000 years ago, Someone built the temple of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey.

4,000 years ago, The Gilgamesh epic tells the story of Gilgamesh who might have been the king of Uruk (present-day Iraq) about 700 years earlier. In the text Marduk is the highest God.

3,300 years ago. Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten believes Aton, the sun/an aspect of Ra, is the one true God. The priests of Egypt undid his works when he died and told the new pharaoh, Akhenaten’s son, that he was not the image of Aten, Tutankhaten, but the image of Amun, Tutankhamun, because they thought Amun was the true God-king. Amun-Ra was long the highest God, depicted now as a human unlike all the other animal gods.

3,200 years ago, a priest in Mesopotamia named Sin-liqe-unninni adds stories like the flood myth (Noah’s Ark) to the Gilgamesh portfolio.

3,000 years ago, in or near where Iran is, a man named Zarathustra said that Ahura Mazda was the one true God and all other Gods were false Gods and zoroastrianism spread.

2,600 years ago, the worship of Amun-Ra in Egypt was replaced by the cult of Isis and Osiris.

2,600 years ago, somewhere in the middle-east, after the Babylonian captivity, King Josiah’s head priest “found” the laws of Moses and said that Jahve was the only true God and judaism spread. As a child-king he grew up in Judah, which had been controlled by the Assyrian Empire. His father had been named Amon, after the Egyptian sun god but after the collapse of the Empire, his father and grandfather were deemed heretics and the monotheistic belief in YHWH spread under his reign (the reign of his advisors).

2,600 year ago, in India, Prince Siddhatta Gautama said he didn’t care for the Hindu gods and became an enlightened agnostic ascetic and buddhism spread.

2,300 years ago, Aristotle in Greece combines science and Plato’s idealism in his magnum opus Metaphysics.

2,000 years ago, Jesus in Israel said the jewish priests were wrong and the Romans killed him.

1,700 years ago, in China, Guo Xiang embraced spontaneity and Daoism spread.

1,700 years ago, Constantine the Great in Constantinople said that Jesus was the son of God and Christianity spread.

1,700 years ago, King Ezana of Ethiopia also became a Christian and Christianity spread.

1,500 years ago, or something like that, Tyr is replaced by Odin as the God-head among Germanic peoples.

1,400 years ago, Mohammad was kicked out of Mecka, said both the jews and the christians were wrong and that Allah, the moon God, was actually the only God, retook Mecka and Islam spread.

1,350 years ago, Muhammad’s followers disagreed about the legitimacy of his heir to the earthly and heavenly throne and Islam split into Shia and Sunni, which eventually led to the beheading of Saddam Hussein a few years later.

1,300 years ago, Indian nobleman Parshvanatha “pulled a Buddha” and Jainism spread.

1,200 years ago, Adi Shankara in India told people that Brahman was the one true God and that everyone is God and Hindu monotheism spread.

500 years ago, Martin Luther in Germany said the catholic church was wrong to say you could pay money to be absolved of your sins, the pope banned him and protestantism spread.

500 years ago, King Henry VIII of England with neighbours, took 6 wives, beheaded 2 of them and created the Church of England when the pope disapproved.

200 years ago, U.S. American Joseph Smith said Jesus, after his death, went from Israel, across Asia, over the Bering strait, across North America, to New York, whence he ascended to Heaven. His followers, The Church of Latter Day Saints (mormons), is but one of several thousands of Christian denominations.

70 years ago, during the so called second world war, Japan and the US built landing strips on islands in the Pacific and cargo cults centered around the wish for the spirits to bring them more stuff from heaven arose. Wikipedia: “Cargo cults typically were created by individual leaders, or strong men in the Melanesian culture, and it is not at all clear if these leaders were genuine, or were simply running scams on gullible populations.” Sounds like a spot-on description of religion to me.

60 years ago, the 2,000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls are found, the oldest version of the Old Testament. The texts tell of wondrous things.*

50 years ago, Hindu monotheism spreads to the west in the form of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. (Krishna consciousness, pure consciousnss, Christ consciousness, Buddha, these are all metaphors for the immaterial God our souls are/are made of/belongs to/comes from. P.S. It would be infinitely cool if my mind was Vishnu)

0 years ago, the Roman Pope is still there today after 1,700 years of turmoil; a shining example of the patriarchy in the history of religion/humanity.

*”I saw many stars descend and cast themselves down from heaven… and behold they all let out their privy members, like horses, and began to cover the cows of the oxen, and they all became pregnant and bare elephants, camels, and asses…18. And I saw till the Lord came unto them and took in His hand the staff of His wrath, and smote the earth, and the earth clave asunder, and all the beasts and all the birds of the heaven fell from among those sheep, and were swallowed up in the earth and it covered them. 19. And I saw till a great sword was given to the sheep, and the sheep proceeded against all the beasts of the field to slay them, and all the beasts and the birds of the heaven fled before their face.” – Book of Enoch

From http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/african-mythology.php:

“African Creator Gods seem to follow a distinctive pattern – they are all extremely dissatisfied with their creations. There is much shaking of heads, turning away in sorrow and avoidance of contact. The humans are left to fend for themselves. Attempts to regain contact with their God by building a heavenly ladder are the subject of many an unhappy legend. On the whole, African Gods don’t like to be pestered, and humans have to learn to be content with their lot.”

Also, I left out the entirety of  Oceanian and American religion, but you can see the pattern already I hope. For more insight, look up Quetzalcoatl, I’itoi and Dreamtime. It should be noted that the beliefs of most people in general are quite practical – Gods are often irrelevant in day-to-day matters or they are physically very real – while a comparatively few have formed very theoretical/philosophical/surreal ideas about the nature of everything. This is true for all peoples and places of the Earth, today as well as in history, and most likely in the future as well.

Think what you will of the accuracy of that clip, but videos are always fun.


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