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Thread: Single God & Philosophy began in the VI century BC

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    Single God & Philosophy began in the VI century BC

    Today I wanna share an interesting coincidence that I've been thinking for some time now.

    And it's the change from naturalistic gods(god of rain, of the Sun...) , full of human passions and conspiracies against other gods.

    To a kind of god that resembles the idea we had for the past 2 millenia. Of a God more absolute, global & eternal. One based in a strong sense of morality, and Good and Evil.

    A God that doesn't justify itself in "winning other gods", instead it presents itself as "the truth", "Good"( in capital leters). And focus the attention in the profound MORALITY of its CREED.
    A God that tries to justify itself in more rational terms, and don't ask for sacrifices...

    Or, in line with the rationality I mentioned, we see the substitution of Gods altogether by philosophies.


    And the most interesting thing is that this happens in several cultures at the SAME EXACT TIME, around the 500s BC.

    The Old Testament is compiled during the exile in Babylon by the rabbis, Greek philosophy, Zoroastrism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism...

    All appear at the middle of the first Millenium BC.
    And the characteristics are very similar:

    - The evolution from a primitive religion based on sacrifices, to another more intellectually developed.
    - The end of fragmented religions, one for each ethnicity, to global and sincretic new faiths.

    And the date is no coincidence. Around that same time the Iron Age chiefdoms are subdued by the Empires of Classical Antiquity (Persians, Greeks, Mauryans, Qin and Romans).


    What we have is a societal change and evolution that is reflected in a shift in the beliefs of different peoples.

    What is worth noting is that even in 'ancient times', all these changes happen at the same time, which indicates some level of globalization, particularly in the area of ideas.

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    I don’t see Judaism and Christianity as fitting in the characteristics you describe.
    In the old testimony sacrifice is an essential part to show love and obedience to Yehova. Domination over the heathens and other gods(His Archenemy Ashera) is a fundamental part of many stories.
    He is often called the Lord of Hosts and has clearly anthropomorphic attributes, body parts like feet, mouth and hands where mentioned. He also is sometimes described like a storm god.
    To punish his own people (The Israelites/Jews) for misdemeanor he uses armies of heathens to enslave them(I will give you in the hands of the heathens)

    In the new Testimony he also does not use rational decisions, but plays dominant and devious games with the people. For example in the Book of Revelation he gives might over the world and people to monsters like dragons/beast to torture the people. Even the believers. The mythological creatures and the realm of Yehova where clearly described in a typical anthropomorphic way. In the old Testimony there are also mythological creatures like the cherubim.
    When you accept that Jesus is the same as Yehova, rationality is no more present at all in him (Think of all strange things Jesus said and did)

    But in my opinion there is clearly a strong cultural exchange from the Mediterranean Sea to India in this era, I agree with this.
    The character of Satan first appears in the era of Persian/Babylonian conquest and seems to be clearly an inclusion into Judaism from Ahirman.
    In the Book of Hiob, Yehova is described like Marduk who defeated Tiamat.

    Before the Persian/Babylonian conquest there seems to be no presence of the idea of hell, only the realm of the dead (Sheol) is existent and it is not described as something that can be prevented or is evil.
    In the Book of Samuel there is a case of necromancy, where a dead spirit from sheol is summoned and talks.

    Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity sharing the idea of Hell as a place for punishment, but with different nuances. For the eastern Religions, Hell is a place of purification and not an eternal punishment. In the hells of Buddhism and Hinduism there are old Gods from the previous era, who transformed from rulers of the realm of the dead, to hell guards or torture masters.

    Kirshnaism and Christianity have some similarities when it comes to salvation, for example the worship of one god/avatar for deliverance.
    When you reading the Bahagavad Gita, you will find that it is like a melting pod of ideas, you will find classical ideas like sacrifice for salvation, Bhakti Yoga, but also more rational inventions about the nature of the world and the dependency of everything, even the gods are not eternal.

    Catholicism has many similarities in its ascetic way of life to Buddhism (Like it is described in the Pali Canon, not the modern forms like Vajrayana) There is a theory that claims that the catholic purgatory is appropriated from Buddhism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mmiikkii View Post
    Today I wanna share an interesting coincidence that I've been thinking for some time now.

    And it's the change from naturalistic gods(god of rain, of the Sun...) , full of human passions and conspiracies against other gods.

    To a kind of god that resembles the idea we had for the past 2 millenia. Of a God more absolute, global & eternal. One based in a strong sense of morality, and Good and Evil.

    A God that doesn't justify itself in "winning other gods", instead it presents itself as "the truth", "Good"( in capital leters). And focus the attention in the profound MORALITY of its CREED.
    A God that tries to justify itself in more rational terms, and don't ask for sacrifices...

    Or, in line with the rationality I mentioned, we see the substitution of Gods altogether by philosophies.


    And the most interesting thing is that this happens in several cultures at the SAME EXACT TIME, around the 500s BC.

    The Old Testament is compiled during the exile in Babylon by the rabbis, Greek philosophy, Zoroastrism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism...

    All appear at the middle of the first Millenium BC.
    And the characteristics are very similar:

    - The evolution from a primitive religion based on sacrifices, to another more intellectually developed.
    - The end of fragmented religions, one for each ethnicity, to global and sincretic new faiths.

    And the date is no coincidence. Around that same time the Iron Age chiefdoms are subdued by the Empires of Classical Antiquity (Persians, Greeks, Mauryans, Qin and Romans).


    What we have is a societal change and evolution that is reflected in a shift in the beliefs of different peoples.

    What is worth noting is that even in 'ancient times', all these changes happen at the same time, which indicates some level of globalization, particularly in the area of ideas.
    I agree with much of what you said here. I think it's pretty clear that the Greek philosophers were influenced by what they heard about the Hebrew concept of one, incorporeal, creator god who issues rules for moral behavior.

    However, I would submit that the words of Christ as they appear in the New Testament, the writings of Paul of Tarsus, and later the writings of the early Church Fathers universalized and changed what was essentially the tribal, sometimes vindictive and seemingly cruel God of the Hebrews.

    That's not to take away from the fact that they were the first in the western world to posit such a "god".

    Revelations has been interpreted in different ways. Catholic theologians, in particular, do not read it as literally as did and do most Protestants, and especially American evangelical protestants. Calvinism and Catholicism, for example, are very different, and "Born Again" American style religion and Catholicism are even more different. There are dozens of ways in which there is this split between Catholic theology and evangelical Protestant theology, evolution being one of the most prominent.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggerland View Post
    I don’t see Judaism and Christianity as fitting in the characteristics you describe.
    In the old testimony sacrifice is an essential part to show love and obedience to Yehova. Domination over the heathens and other gods(His Archenemy Ashera) is a fundamental part of many stories.
    He is often called the Lord of Hosts and has clearly anthropomorphic attributes, body parts like feet, mouth and hands where mentioned. He also is sometimes described like a storm god.
    To punish his own people (The Israelites/Jews) for misdemeanor he uses armies of heathens to enslave them(I will give you in the hands of the heathens)

    In the new Testimony he also does not use rational decisions, but plays dominant and devious games with the people. For example in the Book of Revelation he gives might over the world and people to monsters like dragons/beast to torture the people. Even the believers. The mythological creatures and the realm of Yehova where clearly described in a typical anthropomorphic way. In the old Testimony there are also mythological creatures like the cherubim.
    When you accept that Jesus is the same as Yehova, rationality is no more present at all in him (Think of all strange things Jesus said and did)
    First, thanks for the contributions to you and Angela.

    I will expand in the rational part, I know that Abrahamism is not 'rational' per se. The point I'm trying to make is that Monotheism is based in an intransigent idea of good.

    That is why I say it kind of offers a justification for its existence. Rather than imposing itself bacause the king of the tribe has massacred their enemies...

    Yahve says he is the only one, rather than one of many. One single TRUE God. The mere idea of ONE Truth justifies Imperial rule, Global rule... Rather than being the jungle of many tribes.

    Rather than your God being better because you won, you're better because the one single God chose you. That is their RATIONALE. The kind of rationality is based in the morality and how pure you're, it's a religion that tries to give more complex justifications.


    Besides, archeologists have proven that until the conquest of Judea and the exile to Babylon, Yahwe was adored with many other Gods, and depicted in animalistic ways (idolatry and polytheism).

    But at that time, the time of the Prophets by the way, they crafted the Scriptures to emphasize the Monotheistic nature of God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    That's not to take away from the fact that they were the first in the western world to posit such a "god".

    Revelations has been interpreted in different ways. Catholic theologians, in particular, do not read it as literally as did and do most Protestants, and especially American evangelical protestants. Calvinism and Catholicism, for example, are very different, and "Born Again" American style religion and Catholicism are even more different. There are dozens of ways in which there is this split between Catholic theology and evangelical Protestant theology, evolution being one of the most prominent.
    Thanks Angela.

    This is very true, we're talking about the transition from the Iron Age to the Classical Antiquity(at least Antiquity outside Mesopotamia and Egypt).

    The evolution of culture and religion during the following 2500 years is something worth a thought and several new threads.

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