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Switch to Forum Live View The Origin of Religion
6 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2009 - 2:15AM #1
Arrogathor
Posts: 30
First Reading
Volume 1, chapter 3 page 26 paragraph 2

"Natural Societies are comparatively free from Law, first because they are ruled by customs as rigid and inviolable as any law; second because crimes of violence, in the beginning are considered to be private matters, and are left to personal revenge."

Second Reading
Volume 1, chapter 3 page 33 paragraph 1

"In the hunting stage she did almost all the work except the actual capture of the game. In return for exposing himself to the hardships and risks of the chase, the male rested magnificently for the greater part of the year.  The woman bore the children abundantly, reared them, kept the hut or home in repair, gathered food in the woods and fields, cooked, cleaned, made the clothing and the boots."

Third Reading, from The Old testament

Genesis 3

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
       "Cursed is the ground because of you;
       through painful toil you will eat of it
       all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
       and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
       you will eat your food
       until you return to the ground,
       since from it you were taken;
       for dust you are
       and to dust you will return."



Here we have three citations.  Two from "The Story of Civilization" describing man before agriculture and one from The Old Testament describing the punishment of man when he left the Garden of Eden.  You will notice that man's punishment was to have to till the soil, as opposed to his blissful existence as a hunter/gatherer where the woman did all the work and he basically only went hunting when he felt like it.

You will also note the absence of written or spoken law among primitive peoples.  No 'knowledge of good and evil".  Among hunter gathering peoples custom rules and it is learned painlessly by example as children grow up watching their elders.  There is no conflict between this invisible law and temptation as there is no or relatively little temptation available.

The development of agriculture changes everything in human society and must be seen as the major game changer in human history.  Recent scientific discoveries show that human evolution has accelerated in the last 50,000 years and especially in the last 10,000 years.

It shows that the transition from hunter/gatherer to agriculture has effected our DNA as well as our culture.

First, men must engage in regular labor dictated not by when they feel like going hunting but by the seasons and the needs of the harvest.  Second, population increases making it possible for people to get away with things that they could not get away with when everyone knew his neighbor by reputation.  Third wealth increases, creating new temptations which did not exist before.  Finally, trade brings strangers into the new urban centers, strangers with different customs and traditions and ways so there is a ferment and insecurity in tradition.

The possibility to get away with 'evil' behavior increases a thousandfold and thus, knowledge of good and evil come into existence automatically as a result of the development of agriculture and increases in population.  This means that a social counter to the new multiplicity of temptations and opportunities for self-destructive and anti-social behaviors needs to come into existence.  Man now needs a Church.  Organized religion is a necessary social development to help mankind deal with the changed circumstances of his new existence.

It is interesting to note that when you read this story from the Bible in an anthropological sense it makes a great deal of sense and describes the transition from hunter/gatherer to agriculture in poetic and colorful terms, which are also a fairly accurate description of how that change would have felt and been vaguely remembered.

It also shows the tendency of men to project themselves on nature.  The natural, inevitable results of changes in mans society are described as the punishment of men for some great sin.

If God does exist, the agnostic reading the Bible like this feels a deep sympathy for him. He is so often seen as vindictive and vengeful by men and blamed for punishing them without just cause.  This poor God of Abraham is constantly getting blamed for all the travails of life, it is almost like He was Jewish or something.

An Atheist might say that this shows the contempt for men in traditional religions.  That traditional religions believe that men are so bad that only the threat of an avenging deity  and a punitive hell can convince men to act with wisdom and avoid folly.  I tend to believe that it is mostly because men measure the world by themselves and in primitive times they projected an image of primitive punitive men on nature and call it God.  In our church we cannot threaten with hellfire and divine anger but only encourage seeking wisdom and avoiding folly.

This is the first sermon of the Year in the Church of Civilization because it establishes the basis for the need for wisdom teaching.  We do not like the idea of sin and morality we prefer the terms wisdom and foolishness in describing what we seek and what we seek to avoid.

Humans in primitive societies learned their wisdom automatically and rarely strayed in the almost total absence of temptation.  In our world filled with temptations and different ways, finding wisdom to guide us reliably has become more iffy, and temptations abound in much greater variety.  For many the main reason for rejecting traditional religions is the desire for freedom from any wisdom teaching any messages about right and wrong.  This is an anti-social impulse.  Especially since the landmark change from hunter/gatherer to agricultural high population density societies men need behavioral guidance.

It is necessary for a Church to teach what it can reasonably convey about what is wise and foolish for men and to help parents guide their children.  This sermon during the part of the year when we look at our hunter/gatherer ancestors and understand the difference between their conditions and our condition shows why this is necessary.  It is profoundly important that cultural mores necessary for the peaceful and prosperous interaction of humans in high population density societies not be lost as faith in traditional religious beliefs with which they are generally associated becomes weaker.

If the Church ceases to exist, the power of the Church as a wisdom authority will become invested in the State.  Separation of Church and state will cease to exist.  This means that one of the checks and balances of our society will vanish and the power of the State will increase posing a danger to the freedom and liberty of the Citizens.  It is useful to the individual Citizen whether he believes in religious teachings or not that such a
separation of wisdom authority from secular authority should exist.

The great lesson of this weeks sermon is therefore, that we need lessons and wisdom to guide us.  It is the justification for that part of the role of the Church of Civilization for those who might think that such teaching is an imposition or insult and believe that such things are not needed.  This will be the theme of this month's sermons as we look more closely at these issues during this the first month of the Church Year.
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2009 - 2:15AM #2
Arrogathor
Posts: 30
First Reading
Volume 1, chapter 3 page 26 paragraph 2

"Natural Societies are comparatively free from Law, first because they are ruled by customs as rigid and inviolable as any law; second because crimes of violence, in the beginning are considered to be private matters, and are left to personal revenge."

Second Reading
Volume 1, chapter 3 page 33 paragraph 1

"In the hunting stage she did almost all the work except the actual capture of the game. In return for exposing himself to the hardships and risks of the chase, the male rested magnificently for the greater part of the year.  The woman bore the children abundantly, reared them, kept the hut or home in repair, gathered food in the woods and fields, cooked, cleaned, made the clothing and the boots."

Third Reading, from The Old testament

Genesis 3

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
       "Cursed is the ground because of you;
       through painful toil you will eat of it
       all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
       and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
       you will eat your food
       until you return to the ground,
       since from it you were taken;
       for dust you are
       and to dust you will return."



Here we have three citations.  Two from "The Story of Civilization" describing man before agriculture and one from The Old Testament describing the punishment of man when he left the Garden of Eden.  You will notice that man's punishment was to have to till the soil, as opposed to his blissful existence as a hunter/gatherer where the woman did all the work and he basically only went hunting when he felt like it.

You will also note the absence of written or spoken law among primitive peoples.  No 'knowledge of good and evil".  Among hunter gathering peoples custom rules and it is learned painlessly by example as children grow up watching their elders.  There is no conflict between this invisible law and temptation as there is no or relatively little temptation available.

The development of agriculture changes everything in human society and must be seen as the major game changer in human history.  Recent scientific discoveries show that human evolution has accelerated in the last 50,000 years and especially in the last 10,000 years.

It shows that the transition from hunter/gatherer to agriculture has effected our DNA as well as our culture.

First, men must engage in regular labor dictated not by when they feel like going hunting but by the seasons and the needs of the harvest.  Second, population increases making it possible for people to get away with things that they could not get away with when everyone knew his neighbor by reputation.  Third wealth increases, creating new temptations which did not exist before.  Finally, trade brings strangers into the new urban centers, strangers with different customs and traditions and ways so there is a ferment and insecurity in tradition.

The possibility to get away with 'evil' behavior increases a thousandfold and thus, knowledge of good and evil come into existence automatically as a result of the development of agriculture and increases in population.  This means that a social counter to the new multiplicity of temptations and opportunities for self-destructive and anti-social behaviors needs to come into existence.  Man now needs a Church.  Organized religion is a necessary social development to help mankind deal with the changed circumstances of his new existence.

It is interesting to note that when you read this story from the Bible in an anthropological sense it makes a great deal of sense and describes the transition from hunter/gatherer to agriculture in poetic and colorful terms, which are also a fairly accurate description of how that change would have felt and been vaguely remembered.

It also shows the tendency of men to project themselves on nature.  The natural, inevitable results of changes in mans society are described as the punishment of men for some great sin.

If God does exist, the agnostic reading the Bible like this feels a deep sympathy for him. He is so often seen as vindictive and vengeful by men and blamed for punishing them without just cause.  This poor God of Abraham is constantly getting blamed for all the travails of life, it is almost like He was Jewish or something.

An Atheist might say that this shows the contempt for men in traditional religions.  That traditional religions believe that men are so bad that only the threat of an avenging deity  and a punitive hell can convince men to act with wisdom and avoid folly.  I tend to believe that it is mostly because men measure the world by themselves and in primitive times they projected an image of primitive punitive men on nature and call it God.  In our church we cannot threaten with hellfire and divine anger but only encourage seeking wisdom and avoiding folly.

This is the first sermon of the Year in the Church of Civilization because it establishes the basis for the need for wisdom teaching.  We do not like the idea of sin and morality we prefer the terms wisdom and foolishness in describing what we seek and what we seek to avoid.

Humans in primitive societies learned their wisdom automatically and rarely strayed in the almost total absence of temptation.  In our world filled with temptations and different ways, finding wisdom to guide us reliably has become more iffy, and temptations abound in much greater variety.  For many the main reason for rejecting traditional religions is the desire for freedom from any wisdom teaching any messages about right and wrong.  This is an anti-social impulse.  Especially since the landmark change from hunter/gatherer to agricultural high population density societies men need behavioral guidance.

It is necessary for a Church to teach what it can reasonably convey about what is wise and foolish for men and to help parents guide their children.  This sermon during the part of the year when we look at our hunter/gatherer ancestors and understand the difference between their conditions and our condition shows why this is necessary.  It is profoundly important that cultural mores necessary for the peaceful and prosperous interaction of humans in high population density societies not be lost as faith in traditional religious beliefs with which they are generally associated becomes weaker.

If the Church ceases to exist, the power of the Church as a wisdom authority will become invested in the State.  Separation of Church and state will cease to exist.  This means that one of the checks and balances of our society will vanish and the power of the State will increase posing a danger to the freedom and liberty of the Citizens.  It is useful to the individual Citizen whether he believes in religious teachings or not that such a
separation of wisdom authority from secular authority should exist.

The great lesson of this weeks sermon is therefore, that we need lessons and wisdom to guide us.  It is the justification for that part of the role of the Church of Civilization for those who might think that such teaching is an imposition or insult and believe that such things are not needed.  This will be the theme of this month's sermons as we look more closely at these issues during this the first month of the Church Year.
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