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Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
#1
Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
Getpocket

Quote: When you think of religion, you probably think of a god who rewards the good and punishes the wicked. But the idea of morally concerned gods is by no means universal. Social scientists have long known that small-scale traditional societies – the kind missionaries used to dismiss as “pagan” – envisaged a spirit world that cared little about the morality of human behaviour. Their concern was less about whether humans behaved nicely towards one another and more about whether they carried out their obligations to the spirits and displayed suitable deference to them.

Nevertheless, the world religions we know today, and their myriad variants, either demand belief in all-seeing punitive deities or at least postulate some kind of broader mechanism – such as karma – for rewarding the virtuous and punishing the wicked. In recent years, researchers have debated how and why these moralising religions came into being.

Now, thanks to our massive new database of world history, known as Seshat (named after the Egyptian goddess of record keeping), we’re starting to get some answers.

Eye in the sky



Sifting through history



Our statistical analysis showed that beliefs in supernatural punishment tend to appear only when societies make the transition from simple to complex, around the time when the overall population exceed about a million individuals.

We are now looking to other factors that may have driven the rise of the first large civilisation. For example, Seshat data suggests that daily or weekly collective rituals – the equivalent of today’s Sunday services or Friday prayers – appear early in the rise of social complexity and we’re looking further at their impact.

If the original function of moralising gods in world history was to hold together fragile, ethnically diverse coalitions, what might declining belief in such deities mean for the future of societies today? Could modern secularisation, for example, contribute to the unravelling of efforts to cooperate regionally – such as the European Union? If beliefs in big gods decline, what will that mean for cooperation across ethnic groups in the face of migration, warfare, or the spread of xenophobia? Can the functions of moralising gods simply be replaced by other forms of surveillance?

Even if Seshat cannot provide easy answers to all these questions, it could provide a more reliable way of estimating the probabilities of different futures.
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#2
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
That assumes that religions have been holding civilization together in any meaningful sense in the last 3 generations...
Quote:I don't understand why you'd come to a discussion forum, and then proceed to reap from visibility any voice that disagrees with you. If you're going to do that, why not just sit in front of a mirror and pat yourself on the back continuously?
-Esquilax

Evolution - Adapt or be eaten.
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#3
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
Or that they ever did before, in any generation.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#4
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
I never thought about it, but I guess the more advanced and power Humans get, the more advanced and powerful gods need to become. Because if the spirits are no more powerful than Human armies, then why should anyone pay attention to them?
Poe's Law: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

10 Christ-like figures that predate Jesus. Link shortened to Chris ate Jesus for some reason...
http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-chris...ate-jesus/

Good video to watch, if you want to know how common the Jesus story really is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50

A list of biblical contradictions from the infallible word of Yahweh.
http://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_m...tions.html

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#5
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
It would also come into conflict with the fact that civilization is primarily held together by food and trade.
Quote:I don't understand why you'd come to a discussion forum, and then proceed to reap from visibility any voice that disagrees with you. If you're going to do that, why not just sit in front of a mirror and pat yourself on the back continuously?
-Esquilax

Evolution - Adapt or be eaten.
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#6
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
There are alot of issues with the moralizing god hypothesis, which the author of the paper alludes to generally and in a few specific examples relevant to their analysis.

The food and trade bit, though, is under the header of ritual observance....which would probably come as a surprise to alot of folks, lol. It's also the source of things like breaking bread - and in a more ceremonial form, transubstantiation.

We probably don't see dinner as a ritual in our everyday lives, but to an anthropologist, it is. An artificial behavior that serves the purpose of highlighting and reinforcing the most personal social ties that bind. Behaviorally equivalent to any church service.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#7
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
(April 8, 2020 at 10:02 am)Chad32 Wrote: I never thought about it, but I guess the more advanced and power Humans get, the more advanced and powerful gods need to become. Because if the spirits are no more powerful than Human armies, then why should anyone pay attention to them?
It's dick-sizing. "My God can kick your God's ass." The lies stack up from there.
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#8
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
Theres the nagging fact that gods have become less powerful as human beings have become more powerful, ofc. Pagan myths are chock full of gods replacing lost arms. Axial gods, not so much - though axial gods used to go around curing disease..which they no longer do.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#9
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
(April 8, 2020 at 11:07 am)The Grand Nudger Wrote: Theres the nagging fact that gods have become less powerful as human beings have become more powerful, ofc.  Pagan myths are chock full of gods replacing lost arms.  Axial gods, not so much - though axial gods used to go around curing disease..which they no longer do.
Shows how religion turned into an industry.
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#10
RE: Big gods came after the rise of civilizations
It was always an industry. We only notice that it exists through the production of paraphernalia.

(in an important sense, the religion of all human beings is production - making things...I like to joke that we totally fucked the pooch when we gave some other ss "habilis")

-aaanywho, one of the fundamental problems with any hypothesis in this class, is that it assumes religion itself to be the selected for trait - advantageous in some way...rather than an incidental product of some other selected for trait that actually is advantageous.

Like a brain capable of psychological projection.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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