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Sapiens 10 The Law of Religion

Page history last edited by Ian Kimber 5 years, 10 months ago


Lecture 10   The Law of Religion


9 Segment 1 Religion Defined and early Animist and Polytheist Religions   11 - 1 - Lesson #10_ The Law of Religion - Segment 1 [24_39].mp4


Religion defines a unifying system of belief that defines how one behaves towards other people.  It is founded on some sort of order beyond mankind itself.  Religions were initially very localised and had no intention of spreading their beliefs  Monotheism only emerged around the first millennium BC and replaced the Animism and Polytheism of earlier religions.  These early religions are not to be ignored and are not against later monotheism. 

Early religions almost always go back to an individual root prime mover concept frequently this is impartial and unconcerned with humanity and does not enter into “deals”.  Polytheists tend to be tolerant of other religions and do not persecute different religions.  The Gods are in effect intermediaries.  Early empires left other countries’ religions alone although they did expect others to respect their own Gods this was true with the Romans until the Christian religion emerged they persecuted Christians because they did not respect their own Roman Gods.  Monotheism is far more fanatical and dominated much of the world.


9 Segment 2 Monotheism and Dualism   11 - 2 - Lesson #10_ The Law of Religion - Segment 2 [28_21].mp4


Monotheism develops when a group’s choice of their preferred God from a polytheistic pantheon turned into the main and controlling god.  The first monotheistic religion was in Egypt under Aknaten who raised the god Aten to the role of creator and controller. The minor Jewish racial monotheism was based solidly on deals with their supreme God.  This later spawned two major religions. The first was Chrisitanity. This eventually took over the Roman Empire.  This was followed later by Islam in Arabia.  This grew rapidly created a large empire.  Christianity also created saints, as intermediaries.  This is similar to the concepts of the old Gods.  A new idea comes in with dualism with forces of good and evil  The biggest problem of a good and loving God is why is there evil and suffering? One of the intellectual tricks is that of free will. Monotheists also tend to accept that there is an element of dualism but it is rather self-defeating but this is not a problem for many people.  However there is a problem of order. Why is there order in the dualist world? The one logical way of solving this is that there is an evil creator God but no religion follows this!  There are several small dualistic religions around.  The concept of crusade and Jihad is essentially dualistic.  Heaven and hell is also clearly a dualistic concept.  Old testament religion does not have these concepts.


9 Segment 3  The Old Non Theistic Religions!    11 - 3 - Lesson #10_ The Law of Religion - Segment 3 [27_05].mp4


These are religions based on natural laws.  Buddhism is the main example of this sort of religion.  There are no gods.  Suffering is part of life we are never content there is no escape on the rat race to death.  Prince Gotoma travelled as a penniless vagabond and realised that suffering is caused by ones own mind which is always dissatisfied and restless.  We are never content. We have to suppress this craving and accept things as they are using meditation to experience reality by concentrating on the moment.  Gotoma achieved this and spent his life teaching others being known as the Budda.  Buddhism does not deny the potential existence of gods but they always operate within the laws of nature.  It is always best to alleviate the suffering of oneself and others.  Daoism Jainism and Confucianism are similar.  There are now some new “religions” gods are less important and they call themselves ideologies.  Communism, Liberalism, Nazism etc.


9 Segment 4 Humanist based “religions”    11 - 4 - Lesson #10_ The Law of Religion - Segment 4 [19_40].mp4


The most important of the modern non theistic religions Is Humanism there are three major groupings.   

Liberal Humanism resides with in each of us. It is vital that are free to live our lives following and “human rights”

Socialist Humanism  says that the best route is the benefit of the species as a whole and inequality is bad.

Evolutionary Humanism  says that the evolutionary rules apply the fittest must survive (Nazism!).  The big problem is that in reality we do not and cannot know who is the fittest!  It has now been proved that no part of mankind is better than any other.  This final topic has been taboo for many years but better scientific knowledge is slowly changing this possibility.  It is now becoming understood that human beings are in no way special and life is purely based on chemistry.


Return to 1 Index page Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind


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