February 17, 2020 at 5:32 pm #322379
The world is becoming more secular. France will have a majority secular population soon. So will the Netherlands and New Zealand. The United Kingdom and Australia will soon lose Christian majorities and finally America’s obscene Christian regions are losing their stranglehold.
An increasing percent of the American population are understanding the stories created within the Biblical era were created for the people of the Biblical era. The genre of storytelling during the Biblical era often involved imaginative supernatural characters and events interlaced in the story. The story spread by tribal oral tradition. Supernatural was not a word during the Biblical era it was a way of life.
I am a member of the human species H. sapiens Anatomically Modern Human AMH. Animism was originally the religion of all Hunter-Gatherers, our ancestors for most of the last 200,000 years. How do we know that? Through archaeological traces of our ancestors and comparative anthropological studies of present-day hunter gatherers, all of whom are animists. Animism is basically a belief that every part of the world is suffused with spirit and is therefore sacred. It stands apart from brand-name-religions in which only certain things, like a particular text, such as a bible, or building, like a church, mosque, or synagogue, is sacred, and the rest of the world is regarded as profane.
Our present culture started only about 10,000 years ago. So, the original religion of most of humanity has been Animism for 95% of the time we have been here.
There is some confusion about the difference between Hunter-Gatherers, Indigenous people, Primitive or Tribal people, and so on. People like the Maasai and Bantu of Africa, and many American Indians, were not Hunter-Gatherers. They are or were horticulturalists, that is, people who till small gardens, or agriculturalists who farm, or pastoralists who herd animals.
Animism can also be distinguished from Paganism in that Pagan means “of the country” and refers to farmers. Animism is the most ancient religion. Although there is some controversy regarding the derivation of the word “religion” – most people agree that it is from the Latin religare (to bind strongly. So Animism is like other religions in that it involves being strongly bound, but it differs in that its binding is to the Universe rather than to a particular deity.
“A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.” – Carl Sagan, Astronomer & science writer, 1994
How is it possible that any modern educated person could take the bible literally? or even take the bible seriously?
1946-1952 – The Revised Standard Version is published. 1947-1956 – The Dead Sea Scrolls are discovered. 1971 – The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is published. 1973 – The New International Version (NIV) is published. 1982 – The New King James Version (NKJV) is published. 1996 – The New Living Translation (NLT) is published. 2001 – The English Standard Version (ESV) is published.February 17, 2020 at 7:18 pm #322383
I am not an atheist. But, atheists have been the vanguard against the onslaught of creationism. For about the last 1,000 years that was the only understanding of our origins. Today we have new sciences, Paleontology for one example. Modern sciences can decipher the evidence left by events of our planet forming and life evolving.
We were all AMH then and often many of today choose to make something up and try to convince others it is true. Rather than saying I don’t know.February 18, 2020 at 11:58 am #322469
An interesting read. A lot goes into how a “modern educated person” could take the Bible literally. My mom told me God is real. My mom is the sweetest, most wonderful lady who ever lived and she would NOT lie to me. As a child this was absolute. Acceptance of the things she said as being reality were long set in my head before I ever had the mental capacity for critical thought or understanding the difference between “lying” and “being mistaken”.
And if you haven’t noticed, there is a real effort by Christianity to influence modern education, especially in middle and high school. And it’s not just about sneaking creationism back in. Hell, it’s not even about religious concepts at all, necessarily. My children never learned in school that there were ever nuclear bombs dropped in the world. Why? Because America dropped them, nuclear bombs are bad and we can’t teach children that America has ever done anything bad. It’s called “American exceptionalism” and, while not inherently religious, it is the basis on which to build a religious foundation. It dovetails nicely with the concept that America, which is an exceptional nation, is also a Christian nation, the first being caused by the second. And when we start to lose that Christian foundation, then we start to lose our exceptionalism. At that point we need to do something to “make America great again”. Religious influence has crept into politics through the Republican party. Republicans need evangelicals to survive as a party, evangelicals want their waning and undeserved power back.
But I do think it’s a little presumptuous to say “We were all AMH”. Even more so to go on to say that others “chose to make something up”, insinuating all beliefs except AMH are just made up. That’s what EVERYONE with a belief believes; that all beliefs but theirs are just made up. And I don’t think literally everyone who started a religion made a conscious choice to “make something up”. I’m certain at least some religious founders were completely sincere in their beliefs. And I can’t say with any certainty what people 10,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago, 200,000 years ago or earlier believed. But I would lay money on the fact that this belief did not remain completely unchanged from the beginning until it began being replaced. All beliefs evolve over time. As circumstance changes, so does the belief. That’s why Old Testament God was an old, angry, vengeful God who went around smiting everyone and New Testament God was a young, chill, forgiving God who went around healing and forgiving people.February 18, 2020 at 12:52 pm #322475
Thank you for the passion in your post. Your mom reminds me of my mom. Paleontology and other contemporary sciences were not available to their learning experiences. To say we are all AMH is not presumptuous at all. Simply look up H, sapiens anatomically modern humans (AMH).February 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm #322477
To be honest, I don’t want to. I have no real interest in the subject, just the conversation. I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I do want to be honest.
And on that note (the honesty one) I was conflating AMH with animism. I often confuse things that start with the same letter. I was taking that acronym as being the same as the religious belief, so what I said (I don’t remember precisely now and am too pressed for time to read it) was probably nonsense.February 20, 2020 at 10:22 am #322669@citizenschallengev3Participant
I’m confused. AMH sounds so, I don’t know cliquish, cult like even.
Oh! You mean Anatomically Modern Humans , why didn’t you say so. Okay got it.
I am a member of the human species H. sapiens Anatomically Modern Human AMH.
I guess as in homo sapiens, oops homo sapiens sapiens.
Okay and if I stand under an apple tree and I get hit on the head with an apple, what does that mean?
Yeah, I’m trying hard to be cute here before I run off. Hal, You spent a bunch of time on this, but what’s the point you are trying to make? It reminds me of the sports announcer breathlessly telling us that the team that scores the most points will win.February 20, 2020 at 3:06 pm #322689
I think that might be why I’m a little confused here. The text does kind of go out of the way to make “modern human” into something mysterious with its own acronym. That and this week (really 2 or 3) has been a bit of a whopper for me. A lot going on at work right now, at home the week or two before.February 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm #322684
<p style=”text-align: right;”>”Okay and if I stand under an apple tree and I get hit on the head with an apple, what does that mean?</p>
Hi Citizenschallange. We had a few discussions years ago (think I was using AMH) as my username then. You can use Homo sapiens sapiens but that is a technical reference not used with Homo sapiens anatomically modern humans (AMH) which comes later. these 2 pics may help make my point.
Our belief system then was Animism, the most ancient religion. Although there is some controversy regarding the derivation of the word “religion” – most people agree that it is from the Latin religare (to bind strongly. So Animism is like other religions in that it involves being strongly bound, but it differs in that its binding is to the Universe rather than to a particular deity.
Animism is basically a belief that every part of the world is suffused with spirit and is therefore sacred.
It stands apart from most contemporary religions in which only certain things, like a particular text, such as a bible, or building, like a church, mosque, or synagogue, is sacred, and the rest of the world is regarded as profane.February 20, 2020 at 5:35 pm #322710@sreeParticipant
Based on the evolution tree, it seems possible for homo sapiens to evolve on to something else.February 20, 2020 at 5:42 pm #322711@ibelieveinlogicParticipant
Come on guys, you all know we are here because of a group of horny ancient astronauts.February 20, 2020 at 6:14 pm #322713
Sree something we do know right now is it might not be an evolutionary step for our AMH species as we are the last extant species you see on the right side of the tree with all previous Homo species being extinct. More members of our species must start behaving in a way to contribute to the success of the species not the church. Because we are so smart we believe saving the church is more important than saving the species. Other species are so dumb they did not build a Church to save, they only know to contribute to the success of their species.
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Hal.
February 20, 2020 at 6:57 pm #322715
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Hal.
In my opinion it’s important for activist humanists and secularists to be knowledgeable about the trends in American religion since these account for much of the current polarization in our society. To begin with, you need to distinguish the different aspects of religion: belief, belonging, and behavior. The data shows membership in religious organizations has declined more than belief in the supernatural. This is because we lived a supernatural life for 200.000 years then interspersed our supernatural life with Church life for the last 2000 years.
We have to remember that religion is a familial and social activity. Nobody wants to upset their relatives more than is necessary, especially elderly folk who might include you in their will. So, a lot of nones tag along to religious events to show solidarity and keep the peace. Nevertheless, there is a clear generational erosion in organized religion, particularly as tales of clergy scandals, moral corruption, and their politicization have alienated many adherents. Fewer people among the younger generation claim a religious identification and fewer children today are receiving religious education and socialization.
But this doesn’t mean we should indulge in triumphalism. The move into the “none” category has largely been a spontaneous and leaderless development. This mass exit from religion is a great opportunity for organizations in the secular movement, but the continuation of the current trajectory and its permanence is not assured. My goal here is to provide people information from modern sciences that may have come into existence after their educational experience as a student.February 20, 2020 at 8:34 pm #322722
Bob. We may find you were right in the distant future.February 21, 2020 at 8:24 am #322764@ibelieveinlogicParticipant
Hi Hal, Punctuated equilibrium appeals to me more than any other idea, mostly because I assume it could be accomplished by mutation. Long ago I realized that if continual slow evolution was true, then we should see it in the fossil record. In other words, we shouldn’t see distinctly different creatures living for millennia but should see mostly transitional creatures. The fossil record just doesn’t show transitions.
When it comes to humans, I believe human technological civilization has been around for longer, probably much longer, than currently accepted. I think much history has been lost and much has been re-written to puff up the leadership at particular times. I think Egypt is a prime example of leaders erasing ancient history and claiming the good parts for themselves.
I think we have had more geologic upheaval during the time modern humans have been around than is taught. I suspect most of the flood stories have a basis in fact. I also suspect humans were on the west coast of S. America before the mountains rose and probably around the globe before the last ice age began. Speculation of course, but from tidbits seen here and there.February 21, 2020 at 11:29 am #322782@laustenKeymaster
I agree we should be knowledgeable on the trends, however, here’s what I’ve found:
Religious people don’t want to be talked about like they are some “trend”. Even the ones who are actively debating theology will not say they are changing it, they will say they are getting it right and seeking god or source or ultimate truth or whatever.
Non-believers of all stripes don’t care. They lump all the “trends” in to one big bucket of stupid people who are still following the writings of goat herders. If I point out that it doesn’t make sense to tell a Protestant that they are stupid because they believe Jesus is in a cracker, because they don’t believe that, they will turn their anger on me and treat me like I’m the one thinks I can get theology right. I’m not doing theology though, I’m understanding the trends and being aware of who I’m addressing.
The non-believer prejudice stems from (I think) the way atheist leaders have presented human history as a long period of worshipping nature then it just stuck as a meme and became what we call religion today. According to that, we should just be able to shake it off and be done with it. The alternate theory that is gaining traction is that religion is a survival mechanism for group selection, part of our evolution. But that is multiple competing theories, so you don’t get nice easy answers from them.
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