View Thread

Atheists Today » Religion » Judaism
 Print Thread
How Old Are Abrahamic Cults?
neilmarr
There is no doubt that Judaism was around before Christianity and Islam, though it may well have not been the first form of monotheism.

What many Christians and Moslems don't appreciate (or Jews, come to that) is that Judaism was by no means 'ancient' when it became the foundation of the 'new' Abrahamic religions.

It seems that scholarly opinion dates what has become known as the Old Testament to just 600 years before Christ ... later to the alleged Babylonian Exile or even later to Maccabean times.

The Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, supposedly written at God's dictation by a mysterious character called Moses, are likely to have been relatively recent compositions, inspired by a political need for national identity and unity.

It is odd to realise that -- at a push -- the Jewish sect of Christianity (which could well have preceeded the alleged birth of Christ by some two hundred years) might be almost as old as the Judaism from which it sprang. And it was certainly no more radical in its origins than the other major Jewish groups; Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes.

Our own Seeker is particularly well read on this subject and has expressed strong views in fascinating debates on another board we both visit, and I wondered if he or anyone else had ideas to throw into the pot here so that we could start our own debate at a more basic level than that set by Seeker and dazzlingly knowledgeable and specialised friends elsewhere.

That way, those who -- like me -- come to the ideas and information as laymen will be able to follow.

Cheers. Neil

Edited just to add that you'll find the other debates in the Old Testament section of www.[url]jesusneverexisted.com[/url]. N
Edited by neilmarr on 09/15/2008 13:47
 
seeker
My view on it is that Judaism really begins during the Achemaenid period as a version of Zoroastrianism. Keep in mind that the term Zoroastrianism is a fairly recent term, during that era it was assumed that all Persians believed the same things so the term Parsi was used interchangebly to refer to Persians and followers of their religion.

I think that the Greek period was an era when the Persians were especially denigrated and being thought of as Persian in Greek occupied Judea became a problem so the Parsi (Persians) became the Pharisee (separated). The struggle between rival Greek factions, the Selucids and the Ptolomies, led a situation where the Selucids came to dominate the region which, I think, caused the Ptolomies to set up a Jewish separitist movement known as the Maccabees.

Up until the time of the Maccabees I doubt that there was a notion of Judaism that was markedly distinct from the Zoroastrianism of the Achemaenid Empire but I think that changed when the Maccabees began to create a work of propaganda in order to fuel Jewish nationalism. The Selucid Empire was declining by this time and the stories of an ancient Kingdom of Judah and Kingdom of Israel were the perfect thing to inspire people in judea to breakaway from the Selucid Empire.

One of the first things that the Maccabees did was require the people in their new kingdom to convert to the new religion (Judaism) and it was only then that the OT began to actually be written. The Maccabees created a political party called the Sadducees but the traditional priesthood (the Parsi now called Pharisees) were to popular to actually replace. Where the Pharisee were unconcerned with political power and material wealth the Sadducees were the wealthy ruling elite of Judea

What I find really interesting is that the Dead Sea scrolls date to about this time and some of those writings seem to set the Sadducees up as having a messianic role. I kind of wonder if, had the roman not intervened, we'd be talking of Judah Maccabee as the 'savior of mankind' instead of Jesus?
 
neilmarr
So you feel that the organised religion of Judaism might well go back to only the second century BCE and that the term 'Jewish' up until that time should be used to describe a national culture and not a religion?

And I guess, also, that had books begun to be compiled around that period, some would be even more recent.

Is there anything to suggest yet which books were based on ancient myth and which were complete propaganda fabrications and in which order the books were written?

When were they eentually all shuffled into place to comprise the OT as we know it?

Sorry to lumber you with these questions, Seeker. You're the best chap I know to answer them if yu can spare the time.

Cheers. Neil
 
seeker
neilmarr wrote

So you feel that the organised religion of Judaism might well go back to only the second century BCE and that the term 'Jewish' up until that time should be used to describe a national culture and not a religion?

I'm not even sure it would describe the national culture. Under the Persians and Greeks I don't think there was really anything to distinguish Judah culturally from most other former regions

neilmarr wrote
And I guess, also, that had books begun to be compiled around that period, some would be even more recent.

Is there anything to suggest yet which books were based on ancient myth and which were complete propaganda fabrications and in which order the books were written?

I'm pretty sure that quite a bit of the Deuteronomic history contains older myths. Certainly the flood story, Tower of Babylon, Adam and Eve etc were folk tales that were around in the region. Additionally stories like that of Samson are just reworking of the myths of other cultures and then there are references like the one in Isaiah 14:12 to the story of Prometheus from the Titanomachy (or maybe it was Hesiod's Works and Days, they both paint Prometheus as the giver of wisdom much like the serpent in the Adam and Eve myth).

neilmarr wrote
When were they eentually all shuffled into place to comprise the OT as we know it?

IMO we are probably talking about some time around the middle of the second century BCE


neilmarr wrote
Sorry to lumber you with these questions, Seeker. You're the best chap I know to answer them if yu can spare the time.

Cheers. Neil


I don't mind at all. Of course you know you are sort of just getting my opinions, which I admit are somewhat more minimal than those of a lot of scholars on the subject. Even though my reading leads me to suspect that scholarly opinion is generally coming around to my view there is still a bif segment of people who would put at least some of the primary history in the pre-exilic period during perhaps Josiah's reign.
 
neilmarr
What are the chances then, Seeker, of Judaism and proto-Christianity actually being almost twins?

There are, as we know, plausible reasons to believe that the cult of Christianity may well also have sprung up mid-second century BCE, which would coincide with your proposed date for the establishment of formal Judaism itself.

I find the idea of Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Christians vying for control of the new 'Jewsh' religion would make a lot of sense if we read the Dead Sea Scrolls with this possibility in mind and take a closer look at the tone of Christian scriptures.

Any thoughts? Very best. Neil
 
General-Pryce
Too many big words.... you said laymen Neil! No fair! Sad
 
neilmarr
Dip a toe into the waters over at the [url]www.jesusneverexisted.com[/url] OT threads for bafflement on a higher plane, GP.

Things seem to be fathomable here so far because I really ain't no authority on the subject and Seeker's pretty good at explaining things -- unless he's in posher company with others who've made a specific study of the period.

Don't think there's anything in this thread so far that can't become clear with a quick Google search. Wiki has clear, brief definitions of all the terms used.

Good luck, mate. Neil
 
seeker
neilmarr wrote:
What are the chances then, Seeker, of Judaism and proto-Christianity actually being almost twins?

There are, as we know, plausible reasons to believe that the cult of Christianity may well also have sprung up mid-second century BCE, which would coincide with your proposed date for the establishment of formal Judaism itself.

I find the idea of Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Christians vying for control of the new 'Jewsh' religion would make a lot of sense if we read the Dead Sea Scrolls with this possibility in mind and take a closer look at the tone of Christian scriptures.

Any thoughts? Very best. Neil


They are pretty close cousins but not quite twins I don't think. The big difference is in the goals behind the two religions.

In Judaism the focus is on restoring Gods laws and Gods kingdom behind they guy that God picks as king. Its a religion you would expect from a revolutionary group trying to create a kingdom, complete with stories of ancient splendor that came from following God's laws and kings as welll as a cautionary tale of failure when Gods laws were broken.

Christianity is more about an already established order. The King has already been and gone. Christians expected to try to follow along but told they will fail because ultimately no one is really good enough. Where the Jews are revolutionaries the Christians are cops, maintaining order, stifling anything un-Christian and toing the line until the end of time.
 
neilmarr
Jesus wept! I just spent an hour composing a message for you, Seeker, and the whole damned thing disappeared just as I tried to post and some uninvited website suddenly suyperimposed itself on AtheistsToday and wiped me out. I'll try my best to reconstruct it.

***They are pretty close cousins but not quite twins I don't think. The big difference is in the goals behind the two religions***

What I meant was more about simultaneous birth than family relationship, Seeker. So, of course, I do take your point.

However, how do we know the motivation was not inspired and new goals set by the same embryonic reigion at around the same time?

I think we might agree that it's not outside the bounds of possibility that all four branches of a new monotheistic religion, Essene, Sadducee, Pharisee and proto-Christian emerged in the second century BCE as different takes on a basic manifesto.

Each of the sects found within the proposal its own motivation to set its own agenda in a bid to achieve its own ends.

The Sadducees chose to come the puppets of the ruling elite -- in fact to join the ruling elite -- and handle all material matters, including administration of the temple. The Essenes withdrew to their desert communities.

For vastly different reasons, neither of these two groups was evangelical or expansionist.

Then came the crunch. The revolution (made possible by a relatively new but very popular feeling of Jewish nationhood and 'general' shared religious identity). The Sadducee class was wiped out with the temple in 70CE. The Essenes disappeared about then, too -- probably into a kind of gnostic diaspora -- leaving only two contenders for hearts and souls.

But, oddly enough, the proto-Christians had much more in common with the humble, altruistic, after-life believing, socially aware, hard working Pharisee than with either of the two other groups.

So what was needed was cutting-edge propaganda and smart marketing.

Two main selling points became the brand-new, designer-built figure of the man-god Jesus and the free offer of membership to the uncircumcised.

Propaganda was seen to, of course, by the post-revolution gospel writers and their ilk, who never saw the need to even mention the Sadducee or the Essene by name. With those two contenders out of the picture, their job was to smear the Pharisee, which they did with ruthlessness.

Heck, they even blamed the 'Jews' (by now, of course, meaning the Pharisees alone) for the condemning to death and subsequent execution of their newly invented god man.

And all this whilst shamelessly brown-nosing the ruling Romans, who they even -- with the most contrived nonsense -- pardoned for the alleged crucifixion of their hero.

The Pharisees went on to found what became rabbinical orthodox Judaism. They also went on to two thousand years of terrible suffering at the hand of Christians -- and the Moslems who swallowed the Christian fairy story.

The Christians --essentially the twin brothers of the Jews (when one baby was still a mere proto-Christian and his brother known as Pharisee) -- took over the world, with not a little help from Rome.

This is just an idea for the pot, Seeker, and I have no idea at all if there's now evidence to support or destroy the notion of Judaism and Christianity as they became known actually starting life simultaneously as two of four branches of the same new religion (if not the only four, then certainly the most significant).

Sorry to have rambled on a bit. If anyone does have the time and interest to skim through this note, though, I'd much appreciate any views on the basic premise.

Off to bed now. Catch you all tomorrow. Best wishes. Neil





 
seeker
neilmarr wrote:

Jesus wept! I just spent an hour composing a message for you, Seeker, and the whole damned thing disappeared just as I tried to post and some uninvited website suddenly suyperimposed itself on AtheistsToday and wiped me out. I'll try my best to reconstruct it.

That's painful.

neilmarr wrote:
***They are pretty close cousins but not quite twins I don't think. The big difference is in the goals behind the two religions***

What I meant was more about simultaneous birth than family relationship, Seeker. So, of course, I do take your point.

However, how do we know the motivation was not inspired and new goals set by the same embryonic reigion at around the same time?

Its certainly possible Neil. For me the political aspects of the two religions are very different but those differences are purely speculation on my part. I think the Dead Sea Scrolls clearly show how a messianic cult could have developed from the Jewish cult so your proposition is not all that far fetched.

neilmarr wrote:
I think we might agree that it's not outside the bounds of possibility that all four branches of a new monotheistic religion, Essene, Sadducee, Pharisee and proto-Christian emerged in the second century BCE as different takes on a basic manifesto.

Each of the sects found within the proposal its own motivation to set its own agenda in a bid to achieve its own ends.

The Sadducees chose to come the puppets of the ruling elite -- in fact to join the ruling elite -- and handle all material matters, including administration of the temple. The Essenes withdrew to their desert communities.

For vastly different reasons, neither of these two groups was evangelical or expansionist.

Then came the crunch. The revolution (made possible by a relatively new but very popular feeling of Jewish nationhood and 'general' shared religious identity). The Sadducee class was wiped out with the temple in 70CE. The Essenes disappeared about then, too -- probably into a kind of gnostic diaspora -- leaving only two contenders for hearts and souls.

But, oddly enough, the proto-Christians had much more in common with the humble, altruistic, after-life believing, socially aware, hard working Pharisee than with either of the two other groups.

So what was needed was cutting-edge propaganda and smart marketing.

Two main selling points became the brand-new, designer-built figure of the man-god Jesus and the free offer of membership to the uncircumcised.

Propaganda was seen to, of course, by the post-revolution gospel writers and their ilk, who never saw the need to even mention the Sadducee or the Essene by name. With those two contenders out of the picture, their job was to smear the Pharisee, which they did with ruthlessness.

Heck, they even blamed the 'Jews' (by now, of course, meaning the Pharisees alone) for the condemning to death and subsequent execution of their newly invented god man.

And all this whilst shamelessly brown-nosing the ruling Romans, who they even -- with the most contrived nonsense -- pardoned for the alleged crucifixion of their hero.

The Pharisees went on to found what became rabbinical orthodox Judaism. They also went on to two thousand years of terrible suffering at the hand of Christians -- and the Moslems who swallowed the Christian fairy story.

The Christians --essentially the twin brothers of the Jews (when one baby was still a mere proto-Christian and his brother known as Pharisee) -- took over the world, with not a little help from Rome.

This is just an idea for the pot, Seeker, and I have no idea at all if there's now evidence to support or destroy the notion of Judaism and Christianity as they became known actually starting life simultaneously as two of four branches of the same new religion (if not the only four, then certainly the most significant).

Sorry to have rambled on a bit. If anyone does have the time and interest to skim through this note, though, I'd much appreciate any views on the basic premise.

Off to bed now. Catch you all tomorrow. Best wishes. Neil







Not at all implausible, rather than disagree let me offer just a few observations:

Let's begin with the Essenes. All we know about them comes from Josephus and Philo, both by way of the notorius Christian liar Eusebius. Josephus, a devout Jew who was ostensibly a Sadducee describes the Essenes as 'saintly'. Philo, a Gnostic Jew, describes the Essenes as 'athletes of virtue'. One has to wonder if Eusebius, who clearly stooped to inserting words in Josephus histories attesting to Jesus wouldn't have done something similar to create a perception of a sort of proto-Christianity. In other words we just don't know enough about theEssenes to speculate about them with any degreee of certainty.

We do know about the Sadducees though. We know that they were wealthy and influential. They would have had the money and the contacts to find comfortable ways to ride out the Destruction of Jerusalem and they would have had access to scribes etc to create their own histories and even set up their own heirarchy within the Roman Empire. The Sadducees would have had no love for their religious rivals, the Pharisees and those same Sadducees would have had the fairly recent experience of already having created a new religion.
 
neilmarr
Thanks, Seeker, for much to consider.

Wonder if you could comment on a few things:

*I would have thought the revolutionary Josephus (as he was before turning his coat) to have had Pharisee tutorship and leanings rather than Sadducee. The Sadduccees were not given to ostentatious objection, living in caves and planning mass suicides. They were too comfy for that.

*If we are to accept Paul as a historical, or even composite or entirely invented, influence, he would certainly have been Sadducee, though claiming to have been Pharisee -- the Pharisee bit would have been convenient invention. (OK, I know you didn't bring this up yet, but it's perhaps relevant when consering post-temple development of the Jewish/Christian movement/s.)

*Perhaps we can safely assume certain Essene philosophy that is not included in Josephus' brief description of the sect. After all, if they did not actually pen the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes must have thought them worthy of saving for posterity or at the very least sympathetically sanctioned their concealment within sight of their major Qumran settlement. And the scrolls, of course, could sensibly be read as a tirade against the competing Christian movement.

*The Sadducees, being so tied to the establishment and the temple, could not have possibly survived the upheavals of 70CE as an effective, coherent group. So we can write them off as main players in the later development of Christianty. Although individual, wealthy and connected Sadducees might well have escaped the wrath of Rome through some kind of ancient Odessa route, they would certainly have held no organisational power that might impact the development of a suddenly blossoming Christianity.

*Eusebius has been proven so unreliable as to be more of a curiosity than a witness.

I hope I'm not too far wrong (reading between the lines, Seeker) in thinking that you maybe reckon my wee theory -- unlettered as I am --merits some sympathetic consideration.

Quite honestly, I'd be just as happy to see it shot down in flames so that I could follow another, less controversial, line that has at least been the focus of some scholarly consideration. Seems I'm on my tod with this one so far.

Right now, I think Jesus and Moses might be about the same age ... and you're to blame for putting this daft idea in my head two years or so ago.

Hoots. Neil
 
seeker
neilmarr wrote:

Thanks, Seeker, for much to consider.

Wonder if you could comment on a few things:

*I would have thought the revolutionary Josephus (as he was before turning his coat) to have had Pharisee tutorship and leanings rather than Sadducee. The Sadduccees were not given to ostentatious objection, living in caves and planning mass suicides. They were too comfy for that.


What do we really even know about Josephus. [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus]Here[/url] is a funny story about him:

According to Josephus, however, in circumstances that are somewhat unclear, Jospehus found himself trapped in a cave with forty of his companions. The Romans asked him to surrender once they discovered where he was, but his companions refused to allow this. He therefore suggested a method of collective suicide: they draw lots and kill each other, one by one, counting to every third person. The sole survivor of this process was Josephus (this method as a mathematical problem is referred to as the Josephus problem, or Roman Roulette [5]) Josephus and one of his soldiers then surrendered to the Roman forces invading Galilee in July 67 and became prisoners. The Roman forces were led by Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both subsequently Roman emperors. In 69, Josephus was released (cf. War IV.622-629) and according to Josephus's own account, he appears to have played a role as a negotiator with the defenders during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70.

According to everything I've read Josephus claimed royal lineage and that his father was a priest named Matthias. If that is true then he may have been a military official rather than a revolutionary, presumably the Jewish state would have offered some resistance to being wiped out. Whatever we ascribe to Josephus he seems to have been able to sublimate his devotion to cause quite handily when it came to dealing with the Romans.


neilmarr wrote:
*If we are to accept Paul as a historical, or even composite or entirely invented, influence, he would certainly have been Sadducee, though claiming to have been Pharisee -- the Pharisee bit would have been convenient invention. (OK, I know you didn't bring this up yet, but it's perhaps relevant when consering post-temple development of the Jewish/Christian movement/s.)


I'm not sure Paul was historical. I tend to think that the early Church needed to have some explanation for the fact that no one seemed to have actually known the guy they were touting as a savior who had recently lived. Clearly by the time Paul was invented the public face of Judaism was Pharisee which suggests to me that the presentation of Paul as Pharisee was political.

neilmarr wrote:
*Perhaps we can safely assume certain Essene philosophy that is not included in Josephus' brief description of the sect. After all, if they did not actually pen the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes must have thought them worthy of saving for posterity or at the very least sympathetically sanctioned their concealment within sight of their major Qumran settlement. And the scrolls, of course, could sensibly be read as a tirade against the competing Christian movement.


Here is something interesting to contemplate. Qumran has been variously described as a fort, major settlement etc but none of these really seem like the kind of place a group of ascetics would hide at. One of the scholarly views is that Qumran was perhaps the property of a wealthy landholder. When one considers the Dead Sea Scrolls more controversial revelation of a 'son of Zadok' (Sadducee) as a messianic figure it almost makes sense that a wealthy Saducee might have preserved them rather than an Essene.

neilmarr wrote:
*The Sadducees, being so tied to the establishment and the temple, could not have possibly survived the upheavals of 70CE as an effective, coherent group. So we can write them off as main players in the later development of Christianty. Although individual, wealthy and connected Sadducees might well have escaped the wrath of Rome through some kind of ancient Odessa route, they would certainly have held no organisational power that might impact the development of a suddenly blossoming Christianity.

I agree though I would suggest that the Sadducees were only politicians, perfectly capable of shifting loyalties as needed. i don't think its far fetched to suggest that they would be likely to have been looking for ways to get some measure of the influence they had in Jerusalem before the fall.

neilmarr wrote:
*Eusebius has been proven so unreliable as to be more of a curiosity than a witness.


Agreed

neilmarr wrote:
I hope I'm not too far wrong (reading between the lines, Seeker) in thinking that you maybe reckon my wee theory -- unlettered as I am --merits some sympathetic consideration.

Quite honestly, I'd be just as happy to see it shot down in flames so that I could follow another, less controversial, line that has at least been the focus of some scholarly consideration. Seems I'm on my tod with this one so far.

Right now, I think Jesus and Moses might be about the same age ... and you're to blame for putting this daft idea in my head two years or so ago.

Hoots. Neil
There is really no definitive answer Neil. The fact is that your theory fits the evidence reasonably well, we just don't have that much reliable history here to pin everything down. Moses and Jesus probably are pretty close in age.
 
neilmarr
Thanks, Seeker. Sorry I've got to dash. I'll get back to you properly tomorrow. Would like to pick up on your thoughts of Paul. I think I mentioned over at JNE that I feel what we have in 'Paul' is what's called in publishing a 'house byline', an invented name to use at the top of commissioned stories on a theme. Back soon. Neil
 
neilmarr
It's interesting to speculate on what will be the result if/when it is proven beyond a doubt that Judaism is little older (if at all older) than 'Christinity'.

All three great monotheisms would then be found to have been founded on dust, sand and smoke; the original fairy tales and giant biblical characters no more than a literary device to personalise and popularly senationalise a political and social agenda through propaganda playing on the superstitious nature and childlike gullibility of the ancients, who -- I've read -- would generally have had the world view in aduthood of a modern-day eight-year-old.

Of course, the result would be zilch.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have shown time and again through history that truth has little to do with religion and that hard fact in no way trumps blind faith and establishment manipulation.

The arrogance, ignorance and cynical persuasive power of fear-driven religion is mind-boggling in its dishonesty.

I can't help wondering if, many years from now, students in history classes will discuss the 'Dark Ages' and include the 20th and early 21st Centuries in their debate.

For my part, I realise that I have a lot of reading ahead of me to in any way support or rule out my wee theory. At least now, Seeker -- thanks to you -- I can start with a specific line of study and branch out from there, rather than vice versa.

My thanks. If you and the chaps continue this debate, I'll try my best to contribute. But, as I say, I'm so far a man of little learning ... and we all know how dangerous a little learning can be.

Happy weekend. Neil
Edited by neilmarr on 09/20/2008 01:32
 
derF
Well argued by the attorney for for the prosecution. My hats off to him!
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
catman
neilmarr: I hardly think that you are a man of little learning! You are one of the brighter chaps that it has ever been my pleasure to know.

I think it quite likely that future students will think of the 20th and early 21st centuries as recrudescences of the Dark Ages. By and large, we are primitive peoples with technological expertise, a terrible combination. The Enlightenment didn't take hold in the West, unfortunately, and in much of the rest of the world, it never happened at all.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
neilmarr
What really got me cracking on this line, Derf, was mounting evidence (or lack of evidence) against the existence of an historical Jesus Christ.

It was some time before I realised that -- if you discount the alleged figurehead -- there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that Christianity dates back only to the first century CE.

My thoughts crystalised when I got hold of a copy of a translation of the amazing Nag Hammadi Library last year and started to read all the other gnostic and early 1st century writings I could lay hands on.

It became more and more evident that proto-Christianity as a Jewish school of thought could well date back to the second century BCE or even earlier.

Then, I picked up on an ongoing and most scholarly debate between Seeker and some other undeniable experts over at [url]www.jesusneverexisted.com[/url] (go to the Old Testament section if you're interested), putting forward later and later dates for the foundation, or at least, formal crystalisation of Judaism.

That's when it struck me that Christianity and all other forms of Judaism might well have appeaared simultaneously and developed in tandem. It's a fascinating concept, and everything I've read so far, if not exactly fully suppoting it, does nothing to shake the hypothesis.

And the twinning of Christianity with Judaism's contemporary schools -- Pharisee, Sadducee and Essene -- would explain so much: the content of the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance, the seemingly miraculous mushrooming of Christianity in the late first century, infighting between several (obviously well established) schools of Christian thought within that very period.

Islam, of course, can be discounted as a bogus and late corruption of Judaism/Christianity, but I see every reason to suspect that Christianity itself was one of four original founding Jewish sects.

Pharisees (in the form of Rabbinical Judaism) and proto-Christianity (in the various shape-shifting forms we see today) are both merely the survivors of a loosely hip-joined Jewish monotheistic movement originally composed of a least four theological groups.

Bestest. Neil
 
seeker
I don't know that I'd call their world view childish Neil. One of the things that really fascinates me about all of this is just how sophisticated all of this really is. We tend to forget that our ancestors were relatively uneducated but not any less intelligent. Christianity and Judaism represent the most developed technology of that pre-technological era, a system of mass psychological control that has held up for a couple of millenia.

What is really remarkable is that no matter how science has eroded the claims of religion it is such a strong program of psychological conditioning that people still can't break free of it.
 
neilmarr
Agreed, Seeker. Intelligence and education are two completely different things. That's why I used the term world-view because it was in many ways childishly neive. I wish I could remember where I read that article comparing the level of an adult 2,000 years ago with a child of eight today. It was a serious piece of work and put forward a convincing case as I remember. Ring a bell with you? Neil
 
seeker
I hadn't heard of it Neil but I'd like to see it. I can see that conclusion from a modern educational standpoint.
 
Jump to Forum: