Religions predating the bible

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She became Ishtar of the Akkadians (and later the Assyrians), Astarte of the Phoenicians, Sauska of the Hurrians-Hittites, and was associated with Aphrodite of the Greeks, Isis of the Egyptians, and Venus of the Romans. The temple served in multiple capacities: the clergy dispensed grain and surplus goods to the poor, counseled those in need, provided medical services, and sponsored the grand festivals which honored the gods.

The temples were the center of the city's life throughout Mesopotamian history from the Akkadian Empire (c. Although the gods took great care of humans while they lived, the Mesopotamian afterlife was a dreary underworld, located beneath the far mountains, where souls drank stale water from puddles and ate dust for eternity in the 'land of no return.' This bleak view of their eternal home was markedly different from that of the Egyptians.

In the case of Marduk, for example, his statue was carried out of his temple during the festival honoring him and through the city of Babylon so that he could appreciate its beauty while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Inanna was another powerful deity who was greatly revered as the goddess of love, sex, and war, and whose priests and priestesses cared for her statue and temple faithfully.

Religion, then and now, concerns itself with the spiritual aspect of the human condition, gods and goddesses (or a single personal god or goddess), the creation of the world, a human being's place in the world, life after death, eternity, and how to escape from suffering in this world or in the next; and every nation has created its own god in its own image and resemblance. 570-478 BCE) once wrote: Mortals suppose that the gods are born and have clothes and voices and shapes like their own.

But if oxen, horses and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and fashion works as men do, horses would paint horse-like images of gods and oxen oxen-like ones, and each would fashion bodies like their own.

In ancient times, religion was indistinguishable from what is known as 'mythology' in the present day and consisted of regular rituals based on a belief in higher supernatural entities who created and continued to maintain the world and surrounding cosmos.

Theses entities were anthropomorphic and behaved in ways which mirrored the values of the culture closely (as in Egypt) or sometimes engaged in acts antithetical to those values (as one sees with the gods of Greece).

When religion developed in Mesopotamia is unknown, but the first written records of religious practice date to c. Mesopotamian religious beliefs held that human beings were co-workers with the gods and labored with them and for them to hold back the forces of chaos which had been checked by the supreme deities at the beginning of time.

These gods intimately knew the needs of the people because they were not distant entities who lived in the heavens but dwelt in homes on earth built for them by their people; these homes were the temples which were raised in every Mesopotamian city.

Temple complexes, dominated by the towering ziggurat, were considered the literal homes of the gods and their statues were fed, bathed, and clothed daily as the priests and priestesses cared for them as one would a king or queen.

The many gods of the religions of the ancient world fulfilled this function as specialists in their respective areas.

In some cultures, a certain god or goddess would become so popular that he or she would transcend the cultural understanding of multiplicity and assume a position so powerful and all-encompassing as to almost transform a polytheistic culture to henotheistic.

As noted, every ancient culture practiced some form of religion, but where religion began cannot be pinpointed with any certainty.

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