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History of Religion

In: Religion Topics

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History of Religion
The history of religion refers to the written record of human religious experiences and ideas. The religious history began with the invention of writing about 5,000 years ago in the Near East. It was interesting to find out that prehistory of religion relates to a study of religious beliefs that existed prior to the advent of written records. It is interesting to note that the Religions were divided into stages of progression from simple to complex societies such as polytheistic to monotheistic. However, there are now claimed "that religion evolved from polytheism to monotheism has now been discredited" (p. 1763, Man, Myth & Magic, 1995)
Value of Religion Organized religion emerged as a means of providing social and economic stability to large populations through the following ways:
1.) Organized religion served to justify the central authority, which in turn possessed the right to collect taxes in return for providing social and security services to the state. Example the empires of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were theocracies’s.
2.) Organized religion emerged as means of maintaining peace between unrelated individuals (Armstrong, 1994).

Neolithic Religions
Humans used to live a nomadic and hunter gatherer lifestyle. We can say here that Neolithic period started when humans gave up their nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles in order to begin farming. As a result, States and Empires resulted in more specialized and developed forms of religion that were reflections of the new social and political environments. In addition, small tribes possessed supernatural beliefs. Smaller populations began with these beliefs (Armsstrong, 1994).
Axial Age
Historians pointed out the period from 900 BCE to 200 BCE as the axial age. This includes monotheism in Persia and Canaan, Platonism in Greece, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism in India and...

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