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Origins of Religion

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By sfernandez
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Origins of Religion
• The First Civilizations
• Early Religious Patterns
• Religion was centered around capricious entities that needed to be appeased
– The Phoenicians:
• Baal Hammon (male storm god) and Tanit (female fertility figure)
• Tophets (walled cemetries) excavated reveal that often children were sacrificed
• Prehistoric Communities
• Paleolithic and Neolithic Settlements
• Life in Neolithic communities led to the development of art and religion. There was a belief in a higher power. Mother Earth (source of all new life) and Father Sky (all powerful). There is also evidence of burial of the dead.
• Neolithic Religion
• Led to reverence of ancestors
– Old persons often received elaborate burials
• Religious worship of early farming communities were centered around Mother Earth (source of life)and Sky God(all powerful male)
• Megaliths were erected to relate to religious beliefs
• Megaliths included burial chambers, calendar circles, or marking celestial occurrences
– Rising sun, solstices, equinoxes
• Neolithic goddess
• Life in New Towns and Villages
• Religious shrines could be found (2 per household)
– A goddess was the venerated central deity
• Metalworking became a predominant activity around 6400 BC
– Abundance of copper and lead in the area
– Gold and silver also appear
• Farmers had to produce a larger surplus to account of non-farmers (priests and artisans) living in the villages
• Mesopotamia
• Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria
• Gods, Priests, and Temples
• The Sumerian gods embodied forces of nature and were adopted by the Semitic people
– Polytheistic
– Gods were imagined as anthropomorphic
– Religious belief instilled fear of the gods...

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