What Is Ancient Spirituality? (Solution found)

What is the ancient spirit?

  • Ancient spirit. An Ancient spirit is a type of Elemental spirit which can be found on the Wandering Isle. Players meet them in the pandaren starting zone, in order to help heal Shen-zin Su.

What is the oldest form of spirituality?

The Vedic Age began in India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation. The reign of Akhenaten, sometimes credited with starting the earliest known recorded monotheistic religion, in Ancient Egypt.

What is the true meaning of spirituality?

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality.

What is the ancient religion?

Hinduism (founded around the 15th – 5th century BCE) The first and foremost of these is a belief in the Vedas – four texts compiled between the 15th and 5th centuries BCE on the Indian subcontinent, and the faith’s oldest scriptures – which make Hinduism without doubt the oldest religion in existence.

What are the 3 elements of spirituality?

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

Who is the oldest known God?

In ancient Egyptian Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten and proclaimed to be the one “true” Supreme Being and creator of the universe.

What was the very first religion?

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years.

What are examples of spirituality?

Spirituality is the state of having a connection to God or the spirit world. An example of spirituality is praying every day.

How do I know my spirituality?

Let’s find out.

  1. #1. Psychics: For many people, finding their spiritual path is best done with the help of somebody who is in more of an enlightened position to be able to help them.
  2. #2. Meditation:
  3. #3. Seek Your Higher Self:
  4. #5. Find Your Passions:
  5. #6. Spend Time in Nature:
  6. #7. Be Prepared for Anything:

Who is a spiritual person?

Being a spiritual person is synonymous with being a person whose highest priority is to be loving to yourself and others. A spiritual person cares about people, animals and the planet. A spiritual person knows that we are all One, and consciously attempts to honor this Oneness.

When did humans start believing in God?

Prehistoric evidence of religion. The exact time when humans first became religious remains unknown, however research in evolutionary archaeology shows credible evidence of religious-cum-ritualistic behavior from around the Middle Paleolithic era ( 45-200 thousand years ago ).

How does religion differ from spirituality?

What’s the difference between religion and spirituality? Religion: This is a specific set of organised beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group. Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose.

How do you become spiritually awakened?

Practical Ways to Have a Spiritual Awakening

  1. Declutter! Start by making room!
  2. Examine your beliefs. Be conscious of and intentional about what you believe.
  3. Expand your mind. Explore new ideas and differing beliefs.
  4. Go outside. There is energy and spirit and magic in the outdoors.
  5. Take care of yourself.
  6. Learn to let go.

How do I find my spiritual center?

To truly find your spiritual center, start with a small self discovery exercise. Connect with yourself to discover a practice that grounds you. For some, it can be meditating with a simple prayer or a mantra. You may prefer a peaceful walk, while others may engage in more structured practice.

What is the origin of spirituality?

The word spirituality comes from the Latin “spiritus” which literally means “breath”, signifying Life. It then follows that if we have this amazing gift of Life, then we all have a way that it is being manifested in and through us. So, the simplest definition of spirituality is: ”Spirituality is one’s Way of Life”.

Why Many Are Returning to Ancient Spiritual Practices

It’s a changing world, and changes in mores, values, and technology necessitate our ability to be fluid and adaptable, which is not always simple to do. Being adaptive, on the other hand, is essential for our growth and survival. Keeping this in mind, Shondaland examines the various ways in which we as a society are evolving and changing on both a micro and large level. In life, we should always be able to call everything into question, especially those concepts and beliefs that we have been persuaded are objectively correct.

That is increasingly what some individuals are doing, and they are doing it through the prism of African spirituality.

Akissi Britton, assistant professor of Africana studies at Rutgers University and a Lucumi priestess for 37 years.

“As a result, they are exploring alternatives.” Prior to being forcefully transported to the Americas, West Africans were a diverse group of people who belonged to a variety of tribes and followed a variety of religious traditions.

  • They revered deities other than the gods of the slave owners, and they had a distinct perspective on the world that was diametrically opposed to that of the slave owners, who frequently pushed their own form of Christianity on them.
  • More and more individuals are expressing their dissatisfaction with the systems of established faiths, and many are turning to ancestral rituals to make sense of the world and reconnect with their roots in recent years.
  • Porsche In the Lucumi and Ifá traditions, there is little preparation for becoming a priestess.
  • Despite the fact that Little was not raised in these religious traditions, her mother groomed her from an early age to interact with spirituality and religious activities.
  • As a result, I grew up constantly conversing with the afterlife,” Little explains to Shondaland.
  • The doctor, on the other hand, has a lengthy relationship with Lucumi.
  • ‘I was initiated two years later,’ I remember.

Dr.

Dr.

Even though their parents were of Nigerian descent, Rach Junard, a yoga instructor from Boston who identifies as she/they, was not raised worshiping Ifá or other African traditional religions despite their parents’ Nigerian heritage.

Beyoncé performs during the 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Not to mention the fact that, as a result of Nigeria’s colonization, it was not something they were exposed to in a formal way as children,” explains Junard.

After realizing that it wasn’t simply folklore, I discovered that it was in fact extremely true, and that I could access a wealth of knowledge in books or on the internet,” she says.

Britton for those interested in learning more about African traditional religions is Black Gods — Orisa Studies in the New World, written by renowned scholar John Mason.

Knowing the fundamentals is also essential to figure out your own practice, which might differ from person to person and community to community.

The Black Spirit Theory serves as the foundation for their work, which includes their memoir Dear Senthuran, which was published recently.

There is currently no evidence to support the claim that there is a significant increase in the number of Black individuals who practice African spirituality.

The work of writers like as Emezi is undoubtedly igniting debates regarding features of Igbo ontology such as ogbanje, which is a soul trapped in a human body who is born to die.

Dr.

Junard claims that innovative reports like as Tatianna Tarot’s have been spreading awareness about this issue for years, but that interest has surged in the wake of the worldwide epidemic and the George Floyd riots in the summer of 2020, according to Junard.

In the face of this, more Black people are defining wellness for themselves and “wanting to connect more directly with their ancestors in a way that feels real,” according to Junard, a wellness expert.

“As I grew older, I became more interested in orisha worship.

The path that was set out for me was that of a priestess.

The program has prevented me from going down the wrong path far too many times.

I was late.

In all of my adult spiritual journey, I have never previously received advice like that from another person.

After learning about her paternal grandmother’s role as a priestess in Ifá and a midwife while attending midwifery school, Efe Osaren says she decided to pursue a career in the field of midwifery in her hometown of Brooklyn.

“During my solo journey to Edo in 2019, I met with family members who had never been Christian before.

I do, however, consider myself fortunate in that we are only one generation apart and that I have the opportunity to restore what colonization attempted to take away.” “I saw how simple it was for me to ‘grab’ the baby,” adds Osaren, who has not yet experienced the full power of spiritual midwifery.

  • “ Midwifery is not something I consider a calling; rather, it is something I’ve always known.
  • Is that the ghost of my grandmother?” Osaren is perplexed.
  • It is possible that pop culture has had a significant impact on this, but it would be a mistake to believe that this has diminished its importance.
  • Everything we were taught to be ‘demonic’ has been proven to be beneficial in helping us transform our lives for the better, according to Little’s research.
  • Nylah Burton is a writer located in Denver, Colorado.
  • Get the latest from Shondaland sent right to your inbox: TODAY IS THE DAY TO SUBSCRIBE This material was generated and maintained by a third party and imported onto this website in order to assist users in providing their email addresses for further consideration.

You may be able to discover further information on this and other related items at the website piano.io.

What Ancient Spiritual Traditions Can Teach Us About Modern-Day Thriving

Laina Richards contributed to this article. Thanks to Patrick Tomasso for using his photo on Unsplash. This is a spiritual week for people of all religious backgrounds. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are all days that mark the beginning of the Christian Holy Week, which culminates on Easter Sunday. Numerous Muslims over the globe will commemorate Hazrat Ali’s birth anniversary on Friday, while Jews will begin their celebration of Passover on Friday evening. For many, this implies that religious and spiritual activities are more prominent in their thoughts and conversations than they would otherwise be.

  • Observing the Sabbath with leisure, family, and no phones is a good way to start the week.
  • The word Shabbat, which is Hebrew meaning Sabbath, is derived from the word for rest, which is shabbat.
  • “It is a time for contemplation, spending time with family and friends, and doing anything other than working,” writes Thrive Global Founder and CEO Arianna Huffington in her bookThrive.
  • The rituals of mourning are practiced by many Christians as they commemorate Jesus Christ’s death.

Father Gary Benz of Bismarck, North Dakota, expressed his opinions on how to observe this custom with The Pilot, a Catholic news source: “It would be wonderful if houses could mute the radios, televisions, and gadgets, such as phones and iPads, to the best of their abilities.” Even a little exchange of words and conversation, only to reflect on the fact that Christ is in the tomb.” This mix of meditation, contemplation, and internet detox may be used for a variety of purposes beyond Easter rituals.

The Haggadah and the Issue of Social Justice In one of the many Passover customs, the Haggadah is a handbook that relates the tale of Passover and is often recited during the seder.

Several different versions of the Haggadah are available, according to My Jewish Learning, and “many newer Haggadot explore alternative meanings for common seder symbols or encourage seder participants to reflect on the larger themes of emancipation and redemption, as well as their own personal feelings of persecution and freedom.” Additionally, according to the website, subjects covered by these works include the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBT rights, world hunger, as well as labor rights and justice concerns.

  1. On Holy Thursday, it is important to serve others.
  2. A priest who was “kept hostage by the Maute terrorist gang for approximately four months” will be washed the feet of refugees and migrants in the Philippines by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.
  3. According to the Washington Post, this rite “is intended to demonstrate his commitment to assist others.” Any individual may benefit from an annual reminder of the importance of service and humility.
  4. In most faiths and spiritual disciplines, meditation and awareness are essential components of one’s spiritual practice.
  5. ” Quietude, introspection, stillness, and tranquility are not something that can be controlled.
  6. As an example, she cites the Christian tradition of Lectio Divina, often known as “divine reading,” which she describes as “a four-part activity that consists of reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation,” among other things.
  7. Easter eggs (with or without chocolate) are used to commemorate life and wonder.
  8. According to Ashistory.com, the egg is “an old emblem of new life” that has “been connected with pagan festivities celebrating spring” from ancient times.

(There’s also an egg on the traditional seder plate, which, according to TIME, “represents the coming of spring and the cycle of life.” If you think of the egg as a sign of new life, it could help you take a minute to enjoy anything that gives you a “feeling of youthful wonder,” as Huffington phrased it in Thrive.

You may enhance your well-being and connect with something greater than yourself whether or not you are participating in religious holidays this week. Take a time to be observant of your surroundings, meditate, assist others, or simply appreciate the wonders of life.

ancient Egyptian religion

Historically, Egyptian religion and indigenous beliefs have existed from the predynastic period (4th millennium BCE) and have continued until the demise of traditional culture in the first century BCE. See Egypt, history of for further information on the historical backdrop and specific dates.

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Nature and significance

Egyptian religious beliefs and practices were tightly intertwined with Egyptian society throughout the historical era in question (fromc.3000bce). In spite of the fact that there were almost certainly numerous survivors from prehistory, they may have been rather insignificant for understanding later eras since the transition that founded the Egyptian state produced a new framework for religion. Quiz on the Encyclopedia Britannica The Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Egyptians Ancient Egypt had a colossal pantheon of gods and goddesses to choose from.

  • Religious occurrences were prevalent, to the point that it is no longer useful to think of religion as a singular thing that functioned as a system of cohesion.
  • Throughout its more than 3,000-year history of growth, Egyptian religion has seen substantial shifts in emphasis and practice, yet religion has always maintained a distinct consistency in character and style throughout.
  • Religious behavior included communication with the dead, techniques like as divination and oracles, and magic, which was primarily based on divine instruments and associations.
  • Both of these characteristics are among the most distinguishing characteristics of Egyptian civilisation.
  • Animal forms and hybrid forms, such as an animal head on a human body, are among the many different types of Egyptian gods that have been depicted over the centuries.
  • Osiris, together with his spouse, Isis, rose to prominence in a variety of situations throughout the first millennium, a period in which sun worship was in relative decline.
  • It was necessary to keep disorder at bay.
  • This ultimately gloomy vision of the universe was related with the sun deity and the solar cycle, to name a few of factors.
  • Although the official depiction of the universe on the monuments was pessimistic, the official presentation of the universe on the monuments was positive and hopeful, depicting the king and the gods in continuous reciprocity and harmony.
  • Additionally, the constrained nature of the monuments was essential to a system ofdecorum that dictated what could be displayed, how it could be displayed, and in what context it could be displayed.
  • Several monuments and papers made by and for the king and the tiny elite have preserved these ideas across time.

The beliefs and behaviors of the rest of the population are mostly unknown to outsiders. While there is no reason to suppose that there was a dramatic divide between the opinions of the elite and those of the general public, this notion cannot be ruled out entirely either.

Spirituality in the Ancient World

Ancient Egyptian religious ideas and rituals were tightly intertwined with Egyptian culture during this time period (fromc.3000bce). Because the shift that produced the Egyptian state created a new framework for religion, even though there were undoubtedly numerous survivors from prehistory, they may be rather insignificant for understanding later eras. Test your knowledge of the Britannica. Gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. Gods and goddesses abound in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. I’m curious how many of these you’re familiar with.

  • To be sure, religion must be seen in the context of other human activities and ideals that are not necessarily religious.
  • When we characterize religion as consisting solely of the worship of gods and the practice of human piety, we are misrepresenting it.
  • Public religion revolved on two central figures: the ruler and the gods.
  • During his lifetime, the king enjoyed a unique position between mankind and the gods, participated in the realm of the gods, and built vast burial structures for his afterlife that were religiously inspired.

Two of the most important deities were thesun god, who was known by many different names and aspects and was associated with many supernatural beings as part of a solar cycle modeled on the alternation of night and day, andOsiris, god of the dead and ruler of the underworld, who were the most revered.

  1. The Egyptians saw the cosmos as consisting of the gods and the current world—whose center, of course, was Egypt—and as being surrounded by the realm of disorder, from which order had come and to which it would eventually restore.
  2. To preserve order in the face of turmoil, the monarch, as the protagonist of human civilization, was tasked with retaining the kindness of the gods.
  3. To maintain order, it served as a potent source of legitimation for the monarch and his courtiers.
  4. The apparent contrast emphasized the precarious nature of the existing arrangement.
  5. Each other’s support for decorum and the assertion of order was mutually beneficial.

Most people have little knowledge of the beliefs and behaviors of the majority of the population. While there is no reason to suppose that there was a dramatic divide between the opinions of the elite and those of the general public, this possibility cannot be ruled out entirely.

The Magi’s Connection to the Stars

These knowledgeable men were well-versed in both astronomy and astrology, and they held both in great respect. As a reminder, in case you’re wondering, these are the same highly educated and spiritually enlightened individuals who were instrumental in helping to write down the narrative of the Three Wise Men in the Bible.

Spiritual Testaments

For the average person in Egypt, physical life was intertwined with the spiritual realm, and both were important. Each would be unable to exist without the other. The ancient Egyptians revered the concept of an afterlife and treated it as a holy belief. The Sphinx and the Pyramids stand as a tribute to their spirituality and religious beliefs. During the time of the Master Teacher Jesus, faithful Jews in Judea (now modern-day Israel) would have observed their religion with profound mysticism, as would have been expected.

The Zohar and the Zepher Yezirah are two of the most significant of these works of Jewish literature.

Making Spirit a Way of Life

In ancient China, the spiritual component of life was considered important and was infused into everyday life to a significant extent. Even now, remnants of the ancient ways may still be seen in the area. For our forefathers, the spiritual aspect of existence included an awareness of the psychic realm. It was possible to have visions, precognition, intuition, and be influenced by otherworldly beings. These civilizations had reverence for oracles, seers, and shamans, among other things. There is a lack of spirituality among many individuals living in our contemporary day environment, which is plagued by demands and technological materialism.

Our modern culture should strive for spiritual enlightenment and mental awakening as its ultimate objective.

Reader Interactions

When it came to spirituality in ancient China, it was revered and seamlessly integrated into daily life. The traditional methods are still evident in some aspects of the city even now. When it came to our forebears, the spiritual aspect of existence included an understanding of the psyche. It was possible to have visions, precognition, intuition, and be influenced by extraterrestrials. These civilizations had reverence for oracles, seers, and shamans. There is a lack of spirituality among many individuals living in our contemporary day environment, which is marked by demands and technological materialism.

It should be the objective of our modern civilization to achieve spiritual enlightenment and mental awakening. In our frenetic lives, we should allow the ancient methods, the ancient wisdom, to become a part of us.

Breath Prayer: An Ancient Spiritual Practice Connected with Science – Articles

On the route to a huge tennis competition, I confessed to my high school coach that I was feeling apprehensive about the event. He informed me about the importance of breathing. For extended games, he advised, “breathe more shallowly, through your mouth,” as if you were attempting to conserve energy and power. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or worried, take several deep, quiet breaths through your nose, particularly between points, to calm yourself. “Try it out right now and see how it turns out.” It was more my serve than his counsel that resulted in me going on to play Division 3 tennis and eventually becoming a minister, I’ll be honest about that.

But what is the relationship between prayer and BioLogos, and why is it important to write about it there?

My work as a spiritual director has witnessed the practice alter responses to both everyday misery and profound trauma, as well as the practice deepening one’s commitment to the Almighty.

Science and Spirituality Interact

Breath Prayer is something I teach to my clients, and a few of them believe it sounds “touchy feely” and subjective. Others recognize the advantages, but fail to understand the relationship between them and their religious beliefs. As a result, I find it beneficial to look at some of the research that has been linked to this old practice. The fact that the science-spirituality junction has been identified provides both permission and motivation for anyone who wish to engage in Breath Prayer amid unpleasant conditions.

When a traumatic event occurs, such as the terrible death of a child or physical assault against a loved one, the well-trodden routes of faith can be obliterated completely.

Even worse, shame has a tendency to amplify the effects of trauma.

Communicating some of the science behind trauma might help people feel more empathy for themselves and heal more quickly. Making a connection between science and Breath Prayer, in my opinion, is a way of extending pastoral compassion in difficult and vulnerable situations.

The Practice of Breath Prayer

Breath Prayer is something I teach to my clients, and a few of them believe it sounds “touchy-feely” and subject to personal interpretation. Others see the advantages, but fail to understand the relationship between them and their religious belief. It is therefore beneficial to me to learn more about some of the science that is associated with this old practice. The fact that the science-spirituality junction has been identified provides both permission and motivation for anyone who wish to engage in Breath Prayer under stressful situations.

Traumatic events such as a terrible death of a child or physical assault against a loved one have the potential to obliterate previously well-trodden religious routes.

Worse worse, guilt frequently magnifies the effects of traumatic events.

Communication of trauma science can help people feel more empathy for themselves and heal.

The Science of Breath Prayer

When we are confronted with a sudden disruption, the majority of us have noticed that our breathing changes. Sometimes we are able to totally recover in a short period of time, a few seconds at the most. Consider the following scenario: you drop your keys at a crosswalk when you have your hands full and a car is ready to turn. There may be no issue, but there may be a slight inconvenience. If the motorist bangs the horn, someone makes a provocative statement when you bend down, or your coffee spills all over your important business documents, recovery may be a little more difficult.

  • The pupils dilate as the brain attempts to comprehend the situation.
  • Pain tolerance grows, and digestive and immunological responses slow down as a result of the body’s need to defend itself at the expense of health.
  • All of these reactions are triggered in a split second by the autonomic nervous system.
  • We just get a feeling that there is an issue that is considerably more serious than a blasting horn, a stinging statement, and a wrecked day’s work.
  • The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) are two branches of the human autonomic nervous system (ANS), which includes up to three neural circuits: engaged, fight/flight, and freeze.
  • In the field of neuroscience, the anatomy and physiology of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are largely acknowledged.
  • 1During the course of a typical day, these systems interact fluidly in order to adapt to a person’s needs: boosting and lowering hormone levels in order to increase alertness, the immune system, digestion, sleep, and other functions, among other things.

However, when the system is continuously overloaded, the harmony fades, resulting in an altered feedback system that causes anguish or trauma to the person experiencing it.

2When a person has already experienced trauma, humiliation, or abuse, the system becomes more susceptible.

Rangan Chatterjee, the body has evolved to deal with stress in brief bursts, and we are not naturally adapted to deal with it for lengthy periods of time.

Is it anything that is truly valuable?

Several studies have found that breathing practices are effective in “correcting imbalances in the stress response systems and facilitating emotion control, social interaction, bonding, and healing from traumatic experiences.

5Intentional breathing disrupts the feedback loop that is perpetuating the trauma, allowing the nervous system to recover to balance and equilibrium.

Breath Prayer in Daily Life

When we are confronted with a sudden disruption, most of us have noticed that our breathing changes. Sometimes we are able to totally recover in a short period of time, perhaps only a few seconds. Allow me to make an example: you drop your keys at a crosswalk while holding something else in your hands and a car is waiting to turn right. A slight nuisance, but not a major issue in the long run, If the vehicle honks his horn, someone makes a provocative remark as you bend down, or your coffee spills all over your important business documents, recovery may take a little longer than anticipated.

  • To properly process the scene, one’s pupils dilate somewhat.
  • A person’s pain tolerance improves over time, but their digestive and immune responses slow down as they prioritize protecting themselves above their own well-being.
  • Everything is triggered by the autonomic nerve system in a split second.
  • A blasting siren, a hurtful statement, and a wrecked day’s work aren’t enough to alert us to the fact that an emergency has erupted.
  • In the course of evolution, the human autonomic nervous system (ANS) developed two branches: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).
  • There is widespread agreement in neuroscience research about the architecture and physiology of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system.
  • 1During the course of a typical day, these systems interact fluidly in order to adapt to a person’s needs: boosting and lowering hormone levels in order to stimulate alertness, the immune system, digestion, sleep, and other functions, among other functions.
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However, when the system is continually overloaded, the harmony fades, resulting in an altered feedback loop that causes anguish or trauma to the person who experiences it.

Experiencing trauma, shame, or violence in the past makes the system more susceptible to future harm.

Rangan Chatterjee points out, the human body has evolved to deal with stress in brief bursts, and we are not physically prepared to deal with it for long periods of time at any time.

Is it anything that is truly worth something?

Several studies have found that breathing practices are effective in “correcting imbalances in the stress response systems and facilitating emotion control, social interaction, bonding, and healing from traumatic events.

(5) Intentional breathing breaks up the negative feedback loop that is perpetuating the trauma, allowing the nervous system to regain its natural balance.

Disbelieve it or not, ancient history suggests that atheism is as natural to humans as religion

According to a recent research, atheists flourished in the polytheistic communities of the ancient world, despite the fact that they were mostly erased from history. This raises serious questions about whether people are truly “wired” for religion. The assertion is the core argument of a new book by Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John’s College. It is in this book that he argues that atheism – which is often considered to be a new phenomena – was not only popular in ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome, but that it flourished more in those cultures than it has in most civilisations since then.

The book, titledBattling the Gods, will be officially published in Cambridge on Tuesday, April 16.

In Whitmarsh’s opinion, “we tend to regard atheism as an ideology that has just lately developed in secular Western nations.” “The hyper-modernism with which it is described is evident.

Religion, they argued, demands you to accept things that aren’t intuitively present in your reality.” It is important to note that this was happening thousands of years ago, which implies that types of doubt may exist in all civilizations and have probably done so throughout history.” According to the author’s argument, incredulity is “as ancient as the mountains.” Atheistic texts like Xenophanes of Colophon (c.570-475 BCE), for example, are contemporaneous with Second Temple-era Judaism, and they precede Christianity and Islam by a substantial amount.

  • When writing in the 4th Century BCE, Plato acknowledged that nonbelievers were “not the first to have held this opinion about the gods,” implying that they were not alone in their beliefs.
  • Religion is sometimes depicted as something from a more basic period of human history by atheists; yet, the idea of religious universalism is based in part on the belief that early cultures were religious by nature, since believing in God is an innate, “default setting” for people.
  • These were made possible in part by the basic variety of polytheistic Greek communities, which was particularly prevalent at the time.
  • It was religion that conveyed this variety, whether it was through private cults, hamlet rites, or city celebrations that were dedicated to a plethora of supernatural creatures.
  • The epics of Homer, which presented no unified moral image of the gods and, in fact, frequently depicted them as immoral, were the closest the Greeks came to having a unifying holy book of their own.
  • “The notion of a priest telling you what to do was alien to the Greek world.” It was as a result of this that, while some people considered atheism to be incorrect, it was rarely seen to be morally wrong.
  • When it was actively prohibited, as at Athens during the 5th Century BCE, when Socrates was beheaded for “not recognizing the gods of the city,” it was only on rare occasions that it was openly prohibited.

Ancient atheists battled with principles that many people today still find difficult to comprehend, such as how to cope with the problem of evil and how to explain features of religion that appear improbable to rational thought.

Famous poets such as Euripides have also expressed their dissatisfaction with divine causation in their writings.

Atheism reached its end, according to Whitmarsh, since the polytheistic civilizations that had previously permitted it were replaced by monotheistic imperial powers that insisted on the adoption of a single, “real” God.

In the latter Roman Empire, the majority of its intellectual energy was focused in combating apparently heretical doctrines — which were frequently different strains of Christianity.

Such decisions left no space for doubt or skepticism.

“I do, however, have a strong belief – which has sharpened throughout the course of researching and writing this book – that cultural and religious plurality, as well as open discussion, are fundamental to the good life,” he writes on the first page of the book.

Faber & Faber’s Battling the Gods is a novel set in the British Isles. Tim Whitmarsh is the A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge, as well as a Fellow of St John’s College.

Ancient Egyptian Religion

  • According to a new research, atheists flourished in the polytheistic communities of the ancient world, despite the fact that they were mostly wiped out of history. This raises serious questions about whether people are truly “wired” for religion. Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John’s College, makes this assertion in the introduction to a new book. In it, he argues that atheism – which is often seen as a contemporary phenomena – was not only prevalent in ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome, but also flourished there to a greater extent than it has in most civilisations since that period. A consequence of this research is that it contradicts two assumptions that are now being debated between atheism and religion: It is important to distinguish between two ideas: first, the assumption that atheism is a contemporary point of view, and second, the idea of “religious universalism,” which holds that people are inherently predisposed, or “wired,” to believe in gods. In Cambridge on Tuesday, the book, titledBattling the Gods, will be officially published (February 16). In Whitmarsh’s opinion, “we tend to regard atheism as a concept that has just lately developed in secular Western nations.” Hyper-modernism is reflected in the language chosen to describe it. ” As a matter of fact, early cultures were significantly more capable than many communities since then in keeping atheism within the boundaries of what they believed to be normal.” The paradoxical nature of religion, these early atheists said, rather than forming judgments based on scientific evidence, was the source of their universal objections. Religion, they argued, requires you to accept things that aren’t intuitively present in your reality.” The fact that this was taking place thousands of years ago demonstrates that types of doubt may exist in all civilizations, and most likely have done so throughout history. However, according to the author’s argument, incredulity is “as ancient as the hills.” Atheistic texts like Xenophanes of Colophon (c.570-475 BCE), for example, are contemporaneous with Second Temple-era Judaism, and they predate Christianity and Islam by a substantial amount of time. When writing in the 4th Century BCE, Plato acknowledged that nonbelievers were “not the first to have held this perspective about the gods,” indicating that they were not the first to have this viewpoint. Whitmarsh, on the other hand, contends that because atheism’s ancient past has mostly gone unrecorded, it is also missing from both sides of the present monotheist/atheist argument. However, although atheists portray religion as something that originated in a more basic period of human history, the idea of religious universalism is based in part on the belief that early cultures were religious by nature, since believing in God is an innate, “default setting” for humanity. According to Whitmarsh, neither position is correct: “Believers talk about atheism as if it’s a sickness of a particularly peculiar era of current Western civilization that will pass, but if you ask someone to think hard, it’s evident that people felt this way in antiquity as well. The evidence for his claim is provided by an examination of one thousand years of ancient history, which reveals the many kinds of unbelief articulated by intellectual groups, authors, and public personalities throughout history. In particular, the basic diversity of polytheistic Greek cultures made it possible for these to be achieved in such a way. Between 650 and 323 BCE, Greece was home to an estimated 1,200 different city states, each with its own set of customs, traditions, and modes of governing, according to historians. It was religion that conveyed this variety, whether it was through private cults, hamlet rites, or city festivals that were dedicated to a wide range of supernatural creatures. Thus, there was no such thing as religious orthodoxy in the first place. The epics of Homer, which presented no unified moral image of the gods and, in fact, frequently depicted them as immoral, were the closest the Greeks came to an uniting religious narrative. According to Whitmarsh, there was no specialized clergy advising people how to live: “The concept of a priest telling you what you should do was foreign to the Greek culture.” While some individuals considered atheism to be erroneous, it was seldom seen as morally wrong as a result of this phenomenon. Rather than being condemned, it was generally accepted as one of a wide range of possible approaches to the gods that individuals may take. Occasionally, such as at Athens during the 5th Century BCE, when Socrates was killed for “not acknowledging the gods of the city,” it was explicitly prohibited by legislation. While atheism manifested itself in a variety of forms and manifestations, Whitmarsh contends that there were significant continuities between generations. Many individuals today still struggle with fundamental questions that ancient atheists grappled with, including how to cope with the issue of evil and how to explain features of religion that appear improbable. Throughout history, scholars such as Anaximander and Anaximenes have attempted to explain why natural occurrences such as thunder and earthquakes are not caused by the gods. Famous authors such as Euripides have also expressed their dissatisfaction with divine causation in their works. The Epicureans, perhaps the most prominent group of atheists in ancient history, maintained that there was no such thing as predestination and that the gods had no power over human existence. Atheism reached its end, according to Whitmarsh, since the polytheistic civilizations that had previously permitted it were replaced by monotheistic imperial powers that insisted on the acknowledgment of a single, “real” god. “Seismic,” he describes Rome’s acceptance of Christianity in the 4th Century CE, since it exploited religious absolutism to maintain the Empire’s cohesiveness. Fighting apparently heretical doctrines – generally different kinds of Christianity – took up the majority of the latter Roman Empire’s intellectual energies. Even in 380, Emperor Theodosius I made a separation between Catholics and everyone else, whom he labeled as demented vesanosque (literally, “demented lunatics” in Latin. There was no place for skepticism in such decisions. At the outset, Whitmarsh emphasizes that his research is not intended to establish or refute the reality of atheism as a philosophical position in and of itself. “I do, however, have a strong belief – which has strengthened over the process of researching and writing this book – that cultural and religious plurality, as well as open discussion, are fundamental to the good life,” he writes on the first page of the book. Faber and Faber published the novel Battling the Gods. Mr. Tim Whitmarsh is the A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge as well as a Fellow of St John’s College.

Key Points

  • Ancient Egypt’s religion, which lasted more than 3,000 years and was polytheistic, meaning that there were a plethora of deities who were thought to exist inside and govern the forces of nature, lasted more than 3,000 years and was polytheistic. It was the pharaoh, or ruler, of Egypt who was considered to be divine and who served as a mediator between the people and the gods, according to formal religious practice. His function was to provide sustenance to the gods in order for them to preserve order in the cosmos
  • The Egyptian universe was focused on Ma’at, which may be translated as truth, justice, and order in English. It was unchangeable and inexhaustible
  • Without it, the world would come crashing down. The tale of Osiris and Isis was the most prominent of these. The celestial ruler Osiris was slain by Set (the god of chaos), then revived by his sister and wife Isis, who used the resulting child to create Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis. Egypt was extremely worried about what happened to their souls after death, and Osiris finally avenged his father and rose to the throne
  • Horus eventually avenged his father and rose to the throne. They thought that when a person died, the ka (life-force) departed the body and needed to be replenished. The spirit of Ba, or personal spirituality, remained in the physical body. The idea was to bring ka and ba together to form akh. Because their actual nature was regarded unknown, artistic images of gods were not literal representations of their genuine nature. Temples were the state’s method of sustaining the gods, because their physical images were housed and cared for
  • Temples were not a place for the average person to worship
  • Certain animals were worshipped and mummified as representatives of gods
  • Oracles were used by people of all social classes

Terms

The cosmos of the Egyptians.

heka

The capacity to manipulate natural forces in order to do “magic.”

pantheon

The central figures in a religious movement.

polytheistic

A religion in which more than one deity is worshipped.

ka

The spiritual component of a person’s or god’s personality that has endured after their physical death.

Duat

Osiris’s home is in the land of the dead, which he rules.

ba

Aeons of time have passed since the dead were resurrected.

akh

In the afterlife, the combination of the ka and the ba can be found. Ancient Egypt’s religion, which lasted for more than 3,000 years and was polytheistic, meaning that there were a plethora of deities who were thought to exist inside and influence the forces of nature, lasted for more than 3,000 years. In order to provide for their gods and obtain their favor, Egyptians practiced religious rituals that were firmly ingrained in their lives. Due to the fact that certain deities lived in many incarnations and played multiple mythical roles, it was clear that the religion was complicated.

  1. It was the pharaoh, or ruler, of Egypt who was considered to be divine and who served as a mediator between the people and the gods, according to formal religious practice.
  2. The king was identified with Horus (and subsequently Amun), and he was regarded as Ra’s son, according to Egyptian tradition.
  3. The gods may be contacted directly by individuals for personal reasons, either via prayer or by requests for magic; as the pharaoh’s influence waned, this personal type of practice grew in importance.
  4. In addition, the people summoned “magic” (known as heka) in order to bring about events via the use of natural forces.
  5. The gods Osiris, Anubis, and Horus are shown in this wall painting, in order from left to right.
  6. It was permanent and everlasting (without it, the world would come crashing down), yet there were ongoing risks of chaos, necessitating the efforts of society to keep it in place.
  7. Humans should work together to achieve this, and gods should act in a balanced manner.
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This included the daily voyage of Ra, the sun deity, which was the most significant of all.

In addition to the earth’s underworld and undersky, Nu, the chaos that existed before to creation, existed beyond the heavens and beyond the underworld.

Ra passed through Duat after walking across the earth each day.

According to this piece of artwork, the air deity Shu is supported by the other gods in holding up Nut, the sky, while Geb (the ground) is underneath him.

As described in the creation myth, the world began to emerge as a dry region inside the primordial ocean of chaos, which was marked by the first appearance of Ra.

The tale of Osiris and Isis was the most prominent of these.

After that, Osiris was elevated to the position of ruler of the dead, while Horus finally avenged his father and ascended to the throne.

Egyptians were deeply worried about what would happen to their souls after death, and they built tombs, made grave goods, and made offerings in order to protect the bodies and spirits of the deceased when they died.

In order to survive beyond death, the ka must continue to accept food offerings; else, it will swallow the spiritual energy of the food.

Funeral ceremonies were intended to free the ba, allowing it to travel, reconnect with the ka, and continue to exist as an akh after death.

Various ceremonies, like as the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, were performed as part of the mummification process, which included complex embalming techniques and linen wrapping.

The common person, on the other hand, was not affected by this at first: they were transported to a dark, gloomy environment that was the polar antithesis of life.

Eventually, by around 2181 BCE, Egyptians came to think that every individual has a ba and could therefore gain entry to the hereafter.

If this was the case, the ka and ba were joined together to form an akh, which then either proceeded to the lush underworld or journeyed with Ra on his daily voyage, or even returned to the realm of the living to perform magical acts.

The Weighing of the Heart is shown in this portion of the Book of the Dead, which was written for the scribe Hunefer.

In addition to the sun deity Ra, there was the creation god Amun as well as the mother goddess Isis.

Egyptian deities, like the forces of nature, had complicated interrelationships, just as the forces of nature did.

Deities may also be connected together through syncretism, resulting in the creation of a composite god.

However, symbolic imagery was utilized to convey the essence of the situation.

It was the state’s means of maintaining the gods, since their bodily representations were stored and looked after; temples were not a location for the general public to pray or pay homage to them.

They began as basic constructions, but as time went on, they became more ornate, and they were progressively constructed of stone according to a similar design.

It became customary in the New Kingdom for priests to be employed as professionals, and their riches rivaled that of the pharaoh.

The Opet Festival at Karnak consisted of a procession that carried the god’s picture across the city to many other important places.

The Apis bull (of the deity Ptah), as well as mummified cats and other animals, are examples of this type of artifact.

Commoners and pharaohs alike sought answers from oracles, and the responses were even utilized to settle legal issues throughout the New Kingdom. This could be asking a question while a heavenly picture is being conveyed, analyzing movement, or drawing lots to determine the answer to the query.

Sources

The big snowfall of 1978 is one of Jacob Olupona’s first recollections of the state of Massachusetts, when he was a graduate student at Boston University and nearly died in his apartment due to the cold. “I had it in me. It was then that I informed my father that I would be returning home,” he stated. But, after enduring the first snowstorm in a nation far apart from his own country of Nigeria, Olupona persevered and eventually received his Ph.D. Afterwards, he went on to perform some of the most important study on African religions that has been done in decades.

Having received his bachelor of arts degree in religious studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Olupona began his professional career in the field in 1975.

(1981) and a Ph.D.

Olupona has written or edited more than half a dozen books on religion and African culture (including the recent “African Religions: A Very Short Introduction,” published by Oxford University Press), and her research has covered a wide range of topics, from the indigenous religions of Africa to the religious practices of Africans who have settled in America.

  1. Olupona is the recipient of numerous prestigious academic honors and research fellowships, including the Reimar Lust Award for International and Cultural Exchange, which is considered one of Germany’s most prestigious academic honors.
  2. Olupona will be able to study and conduct research in Germany for a year as a result of the scholarship; he will be on leave for this academic year (2015–16).
  3. How would you characterize indigenous African religions?
  4. OLUPONA: Indigenous African religions refer to the religious beliefs held by the African people prior to the arrival of Christian and Islamic missionaries and the colonization of the continent.
  5. For example, the Yoruba religion has traditionally been based in southwestern Nigeria, the Zulu religion has historically been centered in southern Africa, and the Igbo religion has historically been centered in southwestern Nigeria.
  6. Religion, on the other hand, is inextricably linked to all of these for many Africans.
  7. No, traditional African spirituality does not constitute a sort of theocracy or religious tyranny in any way, shape, or form.

African spirituality is a holistic approach to life.

This imbalance in one’s social life can be related to a breakdown in one’s kinship and familial relationships, as well as to one’s relationship with one’s ancestors.

OLUPONA: The significance of ancestors in African cosmology has always been prominent, particularly in the context of the ancestors.

The custodian of these shrines may also suffer misfortune in the form of disease if these shrines are not properly maintained by their designated descendent.

GAZETTE: Are ancestors regarded deities in traditional African cosmology?

OLUPONA: Your inquiry brings to light an essential aspect of African spirituality: the concept of karma.

As opposed to certain varieties of Christianity or Islam, it does not adhere to a defined creed.

Some Africans think that their ancestors have power equivalent to that of deities, but others feel that they do not have such authority.

GAZETTE:Does it make a difference if we refer to African spirituality as polytheistic or monotheistic while attempting to comprehend it?

OLUPONA: Once again, it fails to take into account the wide variety of ways in which traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings in the past.

A supreme being known asOlorunorOlodumare exists in the Yoruba tradition, and this creator god of the universe is empowered by the variousorisa to create the earth and perform all of its related functions, including receiving the prayers and supplications of the Yoruba people, according to the Yoruba tradition.

  • OLUPONA: It’s a mixed bag, to say the least.
  • Consequently, the number of adherents to indigenous beliefs has decreased as Islam and Christianity have both proliferated and acquired influence over the African continent.
  • Christianity is more prevalent in the southern hemisphere, whilst Islam is more prevalent in the northern hemisphere.
  • Nonetheless, the number of Christians in Africa has increased from roughly 7 million in 1900 to more than 450 million now.
  • Consider, however, that in 1900, the vast majority of Africans in sub-Saharan Africa were adherents of traditional African faiths.
  • Also worth mentioning is that, although not claiming to be complete members of indigenous traditions, there are many proclaimed Christians and Muslims who participate in one or more forms of indigenous religious ceremonies and activities, regardless of their religious affiliation.
  • The incredible triumph of Christianity and Islam on the African continent over the last 100 years has been remarkable, but it has come at the price of African traditional faiths, which is terrible.

“I had it in me.

Olupona, on the other hand, chose to stay and complete his Ph.D.

OLUPONA: Yes, it’s a mixed bag since indigenous African faiths have expanded and taken root all over the world, including in the United States and Europe, as a result of the African diaspora, which began with the slave trade in the 15th century and has continued to the present.

There is also a town named Oyotunji Village, which is located deep within the American Bible Belt in Beaufort County, South Carolina, and which practices a sort of African indigenous religion that is a combination of Yoruba and Ewe-Fon spiritual rituals.

When it comes to seeking spiritual assistance or succor, followers of African diaspora faiths have a wide range of options.

In addition, I should mention that there are hints of a resurgence of African traditional customs in various regions of the continent.

Ritual sacrifices and witchcraft beliefs are still prevalent in many cultures.

Some African diasporans are returning to the continent in order to reconnect with their ancestral customs, and they are encouraging and mobilizing the local African communities in order to recover this history for the African continent.

OLUPONA: Yes, and one of the reasons for the success of African-tradition religion in the diaspora is due to the pluralistic nature of the religion.

While Islam and Christianity have shown a strong reluctance to accept traditional African religious ideas or practices, indigenous African religions have always made room for those who hold different religious beliefs or practices.

This suggests that the traditional African practitioner who created the amulet believes in the efficacy of other faiths and religions; there is no conflict in his mind between his traditional African spirituality and another faith, according to this interpretation.

He sees the “other faith” as a spiritual complement to his own spiritual practice of creating powerful amulets, and even as a means of increasing spiritual potency.

It all comes down to achieving tangible results.

OLUPONA: One of the primary reasons for this is that indigenous African spiritual beliefs are not bound by a written text, as are the beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, among other religions and cultures.

The essence of indigenous African religions is not the practice of adhering to or maintaining a uniform doctrine.

Example: If indigenous African religions were to disappear in Africa, diviners would also vanish, and if diviners disappeared, we would not only lose an important spiritual specialist for many Africans, but we would also lose an institution that has served as a repository of African history, wisdom, and knowledge for centuries.

Each and every day, the Yoruba diviners, for example, consult Ifa, an extensive literary corpus of information spanning science, medicine, cosmology, and metaphysics that they draw on to supplement their own extensive indigenous knowledge.

The loss of Africa’s diviners would mean the loss of one of the continent’s most important custodians and sources of African history and culture.

GAZETTE: What else would we lose if traditional African religions were to be extinguished?

OLUPONA: The practice of age-grade initiations has always been beneficial to young Africans in terms of feeling linked to their society and their ancestors, despite the fact that they are less frequent in Africa now than they were 50 years ago.

Religions such as Christianity and Islam are increasingly replacing these old African means of defining oneself in Africa, and in the process, they are establishing a social identity in Africa that crosses across these indigenous African religious and social identities.

What strategies do you use to maintain a healthy balance between your Christian and indigenous African identities?

OLUPONA: In today’s world, however, this is not the case because of more exclusive-minded types of Christianity and Islam who believe that patronizing indigenous African beliefs and practices violates the integrity of their Christian or Muslim principles.

GAZETTE: How did you manage to pull that off?

OLUPONA: As he traveled throughout southern Nigeria and spoke to people about African culture — which included initiation ceremonies, festivals, and traditional Yoruba attire — he never criticized or spoke out against it, as long as it did not directly contradict with Christianity.

For example, I hope that in a few years, I will be able to participate in an age-grade festival called Ero in my native Nigerian community of Ute, which is located in the state of Ondo.

I will not pray to Anorisa, but I will express my appreciation for the value of my relationship with other people in my age group.

In addition, I participate in and commemorate the king’s festivals and festivities in my hometown as well as other locations where I live and conduct field study.

Perhaps this explains why I am not ordained as an Anglican priest.

“The sky is large enough for birds to fly around without bumping into each other,” according to an ancient African proverb.

in social anthropology from Oxford University. He has done extensive study and writing on a wide range of religious communities, including the Hare Krishnas, Zoroastrians, Shakers, and the Old Order Amish, among others. Abridged and clarified versions of this interview have been provided.

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