AN  OUTLINE  OF  THE  HISTORY  OF  RELIGION

 

Basic Premise: Superstition and Magic evolved into Religion and Philosophy.

 

SUPERSTITION AND MAGIC

 

                     Prehistoric Belief                                            Concern              Date

 

Veneration of Birth Process and the Divine Mother            Birth            27,000 B.C.

         as evidenced by female figurines.

Veneration of Animals and the Divine Hunter/Spouse        Living           25,000 B.C.

         as evidenced by costumes, hunting rituals

         and dances in cave art; impregnation understood.

Burials including implements, ornaments, flowers,            Death            14,000 B.C.

         and red ochre rubbed on the corpse.

 

Taints of Superstition and Magic today:  witchcraft, primitive pagan customs, good luck charms, relic worship, horoscopes, Bibliolatry

 

Theurgy: the superstition that performing a ritual or reciting a formula obligates the deity to grant a petition.  There is an old Babylonian saying: “You may teach a god to trot after you like a dog.”  (Ref. Archæology And the Old Testament, by W. F. Albright, p. 243)

 

RELIGION

 

Superstitious Divinization of Natural Objects:

            Animism, Totemism: worship of natural or man-made objects.

            Theriomorphic Gods: deities with bestial forms.

            Therianthropic Gods: deities with part-beast, part-human forms.

            Personalized Objects: “Luna” may mean Moon or Moon Goddess.

Magic evolved into Religion, and the Shaman or Sorcerer became the Priest.

Definitions (from Frazer’s Golden Bough):

            Magic: a command to an impersonal Force in nature.

            Religion: a prayer to a personal Power.

Polytheism: a religion of multiple deities; a Pantheon.

Pantheism: divinity infused into objects throughout nature.

Henotheism or Monolatry: one Patron Deity set over the Pantheon:

            Marduk was the Chief Deity of the Babylonian Pantheon.

            Yahweh was “God of gods:” i.e., over all other national gods.

            “The One in Many:” advanced polytheism of Mithraism and Socrates.

            Deus Otiosus (an inactive god replaced by a popular god):

                        Brahman vs. Brahma, El vs. Baal,     Kronos vs. Zeus,

                        Saturn vs. Jupiter, Jehovah vs. Jesus.

Monotheism (examples of varieties of the One-God religion):

            Abraham was an Elohist (Elohim is a plural, “Godhead”)

            Akhnaton (his god Aton alone is worthy of worship)

            Moses (Yahweh vs. the Baalim of Canaan; aniconic - no images)

            Jeroboam (Yahweh as a Golden Bull like Baal; icon/image worship)

            Zoroaster (Dualism, Good and Evil alternate in history)

            Brahman (One Impersonal Being over millions of gods and demons)

            Gnostic Emanations (from Good Spirit down to Evil Matter)

            Cabalistic Judaism: Nine-fold Aspects and Manifestations of One God.

            Christian Trinity: Triple Aspects and Manifestations of the One God.