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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Church of Allan, or, The Plain Truth About God

Chapter 4 - Stairway to Heaven:

Society imposes limits on human desires and constitutes a regulative force that plays the same role for moral needs as the small group provides for physical needs.

Without social controls, any society, whether primitive or modern, is bound to degenerate and decay! The natural insatiability of the human animal can only be held in check by external controls.

Religion plays this role perfectly by providing a disciplinary, cohesive, vitalizing, and euphoric social force. Rituals prepare people for social life by imposing self-discipline and parameters on our everyday interactions.

Religious ceremonies bring people together and so serve to re-affirm their common bonds and re-enforce social solidarity! Observance maintains and revitalizes the social heritage of the group and helps transmit its enduring values to future generations.

It also has a euphoric function in that it serves to counteract feelings of frustration and loss of faith by re-establishing the believer’s sense of well being.

In general, religion is a social institution that serves to give meaning to man’s predicaments by tying the individual to a set of values which is ultimately rooted in society.

Emile Durkheim

In the Old Testament of the bible, it is interesting to note that there are some similarities between religion and science at an early stage of the game.

Adam and Eve were described as proto-human, that is, not fully human with no moral sense, and no knowledge of good and evil as we now define it.

According to the bible, God wanted the couple to stay in this stage of innocent, un-aware, partly developed existence that afforded them a life free from worry and strife.

In Genesis, 2:17 God said; “Do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

When they did this anyway, they became fully human and aware of the difference between right and wrong, developed an ethical sense, and became cognizant of their own mortality.

Self-consciousness was a truly momentous human development that was lacking in all other creatures.

The animals of the land lived, met their needs to survive, and eventually died with no anticipatory anxiety or a real awareness of whom or what they were.

We humans on the other hand, became quite different.

We were blessed, (If I may use that word) with advanced reasoning abilities and relied less on instinct.

We became pro-active instead of re-active. Each generation building on the knowledge of its forbearers and developing new ways of coping, planning, and co-operation.

** “The gulf between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom is so great because of our unique outlook and appreciation of existence! We might see flashes of pseudo-cognizance in fido’s eyes every now and then, but I can tell you for sure that fido and his buddies do not sit around and discuss the merits of art or literature!”

We became aware that people are largely helpless, insignificant, and insecure.

Human beings do not like chronic anxiety and some coping mechanism had to be developed.

Many theologians and anthropologists felt that our ancestors had to develop a primitive human concept of God to lesson their anxiety about what life was going to deal them next.

The hunter-gatherer societies began the first religion of Animism by assuming that since they were aware and self-conscious themselves, then the same could be said of their surroundings.

This would apply to the forests, sky, sun and heavens, moon, land animals, birds, fishes and all manner of things they were in contact with in their daily lives.

With the belief that all these things were animated by a spirit or contained vital powers, the village shamans, native healers and wise men played leadership roles in this religion because dread of the unknown dissipated somewhat when our ancestors felt more in control of their lives and future.

This early explanation of religion was solely a product of human creation to ease an otherwise intolerable situation brought about by day-to-day living.

Animist’s ancestors created their god’s and myths because they couldn’t comprehend the real Supreme Being! Gods did not reveal themselves to the tribes. The tribes had to invent the gods.

*”In Essentials, all religions are the same.
They differ only in non-essentials.
The wise appreciate the essentials.
The base dispute over the non-essentials.”

The religion of early Australian Aboriginal Cultures was, essentially, identical to the first religions practiced by hunter-gatherer societies worldwide.

Australian Aboriginal Cultures have a chain of practices virtually unbroken. It extends back over 50,000 years to a time when their ancestors first settled the continent. It is also a society has remained almost unchanged since the advent of self-awareness.

Totemism and Animism were one of the elementary and first forms of religion. The Australian Aboriginal Religion therefore, is the perfect model for religion in its original form.

Ritual is formal ceremonial behavior used to approach or deal with the supernatural. Rituals act out or dramatize scenes from the religious and social origins of society - its methodology depicts how its members believe they came to be a distinct people.

A society’s collective consciousness therefore is re-enforced in group experiences.

These experiences acted out as rituals in a religious context create and sustain a sense of identity within their own group. As opposed to other groups who have different beliefs and rituals.

Rituals seem to evoke high levels of emotion, and with the worship of a God, they re-create the story of how they came to be a group.

The Australian Aborigines found their meaning for life in the stories and songs of their particular tribe. The answers to questions such as “who am I?” and “where do I belong?” and “what happens after I die?” all were found in their local legends and beliefs.

Their stories and songs related accounts of ancestral beings taking the form of animals, birds, and other creatures during the creation period known as the……….


Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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