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

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Plain Truth About God

Serialized version!

Chapter 3 - Onward and Upward

**”Humanity has, in the course of time, had to endure from the hands of science two great outrages upon it’s naive self-love.

The first was when it realized that our earth was not the center of the universe, but only a speck in a world-system of a magnitude hardly conceivable.

The second was when biological research robbed man of his particular privilege of having been specially created, and relegated him to a descent from the animal world.” - - Sigmund Freud


Between fifty to sixty thousand years ago, a combination of ice ages and population explosions had forced us ever outward until we were centered on the fertile valleys south of the Black Sea, in the area between the Tigress and Euphrates Rivers and stretched in all directions from there.

The region of Europe encompassing what is today Southern Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Baltic’s was an offshoot of the main collection of people through Turkey and the rest of the Middle East.

There were other branches of our ancestors down the Nile Valley, and through Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. We were also in Uganda and over towards Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.

We also traveled north and west over the Caspian and Black Sea, following the ice sheets during one of their retreats.

We then traveled into Northern Europe and Scandinavia to finally become the Druids of Britain and the Vikings of the North.

Our search for new lands had also lead us eastward, first through the fertile valleys of northern India, north to Russia and south down to Cambodia, Thailand, and Sumatra. We then went over the lush plains between modern day Shanghai and Beijing.

We also made our pilgrimage across a chain of islands into the great Pacific.

The southern route through the pacific was still formidable, but there did not seem to be much that deterred our early ancestors in their search for new lands and horizons.

The lower ocean levels during the last ice age also gave us access to North and South America by way of a land bridge across the Bering Straight.

So there we have it, by fifty thousand years ago, we had reached Australia, and by fifteen thousand years ago, humanity had spread to all parts of the globe.

By less than ten thousand years ago, we formed what is now known as the “Four River Valley Cultures” along the banks of the Nile, the Tigris/Euphrates, the Indus/Ganges, and China’s Yellow/Yangtze.

The four “Cradles of Civilization!”

By the time, we had migrated to all these areas the human population had increased in size to perhaps 5-10 million.

Humanity had also gone from the discovery of how to tame fire, about half a million years before, to the making of fire throughout most of the settled world.

This important advance in the manipulation of the environment was still not as great a milestone in the early formation of human culture as the appearance of our greatest act of awareness and consciousness - the formal burial!

Learning to tame our surroundings was one thing, but when we changed the basic way we looked at our situation and our place in the world, we began to exhibit the first signs of free will and independence.

These ancient burial sites contain the first evidence of ritualistic or ceremonial human culture.

This suggestion that ritualized burial implies a view of an after-life gives evidence to the huge power of abstract thought that was being developed among our forbearers. The beliefs in a continuation of self-after-death lead to a view that things are not always as they seemed.

It lead to a belief that ritual could, if not dominate, then at least to some extent control our surroundings.

The beginnings of religion and warfare are lost in the mists of time but we do know that our ancestors had to go through a number of changes in their transition from pre-human to being a fully aware and cognizant humans.

From the methods of communication and co-operation that were developing, we saw an increase in the size of the brain, and a different internal structure or wiring of the brain.

All of this, taken together, brought about the advent of abstract thinking.
An awareness that things in the world were sometimes bigger than we were!

The changes that separated our distant ancestors from all the other species on the planet involved the attainment of full self-awareness, a moral sense of right and wrong, and a sense of community!

According to most paleontologists and anthropologists, fully developed human beings with all the attributes of modern man emerged somewhere around a hundred thousand years ago.

During this time of humanities awakening, we lost our ignorance, and by default, lost our innocence.

** “It is that human capacity to be fully self-conscious that makes Homo sapiens different from any other form of life in the natural world. That separating difference is what fills human beings with a sense of dread and anxiety.,” says Paul Tillich. “It is born in the human recognition of finitude and is therefore as omnipresent as humanity itself.”

With awareness, we became cognizant that people were largely helpless, insignificant and insecure!

** “To be human is to experience self-consciousness, to know separation, to be made aware of limits and to contemplate ends. One cannot be human, therefore, without being filled with chronic anxiety. It sounds depressing, but surely it is true.” -Bishop John Spring.

We, as a race, do not like chronic anxiety, and some coping mechanism had to be developed.

Many theologians and even anthropologists felt that our ancestors developed an intuitive concept of God but then had to described God in human terms out of sheer necessity to lesson their anxiety about what life was going to deal them next.

The early hunter-gatherer societies began the first religion of Animism by assuming that since they were themselves aware and self-conscious, 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 native healers and wise men played defining roles in this new religion!

Dread of the unknown dissipated somewhat when our ancestors felt more in control of their lives and future.

**But, since early humans couldn’t describe this Higher Power or Supreme Being, (Since God is by definition indescribable) the tribes would have to invent their own Gods!

THIS IS THE MISTAKE WE HAVE BEEN MAKING TO THIS VERY DAY!

PUTTING SOMETHING INDESCRIBABLE INTO HUMAN TERMS TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND IT!


The first awakenings of thoughts about spirits and even a great spirit called God gave people assurance, confidence, and peace of mind. This early explanation of religion was a product of human creation to ease an otherwise intolerable situation brought about by day-to-day living.

A set of behavioral expectations was developed for members of the tribe that gave rise to a set of moral truths to govern human behavior. These “Moral truths” in turn formed an oral tradition that was passed down from one generation to the next.

Where we get into trouble is with the beginning of writing. This resulted in a major loss of flexibility. Oral traditions can evolve over time. Written documents tend to be much more permanent!

Because belief systems are based on hunches and conjecture, various local religions developed, and their teachings were in conflict with one another.

This was because most adherents thought their beliefs were derived directly from God, and as a result, inter-religious compromise, combined with the inflexibility of written cannon, made agreement almost impossible………………!

A situation still in effect today!

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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4 Comments:

Anonymous Tom Hunter said...

I'm in the front row, Allan.

Saturday, February 23, 2008 1:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Hunter said...

How ironic that the invention of writing would end up discouraging the oral tradition and lose the "flexibility".

I must say that I have spent a lot of time on the issue: what is it to be sentient? (I even did a painting, Sentience

Saturday, February 23, 2008 1:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Rico V said...

my god can beat up your god! (the bible tells me so)

Saturday, February 23, 2008 1:46:00 PM  
Anonymous jerome k. said...

I've got a ticket for the seat next to Tom. I'll bring the popcorn. Hey, Tom, who's this Rico talking about?

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie

Peace.

Saturday, February 23, 2008 1:47:00 PM  

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