Thursday, September 2, 2010

Singular Afterlife: The key to social growth

In my history class the last few days we have been studying ancient cultures such as Mesopotamia and Egypt.  A common characteristic among these ancient peoples is their seemingly modern take on morals, equality, and basic human rights.  In both Egypt and Mesopotamia women were allowed to own property, engage in trade and business, and were for many parts acknowledged as equal to men.  This is something one very rarely seems throughout history, especially after Christianity in any form takes hold as a recognized religion.

Also if one looks at the concepts that have arisen out of theses societies, one would be astonished to see how many are an integral part of daily life even now.  The concept of a fair and considerate justice system with laws concerning the well being of widows and orphans and even slaves came from Hammurabi, the leader of Babylonia.  When one looks at the intricate legal system he created, one sees a founding structure to the one used in modern America. Laws concerning building codes, medical practices, domestic abuse, and slavery were common thousands of years ago. When one looks at early America and pretty much all of Europe until recently, they were lacking in these laws that enforced basic human rights. Now one could argue that it was the Evil Monarch that installed the institutions that kept peasants down and that once they were overthrown the people gave everyone equal rights and civil liberties but that, as history clearly shows, is wrong.  In fact Babylon was a MONARCHY.

THIS GUY loved his people.

Also the concept of Democracy came out of a polytheistic society (Ancient Greece) and women were allowed to be the financial equals as well as rulers in a place where the ruler WAS A LIVING GOD (Egypt). In contrast look at the extreme repression of women all throughout the monotheistic Christian Europe during the Dark ages. Now what caused these supposed ancient peoples to be so forward thinking when people hundreds of years later were so close-minded and hateful?  Was it just they happened to have fair and forward thinking rulers? Probably not. Was it their priests who pushed for just and fair treatment of their followers?  Also probably not. 

I believe it is in the basic structure of their concept of the afterlife that lead to so many of their advances in thinking and morality.  If you examine the fundamental differences on the views of the afterlife of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam  V.S.  The views of the previously mentioned societies, one notices that the polytheistic religions have relatively simple afterlives. By that I mean that in Ancient Egypt, or Greece, or Babylonia one didn't have to constantly worry about damnation and hellfire because everyone went to the same place.  This lead to people focusing more effort on their current lives, instead of working and toiling to make sure they got a spot in heaven.  Look at it this way, IF the afterlife is gonna suck, like the ancient Greeks believed, why not make being alive more livable? Because hey its not going to last so live it up while you can!

Pictured: the real reason communism is both favored by 20-somethings and doesn't work 

That's not to say Monotheistic religions are all bad, they've contributed something but it seems to be the equivalent of writing their name at the top of the page, after torturing and persecuting every one else that worked on the project.  In closing one has to wonder what purpose these monotheistic religions have served? How have they made us any better?  Ancient Egyptian men were loving and caring for their wives and children, not something that can be said about medieval father figures. What have our religions done for us that older religions didn't?  And here is a question  for you, How sure are you that Monotheistic Christian religions are any different from Ancient Polytheistic ones??

Heres a start.

1 comment:

  1. I can tell I'm going to enjoy reading your musings, though I think it will work best if you actually keep up with this blog. ;D