True Power

True Power

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Believing is a choice (Part2) Oldest Religion

Religion goes back as far as human civilizations. Nobody knows what the first religion was. The Egyptians predate the Jews, The Mesopotamians predate them. The Chinese predate them…

The religions with a creation story often claim to be the oldest of the religions since the world began with that creation and with the god or gods of that particular religion.

Others say that animism would be the oldest known type of religion. This is a primitive religion, which sprang up independently in many areas of the world, but in most countries has mainly been replaced by more formal religion. In animism, spirits are considered to inhabit familiar objects in the landscape. For example, Australian aboriginal beliefs probably go back 60,000 or more.

Many scholars have suggested that remnants of animal worship survived in Judaism and Christianity. Satan was a serpent; Jehovah, like Osiris, was worshiped as a bull; Christ was the lamb of God, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove. As you can see, all of these are animals represented by spirits inhabiting them; which is what animism is. However, these are only symbols of the worshipped object, and are not worshipped in themselves as would have been done in true animism.

The Egyptian religion can also be considered the oldest religion. Its origins date back beyond 3000 BCE.

When trying to determine the oldest religion, researchers take into consideration who had the oldest written language. Since Sanskrit is the oldest written language, as far as religion being written down, and as far as organized religion is concerned, it would be Hinduism. It is said that when Rama appeared, according to our calendar, it’d be a million or so years (not sure the exact date, but it’s a long time!) And Krishna, god himself according to the Vedic scriptures, appeared here 5,000 years ago. Buddha, about 500 B.C., Jesus, about 2,000 years ago.

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all Abrahamic related religions. Abraham dates back to 1800 BC. Abraham was told directly by God that He would be the God of his people in Genesis.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest writing (not religious) found on clay tablets dating back to the 1st millennium b.c.e. He was a Sumerian king. For this particular area Ishtar would become the most important goddess of Babylonia (Mesopotania). The Easter holiday includes egg rolling which was actually a ritual performed for the goddess Ishtar for ferility purposes. Many Christians today refuse to celebrate Easter but prefer to call this time the Passover (the time of Jesus' death and resurrection)


4000 BCE
Earliest date attested to composing Rigveda.
4000 BCE
Estimated by the summing of ages of kings and families in the Judeo-Christian Holy Bible, 4000 BCE represents the time when Adam and Eve were first given souls after God's image. This marks the end of the sixth day that God took to create and form the world.
3000 BCE
Sumerian Cuneiform emerges from the proto-literate Uruk period, allowing the codification of beliefs and creation of detailed historical religious records.
2494 - 2345 BCE
The first of the oldest surviving religious texts, the Pyramid Texts, are composed in Ancient Egypt.
2150 - 2000 BCE
The earliest surviving versions of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (originally titled "He saw the deep") were written.
2000 - 1850 BCE
The traditionally accepted lifetime of the Judeochristian/Islamic patriarchal figure Abraham. Likely born in Ur Kaƛdim or Haran and died in Machpelah, Canaan.
1300 - 1000 BCE
The "standard" Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni.
1250 BCE
The believed time of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. The first books of the Torah are composed
950 BCE
The Torah begins to be written, the core texts of Judaism and foundation of later Abrahamic religions.
393 AD
The Synod of Hippo, the first time a council of bishops of early Christianity listed and approved a Biblical canon.
405 AD
St. Jerome completes the Vulgate, the first Latin translation of the bible
1500 AD
African religious systems are introduced to the Americas, with the commencement of the trans-Atlantic forced migration.

It is clear to see there is a long history of religions. One of the great things about Christianity is that it managed to thrive and flourish even amoung many ancient beliefs. To nullify the origin of religions from different regions is not necessary as many religious people tend to believe. Having discussions on various religions from around the world going beyond the bounds of "THEY ARE EVIL" should be a part of the Christian experience. Many young adults go off to college believing that their particular religion is the only religion and others randomly choose to worship sticks and rocks. These young adults were never told that other religions have an old and sacred origin that goes beyond praying to sticks. In their belief systems their faith tells them to believe no matter what else they are presented with also. For some, their eternal soul is at stake to them in the same way as the Christian believe's. The young adult may be shocked to find these people, who may live spotless lives, in comparison, is doing no more than they themselves. The CHOICE of who they worship is the difference.

For me to choose to worship the Christian God was a decision of heart, mind, and soul. Many continue to separate academia from religion (which I do not believe are enemies of each other), but the book knowledge of various religions made my faith even stronger. I was exposed to the knowledge of several gods and still chose my God. To me that is a great testimony. Given complete and total choice; I still decided to worship the God of Christianity.

Being an African American, I never was exposed to the religion of my ancestors. I studied how the Indians and African slaves were evangelized in the United States. Many Christians at that time were afraid to share the gospel with the slaves because it teaches in the freedom of Christ and fellow man. They feared if the slaves were aware of this they would become Christians and want to be considered fellow brethrens of the slave owners, and expect freedom, so the Indians were the better evangelism candidate. This bit of history reinforces the great gift of free will and choice valued in the Bible.

I have looked at some of the creation myths from various areas of the world and would like to share with you some of those myths. I will start with some of the creation myths from Africa.


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