Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On History and Religion, part two

Yesterday I discussed how delicate our history is, that much of it has been laid open to omission, error, and deliberate forgery because of the passage of time and the lack of global communication in the past.

Piecing our history back together

There are very limited options availible to us to try and verify or discover the truth of our collective history. Societies and cultures have disappeared or been wiped out, ruins have crumbled, books have been burned, carbon 14 dating is questionable at best, even the layers of the Earth may not tell the story archaeologists believe, if it is true that during the flood at least a portion of dirt and rock were turned to slurry along with their contents, and laid back down upon the surface by density, weight or size. They won't teach this in high-schools anytime soon, but what we accept as the timeline of the world and our history is full of holes - possibly more holes than substance.

What we do have is cross referencing between writings of various cultures and physical evidence that supports it.

Ancient history

We have numerous texts which survived the ages through to today, that tell us about life from long before we lived it ourselves. The Bible, the Vedas, the myths of Ancient Greece and Rome, the heiroglyphs found on the buildings of Egypt, Mexico, etc. and the stories handed down by song or word of mouth rather than writing, such as those of the Gaelic tradition. (it would seem those were not written until Rome's influence over the area took root)

Among these texts, there are certain inescapable similarities that lend themselves to the conclusion that these are not mere stories, but embelishments of historical events that happened and shaped life as we know it.

* all of the stories have multiple Gods (or avatars of the God/gods) who often have a leader bearing a staff/spear/thunderbolt of some type. I include the Bible because the "Lord" is addressed by so many names and has obvious differences in personality that it seems unlikely this was a single being or entity being represented. Zeus had a thunderbolt, the Dagda had a spear, numerous egyptian "gods" are pictured with staffs including the Ujet. Brahma is depicted with a staff as well. A different inclusion of a type of staff is the Spear of Destiny which was used to pierce the side of Jesus while on the cross.

* Nearly every ancient culture & what texts of theirs remain speak of a flood. The sphinx has water erosion on it in addition to wind erosion, and there are beaches well below ocean level which hint at the level of the ocean being much lower in the past. It is also speculated that our atmosphere was much thicker at one time, possibly containing much more water in an outer layer. This of course is mentioned in the Bible and is part of what made the flood so devastating.

* Several cultures have tales of events that sound uncannily like the effects of nuclear weapons. In the Vedas and the Bible there are events that sound much like either the power or aftermath (or protection from) a nuclear bomb, and some archaeology in India has turned up pottery which was melted at such an extreme temperature it turned to glass.

* Numerous virgin births and men who were incarnations of God across various stories and traditions.

* Most traditions imply or declare that a return of the deity is immanent.

* Most traditions talk about great men, titans, giants, resulting from a cross-breed between angels and humans.

* Most traditions say that angels, messengers or demi-gods brought knowledge - like fire, writing, farming, etc.

* Gods living on mountains is a common theme, for example Mt Olympus and Mt Sinai.

There are far more, but this is a good start.

My point is that these texts are not seperate ideas, they are not opposing beliefs, they are different viewpoints of the same set of events which shaped our early history. Most likely these stories were told by word of mouth over and over until the advent of writing (or the will to write these specifically). By that time the word had been spread across the land and had been retold so many times that each "branch" of the story gained it's own flavor and omission of details that made it sound like a somewhat different story. This is because each person will remember different details, embelish others, emphasize different aspects and use their own terminology. Eventually, as people settle in areas and retell the stories they take on a local following and solidify in that form, leading to different mythologies that seem to have come from a single source. There are even similarities correlations to stories from natives in the Americas, though they too have shown their unique perspective on events.

Our ancestors knew that these stories were incredibly important and needed to be passed to future generations - to guide us and to warn us about the dangers of living our lives certain ways. They told the stories over and over, hoping to have the same effect a viral video does today - exciting people and making them want to pass the story again and again.

Tomorrow, in part three, I will discuss the implications of this collective story.

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