One day someone came along…

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Attila
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One day someone came along…

Post by Attila » 21 Jan 2012, 23:39

One day someone came along…

And said the sun wouldn’t rise unless we worshiped certain gods and performed the given rituals. [certainly in the ancient Egyptian religion, don’t know a if so in Druidry]
That Ishtar [easter] wouldn’t give rise to the summer unless the march hare was put in his hole/cave and a sacrifice made, that at Halloween the summer wouldn’t give rise to winter etc.

Can you imagine a time when there were some people in a village sat around a fire, and some priest came along and said such things, wouldn’t they be thinking that; well the sun had always arose, winter had always given way to summer?

I can understand festivals as a celebration of such events, but I cannot understand why the gods and the priesthood should expect the people to make additional sacrifices [sometimes human] in order to placate them. The Egyptian book of the dead would have cost someone 1 ¼ of there entire life’s income, ~ someone’s having a laugh aren’t they?
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Aemilius » 22 Jan 2012, 09:11

Hello Attila....

So why would the villagers hold their collective breath, hanging on every word uttered by a Priest?

Here's one possible scenario....

Imagine another time, when knowledge of any kind was a very rare commodity that was carefully controlled.... I would imagine the Priest, seeking to increase his power and prestige, would announce he was angry with the villagers for some trifling reason, and he would then vow to punish them by petitioning the Gods to darken the Sun in the middle of the following day.

Having secret knowledge of the heavens, transmitted to him by his predecessor, and having calculated the time a solar eclipse would commence, he could make his way to the center of the village the following day at just the right time and dramatically raise his arms to the heavens, calling out in a loud voice to the gods and demanding that they darken the Sun. The Sun would then darken as the villagers cowered in terror, and I have a feeling they would do exactly what they were told to by the Priest after such a frightening demonstration.... for the rest of their lives.

This would have been a very effective strategy for controlling large groups of people and getting them to do ones bidding, and may possibly explain why the Druids (among others) were held in such high regard, and why their edicts and commands were obediently carried out without question.
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Lily » 22 Jan 2012, 09:47

You should have heard the talk I heard by the archaeologist who pried the Nebra sky disk from antiquities thieves.

He convincingly argued that anyone who could presict to the day when the moon would pass below (if I remember correctly) the seven sisters (Plejades) in early March - indicating planting time - would have great ruling power. Add a trick or two to predict a lunar eclipse.....

Remember: their lives utterly depended on the harvest. There were no backup plans.

In fact the hypothesis was that the disk was finally sacrificed, long after it was converted to a purely ceremonial item of power, when harvests WERE failing due to catastrophic weather disturbances in 1600 BCE after the volcano at santorini had spewed loads of ash into the atmosphere.
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by StephenThomas » 23 Jan 2012, 02:08

I am sure that Aemilius is right in saying that priests, holy men, religious leaders, have been only to keen on using power to gain more power. It is one of the downfalls of religion, IMHO.

It doesn't surprise me as much that in days when there was limited education and rampant superstition, that this could happen. If does surprise me that it still happens.
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Attila » 23 Jan 2012, 21:17

Hi Aemilius
Humans being humans, anyway to increase ones position in the world would be found. I like to think that most wouldn’t do stuff like that, but you always get a few who covet power and are usually close to other powers in the land, like kings and warriors.
I say all this because we wouldn’t want to make the same mistakes again - if I may.

Hi lily
Yea sometimes one has to use whatever persuasion one can to achieve what is a good end [like getting the disc].
I suppose as people would have thought the gods controlled everything, then they would listen to the priest with a plan. I wonder what happened when the plans didn’t work.

StephenThomas

Indeed yes, I suppose even disparate villages were involved in the greater society, so there was probably never a time prior to religion where you’d get villagers seeing the seasons change and without thinking of that in religious terms.
the truth is naked.
once it is written it is lost.
what is life; life is not a question.
genius is the result of the entire product of man.
death cannot be experienced.
life is not brought to us in slices of unrealised perfection, we get the whole cake.

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Merlyn » 24 Jan 2012, 20:45

I wonder what happened when the plans didn’t work
So often it hasn't yet even still today some people still believe in such things.. Like .. 2012..

That aside,
I don't think everyone who made predictions were doing it for personal gains. It is as always the sad few who were who made the headlines..
Giving back, or sacrifice, is seen in extremes very often. The priest is often like the weatherman, using the wrong tools for the job.

revelation isn't something we can control, nor is the reliability of any oracle. We have to vest ourselves and the sacrifice from and of others isn't doing so.

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ac o wybod, gwybod yn gyfiawn;
ac o wybod yn gyfiawn ei garu;
ac o garu, caru Duw.
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Al Hakim » 12 Feb 2012, 22:29

Isn't it still the same when someone makes himself the high-priest of a sect and convinces his members to poison themselves? Or those who bellieved in the world's end at the last millenium? There will always exist seducible persons to follow strange leaders. The reason for seduction usually is ignorance. Teach people to take over responsibility for their own lives and no false prophet can mislead them any longer.

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Muddy Fox » 12 Feb 2012, 22:53

Well said, here here, a slap on the back Al!

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Karl » 12 Feb 2012, 23:55

As this thread has popped up again, I'd like to add that it may not be as sinisterly motivated as all that. Say a village starts off by celebrating the sunrise every day by some small thankyou (say a handful of grain in the river). A few generations time they might be thinking the more grain you put in the river the better the gods will be pleased. As time goes on and the way things work, they'll start thinking if they didn't put any grain in the river the gods'd be angry about it, ergo no sunshine.
Human nature, do something often enough and it becomes such a comfort you worry what you'd do without it. Plus everything mentioned above working to reinforce people's belief. That's my take on it, anyway, touch wood. :D
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Attila » 21 Feb 2012, 23:59

If only the ancients had hindsight!

But then that’s why we are here. :)
the truth is naked.
once it is written it is lost.
what is life; life is not a question.
genius is the result of the entire product of man.
death cannot be experienced.
life is not brought to us in slices of unrealised perfection, we get the whole cake.

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by DaRC » 22 Feb 2012, 13:30

I think this is very similar to the 5 monkey's and the banana experiment:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_the_monke ... take_place

Which is part of why I like the OBOD view in that it has a very Life of Brian philosophy
"You've got to work it out for yourselves..."
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Al Hakim » 01 Mar 2012, 00:23

Karl wrote:As this thread has popped up again, I'd like to add that it may not be as sinisterly motivated as all that. Say a village starts off by celebrating the sunrise every day by some small thankyou (say a handful of grain in the river). A few generations time they might be thinking the more grain you put in the river the better the gods will be pleased. As time goes on and the way things work, they'll start thinking if they didn't put any grain in the river the gods'd be angry about it, ergo no sunshine.
Human nature, do something often enough and it becomes such a comfort you worry what you'd do without it. Plus everything mentioned above working to reinforce people's belief. That's my take on it, anyway, touch wood. :D
Karl,
I think your idea is too materialistic. You are attaching the sacrifice to a reward that you will receive. Many people do believe that they have to be in for a reward if only they did gift something small. I state that the thank-you with an ulterior motive equals cheating faite. Remember that the selling of indulgences by the catholic church in the late middle ages made the world split into hostile parties for centuries.

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Lily » 01 Mar 2012, 07:09

Hello Doctor,

You, however, are forgetting that these people were in a much more precarious situation, their lives depended on the benevolence of the deity. starvation, sickness etc. were much more threatening then than now.

as for the indulgences, es, perhaps it was an organized mass delusion, or maybe a well-paid pascal's wager?
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Al Hakim » 04 Mar 2012, 01:28

Lily,

I'd like to follow your idea of a mass delusion, but a guided one. Faith was - and still is - often abused by a few ppeople who saw their advantages. We can observe a similar development right now in Islam. The religion itself is not aggressive, but those who want to abuse it - for their selfish own purpose - and seduce the unlearned crowd are coming now.
On the other hand it is almost impossible to compare. We were brought up in an environmment that taught us to not mix up religion and politics. E.g. Islam still claims to arrange for earthly business by following old rules. I feel that the Islam will not change for the next decades, and I wish that we keep the tolerance to let them do.
I chose the Islamic example beause it is existing and close to everybody. As Karl wrote it gives us a perfect idea of how ancient peoples thought. As the hole world has changed however it seems high time to adopt the rules to the new age as Druidry has been accepting the new time too. But let us not fall back into the old mistakes.
To blame a god for a poor harvest, although the farmer was to lazy to bring in the crop. To speak about ghost of the coldnss because your heating has ceased to work because of a lack of maintenance. Godly things should not just be used as an excusion for whatever went wrong. God is he water that comes from my tap in a highly good quality, and in a crisby fresh bread. No water, no bread or crop, no food, no human. That is the message I want to convey.

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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Lily » 04 Mar 2012, 09:44

No need to look as far as radical islam...If you look at american politics there are efforts towards a new theocracy... or shall we say it already is a covert theocracy...? anyway.... like indulgences, all a way of gaining power over the ignorant and deflecting attention from the real problems, keeping the sheep busy.

I wasn't alluding to a "lazy" farmer. but one that is powerless if the weather or pests destroy their fields. there was no way to ship replacements halfway around the world. People could die with money in their bags* because there wasn't ANYTHING to buy.... that's when you start depending on your deity.
You'll also willingly believe the priests, because it's always been that way....?Maybe you don't even have time to think and you keep doing "what works" - don't change a winning team.

Perhaps scepticism, atheism is a result of luxury,or security, one that we've only been enjoying in the past 250 years or so?

*there's a japanese woodcut depicting this - less than 400 years old...
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by DJ Droood » 04 Mar 2012, 15:56

Lily wrote:No need to look as far as radical islam...If you look at american politics there are efforts towards a new theocracy...
Not to spin things too off topic, but there isn't much new or even that radical in the 'fundamentalist' threads of American politics...America was settled by British religious kooks (hi grandpa! :hiya: ) bent on building theocracies. Also setting up shop in America were the Dutch, who were more interested in killing Indians and making money than building theocracies. So those two threads...religious kookery and murderous capitalism...and been the two legs the USA have been stomping around on for centuries...Luckily a small group of elite rational secularists had some vision and left them a documented...their Constitution....which kept them humming along pretty good for a couple of centuries....Santorum is just the latest unsightly outbreak on the face of the Nation...although the level and quality of political discourse down there seems to indicate the Old Man may be in the final throes of dementia.
Perhaps scepticism, atheism is a result of luxury,or security, one that we've only been enjoying in the past 250 years or so?
'Athiesm' seems to be a new way of describing things, although I think the world was saved by Voltaire.....but the internet has helped rationalism and skepticism grow exponentially..the best ideas always win in the marketplace of idea, and the internet is like a giant world bizarre....mainstream religion has nothing left in its final decades, other than to get louder and more violent, in a final tantrum, until finally fading into oblivion.(or taking us all out in a 'knock the game board over' mushroom cloud)
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Re: One day someone came along…

Post by Al Hakim » 04 Mar 2012, 21:25

Well, there is a nice booklet about the favorite "sports" of the pilgrim fathers: Hanging people. But this is not the right place to critisize the old white Americans.

But I like Lilly's comment and would rather go to convert it into modern times. Despite all technology we still need simple water and cereals to survive. Nobody can digest coins. This makes me believe that a social movement to preserve nature is really essential.

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