I’ve recently been talking to a woman I know about religion, it was because of a poem about Jesus that I’d encountered. The woman is a Muslim so this was new territory for me.
What surprised me is that she said “fourteen-hundred years ago”. This makes Islam relatively young as a religion. She also told me that the Qur’an contained scientific fact (but that’s for another post), from what I can tell the religion shares ideas of Christianity but uses them in different ways.
Christianity itself stems from Judaism, Jesus being proclaimed King of the Jews by those that believe. So if we look to Judaism as the oldest then the assumption should be that it’s the purest form of an idea due to its age. The book of Genesis is thought to have been written sometime in Moses’ life around 1450-1410BC which once again lets us look earlier.
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt – who famously kept the Jews as slaves – were seen as mediators between men and the gods, similar to the prophets like Moses. Ancient Egypt operated with multiple gods. There are also modern multi-god religions that grew but we’re going backwards, not forwards here. There’re the Greeks and Romans too who used very similar ideas that we now regard as mythology and few, if any people worship those gods anymore. Chances are prehistory had its share of religion too.
Of course, there’s different sections of a modern religion too like Christianity having CofE, Mormons, Catholic, Evangelical and more all thinking in different ways.
I’m even interested in video game religions. We know they’re made up because a writer is usually credited somewhere for the creation of lore, but the ideas expressed in something like the Cult Of Andraste from Dragon Age or Fallout’s Church Of Atom. The phrasing and character beliefs can be so interesting as a point of study. In pop culture Homer Simpson even demands that Bart prays to Superman. It’s all fresh and new but rooted in old reality.
I just find it so amazing that ideas can evolve over thousands of years, having so many similarities yet being vastly different. I personally don’t think the age of a religion does matter because there’s just so much to unpack from all of them.
I wish to be clear that writing this I mean no offence. I’m interested to see the purest, oldest form of an idea and to see it revised over thousands of years with every idea holding on at least a little. This mix of ideas over the years is beautiful and I’m convinced that there’s definitely something in it, even if one specific religion can’t be considered as entirely correct, I read somewhere once that we have a sort of “god spot” in the brain. I thank my friends for being a bit more open about such a sensitive subject as their faith as I love the sharing of knowledge and discourse with openness in such things potentially creating a better world.