1 of 2
1
HOW RELIGIONS START
Posted: 08 August 2007 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  22
Joined  2007-08-08

This account is merely my opinion of how religions actually start. I would like to hear what others think about this.

All the world’s major religions originated from a misguided attachment to a Spiritual Teacher.  During the lifetime of such a Teacher/Master, there are basically two categories of follower / disciple.  Firstly, there are the “outsiders” or “believers” – those who listen to the Master’s words and accept and follow him, and have great respect and adoration for him, but who do not actually receive the sacred Spiritual Gift – Initiation into the Knowledge (Gnosis) of the Mysteries of God – and do not understand about the continual succession of Masters who reveal those Mysteries.

Then there is the “inner core” of “gnostics” – those (by comparison, few in numbers) who are deemed worthy by the Master to be initiated into the Sacred Mysteries, and who thus understand the process of revelation (personal initiation) through a continuous chain of Masters.  When a Master dies, His initiated disciples know that God will appoint another in his place, and thus will go to follow Him.

But many (generally those “outsiders” / ”believers”, who are so attached to the memory of their now dead Master, that they do not accept or even look for a new ‘living’ Master) merely hold on to cherished memories of their now deceased Master, and pass on stories of His life to others.  As these stories are orally related from one to another, they become enhanced, expanded, and embellished (e.g. with many miracles and wonders, which simple and immature people like to hear).  These stories rarely tell of the one real miracle and wonder: the Mystical / Spiritual Revelation given by the Master, which leads to True Eternal LIFE – this is only known and experienced by the ‘elect’ (i.e. the “chosen ones”).  Eventually, as these original followers (the “outsiders”) die, it becomes necessary for the new developing religion to collect and preserve these oral stories in written form.[1]

The next step in the process is when the so-called educated (intellectual) theologians take over, and formulate the ideology and structure of yet another smug worldly orthodoxy.[2]  At this point, as the congregation grows, and monetary donations come flooding in, the new “orthodox” religion slowly becomes powerful, wealthy, and political, and begins condemning all others – even, and especially, the genuine “chosen ones” (Gnostics) who follow the true living Master.[3]  It is, in fact, these so-called orthodoxies which should be called heresy!

As time passes, various theologians come up with new ideas and beliefs about this or that meaning of the written scripture.  Thus, over time, a variety of creeds, sects, cults, and divisions emerge.  This process can be clearly observed within the history of every religion.  The truth of the ‘living’ Messiah is rejected by all, and the churches of satan continue to rule the world.
__________________________
Footnotes:

[1] A very important question should here be considered: If it was so important for an accurate record of Jesus’ life and teachings to be preserved, then why did He not write it Himself? This would have avoided any ambiguity and confusion as to the truth of the variant stories (at least as far as Christians are concerned) and alleviated the necessity of Biblical criticism. The answer is that, as a living Master is always present on Earth, there is no necessity for historical stories about any previous Master.

[2] This is precisely where Saul (St. Paul) came into the story!

[3] The true followers of God are ALWAYS rejected, despised, ridiculed, or persecuted by the ‘orthodox’ administrators of this world. See e.g. Isaiah 51:7; Matt 5:10-12; 10:16-23; Mark 13:9; Luke 6:22; & John 15:20-21.

 Signature 

“Ignorance is the mother of all evil.” (Gospel of Philip ~ NHL)

Peace & Love

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 August 2007 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15362
Joined  2006-02-14

I’m wondering what sort of actual data you have for this theory of yours. It all appears to me to be simply hypothesis, from an extremely small sample-size of religion.

But that said, the bigger issue is that these supposed “masters” appeared not to have any more insight into reality than any other person in their culture. The problem comes when people blindly follow charismatic leaders who have no special insight into truth, but are simply the equivalent of cult leaders or svengalis.

And if, as it seems, these supposed “masters” were in fact quite ignorant, it is all the more problematic that they continue to have devoted followers.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  508
Joined  2006-04-18

Religion starts where science does. Why?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  418
Joined  2007-07-19

I find Daniel Dennett’s explanations of religion as phenomenon interesting.  I know he explores this idea in many of his lectures, specifically I remember his TED talk was a popular one.

 Signature 

“It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.” ~ Carl Sagan

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7547
Joined  2007-03-02

I agree with Doug, it does seem like all hypothesis.  While Saul/Paul was influentual, he wasn’t the only one involved in the mess.  However, he is also part of the story and there is really no historical evidence that he ever lived other than the Episcles (I can’t spell without my own comp.  :(  )  If you want you could read some of Robert Price, Acharya, John Shelby Spong, and David Fideler, just for starters to explore your hypothesis.  Now this is a varying group of Religious Scholars.  They aren’t just one-sided on the Biblical Critism, but are very interesting reads.  Also, Karen Armstrong has a book on myth and she is not too bad of a scholar herself either.  I can tell you, both Bob and Karen have been on the Jesus Seminar and Bob is on the Jesus Project.  I’m don’t know if Karen is on the Project though.  You can go to http://www.westarinstitute.org/Jesus_Seminar/jesus_seminar.html and http://www.westarinstitute.org/Fellows/fellows.html  to find more scholars to read, but I can’t tell you if they are all good ones or not.  Robert Funk is good (no I’m not just saying that because I’m here on CFI, I mean it).  I haven’t read Don Cupitt yet, but I hear he is good too.  Anyway, there are some good ones there and some I have no clue about.

Anyway, you can find their books on Amazon or, if you are lucky, your library.  Also, I recommend doing some research on the various mystery cults that came before the Christ Cult.

 Signature 

Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2011
Joined  2007-08-09

I thought Ben-Shama’s post was pretty good. I draw out of it reference to the desire for certainty, the inclination to take comfort in a personified guardian/savior and the willingness to accept what makes us feel good. So while I wouldn’t limit a theory of religion to these few observations, they strike me as being more than merely hypothetical.

 Signature 

I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7547
Joined  2007-03-02

I think it is a start, but there is far more to it than that.  There is also a power thing too- ie Rome.  You can find the idea of religion, Rome, and power in various sources too.  So, there is a lot more to it than just that. A lot more.

 Signature 

Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15362
Joined  2006-02-14

Another problem with this theory is that religions do not usually start with so-called “sacred mysteries”. They begin, or so much as we can tell, with relatively straightforward teachings about the way to reach salvation or nirvana. That is how it appears Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism began, at any rate. The notion that there are “sacred mysteries” and “gnostic” people who retain them is almost universally due to later corruptions and additions of the guru’s message. Gnosticism in Christianity, to take the obvious example, had relatively little to do with Jesus’s actual teachings (insofar as they can be reconstructed), and much more to do with Neo-Platonism, which itself was based on a much later corruption of Plato’s actual teachings.

So as a theory of how religions start, this doesn’t work very well.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  672
Joined  2007-06-17

here’s my two cents on how they start, for what it’s worth: any idiot with no position of power, the common touch, charisma, a megaphone and a grudge against society… I don;t really need to say the rest, do I?

 Signature 

http://web.mac.com/normsherman/iWeb/Site/Podcast/833F918B-485B-42F4-B18C-4AB1436D9B87.html

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  22
Joined  2007-08-08
Mriana - 09 August 2007 04:39 PM

I think it is a start, but there is far more to it than that.  There is also a power thing too- ie Rome.  You can find the idea of religion, Rome, and power in various sources too.  So, there is a lot more to it than just that. A lot more.

By mentioning Rome you are limiting the subject to Christianity only.  I am talking about all religions.  Also, if you read the OP again, you will see that a reference was clearly made to money, power and politics.

 Signature 

“Ignorance is the mother of all evil.” (Gospel of Philip ~ NHL)

Peace & Love

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  22
Joined  2007-08-08
dougsmith - 09 August 2007 04:57 PM

Another problem with this theory is that religions do not usually start with so-called “sacred mysteries”. They begin, or so much as we can tell, with relatively straightforward teachings about the way to reach salvation or nirvana. That is how it appears Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism began, at any rate. The notion that there are “sacred mysteries” and “gnostic” people who retain them is almost universally due to later corruptions and additions of the guru’s message. Gnosticism in Christianity, to take the obvious example, had relatively little to do with Jesus’s actual teachings (insofar as they can be reconstructed), and much more to do with Neo-Platonism, which itself was based on a much later corruption of Plato’s actual teachings.

So as a theory of how religions start, this doesn’t work very well.

I would disagree with you.  Your information comes solely from what the powerful and worldly, so-called ‘orthodox’ hierarchical authorities, allowed to be transmitted in their ‘historical’ / ‘mythical’ / ‘legendary’ records.  The priesthoods of all religions rely, for their livelihood, on having a special and unique place among their flock.  If the Truth was known, they would lose their positions of power, respect, and authority - and their livelihoods too.

 Signature 

“Ignorance is the mother of all evil.” (Gospel of Philip ~ NHL)

Peace & Love

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2007 09:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15362
Joined  2006-02-14

Religions do not begin with priesthoods. Priesthoods come later with organization. They begin with cult leaders and their acolytes. In the case of the standard religions with clear(ish) beginnings—Buddhism, Christianity, Islam—the original teachings were relatively simple and direct. They were aimed at local audiences, and tried to solve particular local problems. In particular, Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience, and objecting to certain newer practices in the Jewish religion, and substituting for them a millenarian prophecy that the world would end in his lifetime.

Later on, when the religion evolves, and the original message is largely reconstructed and obscured, the priesthood comes to the fore. Priests have a vested interest in making you believe that they have special access to knowledge. That’s why the Catholic mass was said in Latin for so many centuries: to preserve the aura of their having a “special and unique place among their flock” as you put it.

We have a word for this tactic. It is known as obscurantism: bamboozling the public with hard-to-understand terminology and the promise of special occult knowledge. Unfortunately, as has been said before, there’s a sucker born every minute.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2007 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  22
Joined  2007-08-08
dougsmith - 09 August 2007 09:51 PM

Religions do not begin with priesthoods. Priesthoods come later with organization. They begin with cult leaders and their acolytes. In the case of the standard religions with clear(ish) beginnings—Buddhism, Christianity, Islam—the original teachings were relatively simple and direct. They were aimed at local audiences, and tried to solve particular local problems. In particular, Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience, and objecting to certain newer practices in the Jewish religion, and substituting for them a millenarian prophecy that the world would end in his lifetime.

Later on, when the religion evolves, and the original message is largely reconstructed and obscured, the priesthood comes to the fore. Priests have a vested interest in making you believe that they have special access to knowledge. That’s why the Catholic mass was said in Latin for so many centuries: to preserve the aura of their having a “special and unique place among their flock” as you put it.

We have a word for this tactic. It is known as obscurantism: bamboozling the public with hard-to-understand terminology and the promise of special occult knowledge. Unfortunately, as has been said before, there’s a sucker born every minute.

Now you seem to be agreeing wholeheartedly with the basic story which I gave in my OP.  The only things that I would disagree with here is that the Masters did not come merely for a local audience, or to solve local problems.  Jesus did not come only for the benefit of Jews, any more than Buddha came only for the benefit of Hindus.  Nor did Jesus teach ‘the end of the world’ in the way that you seem to understand it.  What he actually taught was that: at that precise time (i.e. if/when) one actually experiences/realizes the Divine Spirit within (which he terms: the Kingdom of God / Heaven), then, at that time, one would turn away from this material/carnal world, and THUS would this world then end FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL, i.e. the individual’s life would be totally transformed.  His words must not be taken literally - He was, after all, a Spiritual Teacher.

 Signature 

“Ignorance is the mother of all evil.” (Gospel of Philip ~ NHL)

Peace & Love

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2007 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15362
Joined  2006-02-14
A. Ben-Shema - 10 August 2007 12:01 AM

What he actually taught was that: at that precise time (i.e. if/when) one actually experiences/realizes the Divine Spirit within (which he terms: the Kingdom of God / Heaven), then, at that time, one would turn away from this material/carnal world, and THUS would this world then end FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL, i.e. the individual’s life would be totally transformed.  His words must not be taken literally - He was, after all, a Spiritual Teacher.

This is what is known as “apologetics”. Jesus did not teach these things. He taught quite simply that the world was going to end in the lifetimes of his followers.

When that didn’t happen, what people should have done is realized that the guy was a fraud. Instead we got apologetics.

The same things happen nowadays every few years. Some crackpot cult master says the world will end in 1999. Then it doesn’t happen, but his deluded flock find some apologetic method to keep the fiction going ... “He meant we were going to die on the inside in 1999” or some such nonsense.

This sort of cult of personality is really very troubling.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2007 07:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

There was an interesting book about thirty or forty years ago called “When Prophesy Fails.”  The group was sure their leader was correct about the end of the world.  They prayed, gave away their belongings, but didn’t prosyletize.  When it didn’t happen, as Doug said, the leader recalculated and found his “mistake.”  From that time on they became strongly missionary.  Apparently, with a tiny bit of doubt you have to convince others so their acceptance validates your belief.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2007 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  22
Joined  2007-08-08
dougsmith - 10 August 2007 08:13 AM
A. Ben-Shema - 10 August 2007 12:01 AM

What he actually taught was that: at that precise time (i.e. if/when) one actually experiences/realizes the Divine Spirit within (which he terms: the Kingdom of God / Heaven), then, at that time, one would turn away from this material/carnal world, and THUS would this world then end FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL, i.e. the individual’s life would be totally transformed.  His words must not be taken literally - He was, after all, a Spiritual Teacher.

This is what is known as “apologetics”. Jesus did not teach these things. He taught quite simply that the world was going to end in the lifetimes of his followers.
When that didn’t happen, what people should have done is realized that the guy was a fraud. Instead we got apologetics.

Oh!  And you KNOW this for certain?  How?

As Jesus apparently spoke Aramaic, and as we have no extant texts of his words which were ‘composed’ in this language, we are totally dependent on late texts of his words translated into Greek.  This is one of the reasons why his words have become corrupted and misunderstood.

The same things happen nowadays every few years. Some crackpot cult master says the world will end in 1999. Then it doesn’t happen, but his deluded flock find some apologetic method to keep the fiction going ... “He meant we were going to die on the inside in 1999” or some such nonsense.
This sort of cult of personality is really very troubling.

Yes, I agree with you; there are, and always have been, many false prophets in the world.  But this does not mean that there is, and never has been, a genuine Prophet.

Let me explain that I completely detest all religions, possibly more than you do.  But I do not detest the genuine Spiritual Masters who revealed the (Spiritual) Truth.  If you re-read my OP you will see how and why, imo, religions became corrupt and evil.

 Signature 

“Ignorance is the mother of all evil.” (Gospel of Philip ~ NHL)

Peace & Love

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1