PATH TO A SUSTAINABLE EARTH

                                                                                  

Beliefs evolution 

 

Life as a hunter gatherer was filled with uncertainty from weather, migration of prey, disease, the dangers of child birth. The hunter gatherers in prehistory would have had stories to make sense of their world, which have been kept alive by their modern day descendants 

 

Todays indigenous  hunter gatherer communities in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Alaska, and the Americas all have their own unique languages, astrology, creation and after life stories.  These stories seem to provide comfort to the hunter gatherers, and still have resonance for people in modern civilization.

As the last ice age ended, the development of efficient settled agriculture in the fertile crescent allowed the hunter gatherers to settle down and form stable year round communities.  Once each farmer could grow more food than they needed, the excess enabled the formation of a ruling class with the  resources to establish civilization.  The formation of cities and a ruling class changed the trajectory of religion from tribal stories to a common set of beliefs across many tribes and communities.     

The Sumerians were the first to leave relics of their complex gods.

The first ruling class to leave a lasting footprint on earth where the Pharos of ancient Egypt. The uniquely fertile Nile river creates great wealth for the Pharoe "god-kings". Their polytheist religion centers on their immortality through mummification and very fancy burials. The god-kings self funded temples and burials in their own honor, projecting their power to the general population. The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased.   Abu Simbel was a temple to honor Ramases II,  built by Ramases II. The tomb of Tutankamun was one of the only tombs that was not sacked by the priests of Arun who came to power in 300 BC, and knew the locations of the tombs in Valley of the Kings. The Greeks and then the Romans had  had their own polytheist religion with different gods for different duties. 

From 4000 years ago (2000BC), monotheist religions gained traction. In the Fertile Crescent, Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, and again c. 612 – c. 320 BC with Zoroastrianism as their religion.  In the Middle East traditions around Abraham led to Judaeism. More recently, in the last 2000 years, Jesus and Mohammed arose as  the latest Abrahamic prophets.  In the East, Buddism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism were established.

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls document some of the earliest stories recognizing Abraham as a founding prophet.

From 25AD to 1400 AD, the Middle Ages were marked by  a series of conflicts between rulers from different religions. It started with Roman emperors taking over most of Europe and the Middle East at  the  zenith of the Roman empire. Waves of Christian and Islamic invasions followed. The rulers demonstrated their power and religiosity through progressively more spectacular cathedrals. Culminating with the Gothic masterpieces in Isle de Paris, Winchester, Rouen etc. The church of Sainte Chappelle in the Isle de France Paris, was designed to upstage  Aachen Cathedral, in turn to upstage the  Basilica San Vitale. The first signs of protections for  individual rights appeared In England with the Magna Carta.  Samarkand, in Uzbekistan north of Iran, became the center of Islamic scholarship. 

 

Meanwhile, the sun worshipping civilizations in the Americas (Aztecs, Incas, Mayans) were building substantial temples. Also Hindu temples were being built in India and Cambodia (Ankor Wat).  Polynesians were taking over in the Pacific, and the Buddist Golden Temple in Kyoto was built.  In China, there were  numerous struggles between local warlords.  From 618-907 AD, the Tang dynasty was a golden age of Chinese civilization, a prosperous, stable, and creative period with significant developments in most notably printing. Buddhism became the predominant religion. Chang'an (modern Xi'an), the national capital, was the largest city in the world during its time.

By 1400AD, the worlds beliefs centered around a few mass religions. Abrahamic Christianity and Islam dominated life from Europe to Pakistan.

 

 

 

The Renaissance Papacy lasted from 1473 to the 1530's. In the early 1400's, the Black Death ravaged Europe,  and the control of Christianity  consolidated around the popes in Rome, where the papacy became something of a family business. The families sponsored a flourishing arts, architecture and humanities scene.  In addition, there was a liberal attitude to religious dogma. "Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it."[8] Several of the Renaissance popes took mistresses, fathered children, engaged in intrigue, and even murder.[10]  At least 2 popes appear to have never celebrated mass.   In this environment, there were no religious barriers to considering scientific explanations for the world around us. Leonardo DaVinchi, Copernicus thrived with new ideas. 

The Reformation in  the 1530's was the doctrinaire reaction that resulted in the fracturing of Christianity into multiple  Protestant sects and Catholicism. In 1538, Henry 8th created the Church of England. The persecution of Galileo was brief attempt to re-establish religious orthodoxy. The Puritans were purist form of Protestantism that sought to purge Catholic-like practices.

The American Revolution in 1776 launched a first state that did not have a national religion. Since the industrial revolution there has been a trend toward more secular societies world -wide, although a majority still claim a religious belief but a minority regularly go church.  The 1925 Scopes Monkey trial in the US was another failing effort to re-establish religious dogma. Today it is generally accepted that there is no inherent conflict between religion and science. The religious community are attempting to influence the  ongoing culture wars, especially in Islamic States.  

Today most people still identify as  religious, however regular attendance has dropped to 25% of the US population. 

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TIME SCALES

Universe                        1year

Earth                              3mo

Life                                 2.5mo

Dino's lasted                4 days

Oil created                    5 days 

To evolve from apes   7 hrs 

Homo Sapiens so far 10mins

Human history            30secs

1000 years                      3secs

I year                                3msec