posted on May, 5 2009 @ 10:57 PM
Good input, people, thanks for playing along...
I thought it would be an interesting question since its something that is hard to instantly google up a difimitive answer to.
I would definitly not count "Judaism" in and of itself as there are many forms of Judaism. If you could pick out a specific organizational structure
within the religion that has been existing for a long time, you might be on firmer ground. For example, there were ancient groups like "the
Pharasees" and the "Sanhedrin" (sp?) that were kind of scriptural and legal boards. If there is something in the religion like that that's been
around for that long, I suppose it would count. Don't know much about the fire-keepers metntioned, but that sounds interesting and certainly a
Tribes like the native Americans...hmmm...I actually did think of that and probably you could make a case for that as an ancient and still existing
organization, especially in terms of tribe leadership and initatory stuff. Being born into a tribe itself, I think, wouldn't count because that's
not a choice...a key componant of the definition of "organization" rather than, say, "ethnicity" is the fact that the former is something you have
to actively join. If tribes have initatory structures this might qualify...not sure...
I would definitely count stuff like that Japanese company mentioned (sad that it closed recently...).
It really does depend on where you draw the line. There does seem to be a fundamental difference to me between the notion of being a tribe member and
an *organization* like a specific church or company, but I'm not sure I can articulate it...If we are going to count tribes, I'd guess the most
ancient would be the Aboriginies of Australia rather than the New World native peoples. The former have been in Australia for at least 40,000 years,
while people "only" crossed over into the Western Hemisphere sometime maybe 15,000 years ago. Also, Indian, polynesian, and African stuff might be
worth checking out in this regard. Maybe we can have a couple of "layers" of answer...
[edit on 5/5/09 by silent thunder]