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Native Religion?

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posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 01:01 AM
My questions to you, ATSers, are:

-Do you think the current (and historical) religions are native to humankind? If not, where do you think they came from?
-Do you believe humankind has a native religion(s), if so, what?

I've read a lot of differing information in books and on threads here and other places.
I'd love to hear your take on the idea of Native Religion!
Just remember a person's religious belief is well, personal! In other words, please let everyone have the same say on freedom of belief you've been given here.

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 01:16 AM
reply to post by TravellingFool

Of course they're native to humanity. Just 'cause we're capable of cooking up some really, really weird stuff (especially when enjoying the help of our friends in the plant and fungi kingdoms) doesn't mean they're "foreign."

For your second question, probably some form of nature worship, followed shortly by a precursor to shamanism.

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 07:44 AM
I think that even if a religion was passed down to humans by gods or aliens sometime in the past, it has been twisted and perversed into barely resembling the original story. So in a way, it would have become more native than foreign. Even people these days will have their holy books or even political documents right in front of them and interpret them to whichever way benefits them most.

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 08:02 AM
reply to post by TravellingFool

Yes, I believe any type of religious institution is influenced by something or someone. The closet to this planets most natural religious system would be that of Native Americans. Any time there is worship outside the planet and or worship of deities/gods an outside influence is present.

Until humanity starts to take religion and see it for what it is, which is a social stratification system, there is no hope. Humanity must look within, not without. They must take responsibility for their own actions and not rely on outside forces to forgive them. Humanity must realize that we are part of this planets ecologic system, not above it.

I do personally believe religion was used as a control mechanism for people, an interesting time when this became prevalent was during the Sumerian time. Do I think there was a alien or outside world influence. YES!
Do I think humanity and our DNA has been influenced. YES!
The key is to realize we are above the influence, which is only done by choice.

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 08:54 AM
Thank you all so far on the replies.
Each one of you made some really great, thought-filled points.

Keep it coming!

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 09:38 AM
reply to post by TravellingFool

The closest thing we have to a 'native religion' is the archetypal setup of the human lifecycle transcribed into myth. We don't have an inbuilt conception of the supernatural, but the religions of this planet are of this planet. It's kind of clear at this point.

posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 10:01 AM

Originally posted by TravellingFool
My questions to you, ATSers, are:

-Do you think the current (and historical) religions are native to humankind?

Do you mean "created by humans"? If so, yes.

Do you believe humankind has a native religion(s), if so, what?

Do you mean "an inherent version of religion that is universal to all humans"? If so, no.

Speaking strictly as an anthropologist who has read about, lived in, and studied many cultures, the "belief practices" (which can include religion) of a people reflect the social and political structure of that group. Hence, in the Siberian tribes with little formal structure, the spirits of power (deities) are "animistic" -- everything has a spirit and can be treated as friend or foe. No great sky mother or sky father or formal collective of deities. This is true historically of many other groups -- before missionaries and modern culture came in. Any person could take on any role they wanted ("Mugah will lead the building of the canoe, Usan will lead the children to the harvest area, Curgh will lead the hunt but tomorrow Usan will lead the hunt and Mugah will harvest" (etc)) -- spirits might lead in something but there wasn't an official leader. Ritual appeals to these spirits help the community act as a whole.

Once people start to live in organized groups (villages, formal tribes, etc) with leaders and a division of roles, belief practices become "codified" -- in other words, "Ra is in charge of the sun and by the way he makes things grow." As governing systems become more complex, the gods still reflect the society. China, with its great emperor and thousands of court officials for minutae and scholars is reflected in the view of the Heavenly Emperor and beings who took care of inute things. The social idea that even the poor could ascend to the ranks of an imperial favorite if they became a scholar is reflected in the religious view that even a humble man can become a minor god. In Medieval Europe, they had a similar complex view of heaven (with thrones, principalities, angels, archangels, cherubim, etc) that reflected king/princes/various ranks of nobles/knights, etc. Since there was no "transition class" whereby someone could rise from one level to another, the heavenly structure was fixed. People could become saints but not deities.

Native American beliefs among the Plains Indians (who lived in bands and tribes) was animistic (becoming traditional ultra-Protestant after missionaries came in and their whole society collapsed as they were shuffled onto reservations during the Ghost Dance era. Their totems and medicines could not help them cope with the society of their European conquerers.) Beliefs of the Northwest Coast Indians and the East Coast Indians and the Southwest (who all lived in formal villages and had various social structures) were not quite as animistic and the deities had more of a structure.

I can't think of a single case where the society was a loose band of people (untouched by missionary contact) who had an elaborate single-deity structure. All the ones I know about were more animistic.

This changes, as I said, once other people come into contact with them and they find that their rituals and so forth are inadequate in the face of the more powerful people.

For the curious, some short scholarly articles about the evolution of religion:

There's much more to this, and I haven't done much reading on the topic in a very long time so some of this may have been invalidated by newere and better research.
edit on 18-3-2011 by Byrd because: (no reason given)

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