Mayan Culture vs. the Seven Dimensions of Religion
Since the dawn of humanity, human beings have been contemplating the meaning of life, searching for answers to make sense of their existence. Even ancient people tried to answer the same taunting questions about their purpose on earth and the questions about the world, which people nowadays search for. Thus, in seeking the answers, ancient people created religions, usually based on their understanding of cosmology. Cosmology is a general understanding of the nature of the universe and it usually served as a base to every ancient religion. Primal people lived and depended on nature and its gifts, thus their cosmology revolved around the harmony with nature. They tried to conserve the delicate balance of the world by respecting the earth and its inhabitants and their religion reflected their viewpoint of harmony in nature between all living things. One of the most ancient, yet famous religions that clearly demonstrates the primal religions is found in Mayan culture. The Maya are a native Mesoamerican people who lived across modern-day Mexico, Guatemala, and northern Belize in 250 AD and they developed one of the most sophisticated cultures in the Western Hemisphere. Mayan religion was characterized by the worship of nature gods, the importance of astronomy and astrology, rituals of human sacrifice, and the building of elaborate worship temples. Mel Gibson tried to capture the uniqueness of Mayan culture in his movie Apocalypto and he strives to compare the differences between their savage, more primitive religion and the religions of the modern world. As we see in the film, the Mayan culture and their religion were very different from ours, but despite the differences, can we call their religion viable? To explore the answer to this question, the Mayan religion should be compared to the elements that make up common religions, the Seven Dimensions of Religion, to discover if their religious points of view fall...
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