The Basic Elements of Ancient Religions

Topics: Religion, God, Human Pages: 2 (679 words) Published: August 27, 2008
In order to correctly, and more importantly, accurately discuss the basic elements of ancient religions, one needs to unravel the complex word that is “religion”. Before I carry on, the reader must understand that over history, there have been many different translations of religion, but interestingly enough, although they may be different, the majority of the translations carry the same fundamental message. According to many religious scholars over the many millennia of recorded religious history, the etymology of the term “religion” is accredited as being Latin or Late Latin in origin (“religonem”, or “relegare” depending on which school of thought you come from), with the modern English term being derived from the Anglo-French word “religiun” meaning “state of life, bound to monastic vows” or “conduct indicating a belief in a divine power”. However, many post-Classic etymologists (and some modern ones) have connected “religion” with the Latin word “religare” which means “to bind fast” or “to reconnect”. This explanation might seem irrelevant for this topic, but I feel it is a crucial part of the history that is “religion” and therefore is crucial to the elements that make up “religion”. If one looks deeper into the prehistoric psyche of earliest man, one finds that the very earliest forms of religion are a result of the following of man’s basic social and psychological needs: •Understanding – the human traits of critical capacity, curiosity, and intuition •Identity – the need to belong to something and the elevation of one’s self-esteem The first basic element of religion is the belief that there are supernatural and/or superhuman beings and/or forces that created the world and those forces control everything that happens within the world. This “belief” satisfies the human being’s need for understanding – the understanding of his own existence, the understanding of the creation of himself and the world he lives in and the understanding of the uncontrollable...
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