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Ancient Religious Beliefs: Prehistoric to 1500 BC - Research Paper Example

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Religious beliefs are strong beliefs in mystic powers that seemingly control human destiny. This portrays human characteristic in their worship of deity or deities, divine intervention, and the human life and values on which they choose to center their existence. …
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Ancient Religious Beliefs: Prehistoric to 1500 BC
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Download file to see previous pages It is, therefore, true to imply that religious beliefs focus on some exclusive ideas that lead to certain behaviors. From the prehistoric times to the Vedic period (around 1500 BC), certain areas of concern have been changing with major religions in the world playing party to different changes. As people evolve from one culture to the other, they have to either assimilate or transform their views and values to fit to those of the indigenous people. This may lead to the adoption of certain values and beliefs that would eventually change the way each religion was when first conceived. Certain beliefs and practices were transformed and were thus instrumental in forming many of the structures and practices that are currently either extinct or still in use. The period from prehistoric to the 1500 BC was an era that saw several changes within the religious beliefs of those that practiced the then present religions. Major world cultural areas adopted these changes based on their communities and their environments as well as their levels of civilization. Though civilization was not evenly spread out, religion still managed to thrive in most of the areas.
Veneration of the Dead
Many religions in the world still hold on to the belief that the dead continue to exist in the world and have a great influence on the fortune of those still alive. Many religions held the venerations as a way of ensuring their ancestors’ well-being and positive disposition towards those still alive in the world. They would also conduct this as a way of seeking special favors or assistance from their ancestors by begging them to show them what the future holds, or how certain issues can be solved. This was common amongst the native and indigenous religions mainly in the Native America, Middle East, especially India, and in Africa (Dubuisson, 2007). In ancient Egypt, one of the most civilized kingdoms at the time, the pyramids were taken as a symbol of devotion to the dead. To the Egyptians, the use of mummification was invoked by the ideology that the survival of the soul was always connected with the survival of the physical receptacle for the soul. They wanted the dead to enjoy their stay in the next world and also continue practicing the religious rituals even after they depart. They took a great deal of their time decorating and carefully constructing the tombs that their dead would be buried in and mummified to provide the soul with a resting place when they came back to the world (Onunwa, 2010). Those still alive would take most of their time in creating a script for the unprepared souls to help them traverse the Next World successful and allow them to come back in peace and bless their descendants. Though the other African religions did not mummify their dead, they always held them in high esteem and conducted rituals to appease them and seek for guidance on weighty issues that were generally important to not only the family, but also the community as a whole (Atran and Norenzayan, 2004). The ancient Romans on the other hand regarded the dead bodies as polluting the environment and thus cremation was common. Their cities were built within the walls and tombs were constructed outside the walls where ashes were placed after cremation. They carried out the festival of Parentalia as a devotion to the purification, propitiation for the malevolent spirits and veneration of the dead. This was a family affair aimed at honoring the dead where the family would share bread and wine as an offering to the dead at the cemetery and as a meal amongst them (Atran and Norenzayan, 2004). This was also a common trend amongst the Christians, of whom the Romans ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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