WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Religion is probably the biggest divider in world history, but for those that believe in God it is central to our existence. Share your views.
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WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Anonymous20 » September 29th, 2004, 7:08 pm

A friend and i were disacussing this the other day, but it really is hard to tell. The only thing i know for sure, is that it was Polytheist, and revoled around Nature, and maybe the Sun, Anybody wanna take a stab at it?

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Lonewolf » September 29th, 2004, 7:14 pm

Well what to written records show ?

Which are the oldest scriptures of all ?

Lets exclude cavemen sh*t, and nature lovey duby stuff for arguments sake.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Anonymous20 » September 29th, 2004, 10:40 pm

I'm not real sure on that, but i'll make a guesstimation (my own word) i would think like i said, it would be polytheism, in what form, i'm not sure i mean, you have the wiccans, but that is a combination of many ancient faiths

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by CHRIS » September 29th, 2004, 11:03 pm

XX..

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by nofx » September 30th, 2004, 9:01 am

Judiasm

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 9:31 am

the oldest religion still in practice I think is Zaroastrianism. It is a Monothiestic religion that predates judaism by almost 1000 years. Similar to Christianity. There are still around 10,000 people still practicing it in Iran. As for no longer in practice, I don't think we even would know such a thing. There was religion before there was written language, so the first wouldn't have even left a record for us.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Kemosave » September 30th, 2004, 11:34 am

Oh contrar.. and I shall argue differently shortly. :).

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Anonymous20 » September 30th, 2004, 11:40 am

Where whould you put the ancient faiths, like the worship of other gods?, i was think Freemasonry too, because when you look at it, that is a religion, and a secret society at the same time, but an open secret society.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 1:44 pm

anurwarizra wrote:Where whould you put the ancient faiths, like the worship of other gods?, i was think Freemasonry too, because when you look at it, that is a religion, and a secret society at the same time, but an open secret society.


freemasons believe in the christian god.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 1:47 pm

Kemosave wrote:Oh contrar.. and I shall argue differently shortly. :).



well, like I said, I think. There might be an older religion still being practiced, but I cannot think of one. It's been a while since I studied this. I could probably find the answer in my old textbooks. There were plenty of older religions, many of them now considered mythology, but I don;t think anyone still practices any of them. But if you know better, just let me know.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Anonymous20 » September 30th, 2004, 3:21 pm

If you look at the rituals practiced within the Mason halls, they are thoroughly Pagan, they profess christianity to the public, but it's a different story behind closed doors

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 3:42 pm

my grandfather was a mason. They are wholly christian in as far as they believe in the christian god, they just do not always agree with the bible, or organized churches. They are really not a religious organization. They are more of a traditional secret society, but they are all christians. They do hold onto some pagen rituals, but as we have discussed earlier, so do the christians and catholics, they also have adopted pagan rituals.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 3:47 pm

but either way, it's off topic because freemasonry didn;t come about until after judaism and christianity, so they are obviously not the oldest religion, or even a religion at all.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Anonymous20 » September 30th, 2004, 3:57 pm

WHat about Wicca, as it appears today, True religion, or a patchwork?

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 4:49 pm

anything anyone believes in is a true religion, as long as someone has faith in it, but it is a fairly new religion. It is based on old ways, but definately a new incarnation of nature worship.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Anonymous20 » September 30th, 2004, 5:10 pm

Like i had said, it seems like a patchwork of various polytheis faiths, like the worship of the greek, norse, egyptian and babylonian gods is included within the umbrella of wicca

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Lonewolf » September 30th, 2004, 6:56 pm

We can all speculate this or that, from cave paintings, archeology, or what have you. But since "writting" is the best record of human history, I am curious to know "which are the oldest scriptures" in regards to the ritual of worship ? Because part of the question deals with "still in practice", and unless you go caveman or naturalist on me, you would have to stick with one from the establishment, 10-4 ?

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » September 30th, 2004, 7:23 pm

exactly. like I said, I think it's zaroastrianism, kemo said he disagrees, I'll wait unti he speaks, and if I get off my lazy ass, I'll look at my old textbooks.


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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 1st, 2004, 7:57 am

Capo wrote:http://www.crystalinks.com/sumereligion.html


not still in practice.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Kemosave » October 1st, 2004, 8:12 am

I don't think it can be established which religion is the oldest in the world.

Historians speak of pre-history and history. The dividing line is the invention of writing. There was religion before writing, so we don't know much about it. Writing was invented, say, 5000BC.

At Catal Huyuk, (pronounced "chatAL hooyook), in western Turkey they have excavated one of the earliest towns ever found. Several dwellings have bull heads built into the walls. They believe that this is evidence of a religious cult.

Cult, in this sense, means formalized religious rituals and beliefs. Not Jehova's Witnesses, etc.

So, I would say that the oldest religious act that we have record of are the sacrifices of Cain and Able, but Moses was certainly not writing as an eye-witness.

So, I guess the answer is we don't know. But it isn't Zoroastrianism. That one doesn't come along until there are Persians.

The earliest records we have are of Mesopotamian Polytheism.

There are, however, strong arguments that Polytheism arose from an original Monotheism.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 1st, 2004, 9:01 am

no kemo, I don't mean that zaroastrianism was oldest, but the oldest still being practiced today. that was the question, no?

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Kemosave » October 1st, 2004, 2:22 pm

Ahh ok I see now.

Mankind is by nature prone to "religious" ideas that something or someone greater than he exists independent of him. Therefore, other "religions" existed prior to Zorastrianism. (Of course, when we assert our claim that "Adam" had the oldest religion, which incidently is consistently passed down through the Hebrew scripture, we understand this needs to be supported by good biblical apologetics; both external and internal supporting evidence).

When folks speak of "the oldest religion," they are usually speaking of the oldest for which they have written records. I know of no records that predate the flood. Zoroastrianism cannot possibly "predate Judaism by 1000 years" because Zoroaster (Zarathustra) was thought to have been born about 628 BC). If you define Judaism as that which came out of Babylon then his religion could only predate it by a few years and if you define "Judaism" as what existed prior to the Babylonian exile then Judaism predates Zoroastrianism by at least 900 years. The definitions I can find say that Judaism is "The religious doctrines and rites of the Jews as enjoined in the laws of Moses. --J. S. Mill." making Judaism the oldest recorded monotheistic religion.

Rough Timeline: 2,085 BC = Judaism, 1,500 BC = Hinduism, 560 BC = Buddhism, 550 BC = Taoism, 628 BC = Zoroastrianism, 599 BC = Jainism, 30 AD = Christianity, 50-100 AD = Gnosticism, 150-250 AD = Modalism (Monarchianism)–Sabellius, Praxeus, Noetus, Paul of Samosata, 325 AD. -After being persecuted for almost 200 years Constantine made Christianity a legal religion, compromise enters, 590 AD = Roman Catholicism -Developed after Constantine, 610 AD = Islam -*.

Now, Cosmos Chaos and the world to Come by Norman Cohn says "According to a Zoroastrian tradition the prophet lived 258 years before Alexander, which would place him in the middle of the sixth cent B.C. and this has been accepted by some eminent scholars. However the tradition in question has been shown to derive from a late calculation based on a greek fiction**. For more than a hundred years linguistic and archeological evidence has been accumulating in favour of the alternate view-which is that Zoroaster lived in a far earlier period, some time between 1500 and 1200 B.C., when the Iranains were still settled pastoralists rather than farmers*. Zoroasters own liturgical hymns,the Gathas abound in references to the instsitutions, customs technology and ways of thought of the traditional pastoral society-where as not a single similie is drawn from agriculture."

**Norman Cohn provides references in the bibliography.

So if the Cohn is correct you have to move Zoroasterism up to between 1500 and 1200 BC.

*Although a standard Muslim claim says the Quran has no textual variations, this is in fact incorrect. No one original manuscript of the Quran ever existed, since Muhammad (c. 570-632 A.D.) didn't write any of it. Instead various followers wrote scattered revelations on whatever material came to hand, including pieces of papyrus, tree bark, palm leaves and mats, stones, the ribs and shoulder blades of animals, etc. Otherwise, they memorized them. These disparate materials were susceptible to loss: Ali Dashti, a Islamic statesman, said animals sometimes ate mats or the palm leaves on which Suras (chapters of the Quran) were written! After his death, Muhammad's revelations were gathered together to eliminate the chaos. (Even Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church did better than this: The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today possesses the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon). To solve the problems of conflicting memories and possibly lost or varying written materials, Caliph Uthman (ruled 644-56) had the text of the Quran forcibly standardized. He commanded manuscripts with alternative readings to be burned. But he didn't fully succeed, since variations are still known to have existed and some still do. The Sura Al-Saff had 200 verses in the days of Muhammad's later wife Ayesha, but Uthman's version had only 52. Morey says Shiite Muslims claim Uthman cut out a quarter of the Quran's verses for political reasons. In his manuscript of the Quran, Ubai had a few Suras that Uthman omitted from the standardized version. Arthur Jeffrey, in his Materials for the History of the Text of the Quran, gives 90 pages of variant readings for the Quran's text, finding 140 alone for Sura 2. When the Western scholar Bertrasser sought to photograph a rare Kufic manuscript of the Quran which had "certain curious features" in Cairo, the Egyptian Library suddenly withdrew it, and denied him access to it.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 1st, 2004, 3:53 pm

what little I have read on Zaroastrianism has all pointed to the latter. 1500 BC seems about right. Although I will have to go back to my books on the judaism timeline, I don't buy the 200BC date. I would have put it less than 1000bc from what I remember, but might be wrong. I'll double check. As for Adam having the first religion, that is thin. That is basing a historical argument on a story that has humans living 900 years. We'll skip that. As for the argument that there were no written records before the flood, come on man. The flood never happened as described in the bible, and I thought as a seemingly educated man you would have aknowledged this. The only evedince for any flood that could have resembled that was in the caspian (or aral sea), can't rembmer which, and they estimate that the sea almost doubled in size over a season. So yes, it was a HUGE flood, and for the people in the area who had no idea of the size of the earth thought that the earth flooded, but there was NEVER A FLOOD THAT COVERED THE EARTH IN WATER. EVER. CAN BE SCIENTIFICALLY DISPROVEN. The last time that the entire planet was mostly under water or Ice was before the dinosaurs, and millions and millions of years before Adam (if he existed) ever could have been born(or magically created). So, this flood would not have destroyed all preflood writings (if any existed)

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Kemosave » October 1st, 2004, 4:20 pm

You assume much. My dates are correct and can be confirmed by the scholars who gave them. As for the flood, I simply used the term as a historical indicator within the discussion here. You don't really know what I believe regarding it except for what I gave you in a previous post where I stated:

"When someone says the Bible needs to be take cum grano salis they reveal that they know little of the literature itself, nor how we authentic Christians use it. Example: is the Christian life changed one bit by whether or not there was a worldwide flood in actual history? No. Irrespective to the historical fact of whether the flood was a regional or not event is the spiritual truth conveyed in the story. Is the flood story a retelling of the story of Utnapishtim? Maybe (though the prevalence of flood narratives in ancient lit and the similarity of these two combined with other proofs seem to indicate an actual event), but it's retold with such rich literary genius to a people in captivity who needed the message surreptitiously hidden in chiasmic structure of the story that if the retelling wasn't inspired by God it should have been. Utnapishtim's story is second rate by comparison, a story meant to explain why babies die in childbirth. Compare this with all its similarities to the flood narrative in the Bible and the spiritual qualities of the Noah story should be evident. Now if one says, "there was never a flood, the Bible should be taken with a grain of salt" they just missed the real purpose of the story. First, there probably was a flood of some magnitude, and second it requires a more mature person reading the account than this. But we should really be dealing with the philosophical heart of the matter that leads us to deal with the moral implications of a transcendent God."

If you find that discussing the flood is material, I will be happy to discuss the flood with you. All you need do is say go. :).

I'm going to want your sources on the dates you assert Panik so be sure to include them in your posts. I often do and am happy to provide them in detail when asked. You know that there is no way I'm going to let you get away with saying I'm wrong when my sources are accurate and then give dates that aren't accurate without sources. Dig?

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 3rd, 2004, 10:39 pm

Busy weekend. I didn;t look into the beginnings of judaism, but nbefore I waste my time, what exactly do you mean by judaism? Are you saying that the story of adam was being told and all the informaiont of the old testament? That there were Rabbi's and kids were getting batmitzvah'd? Or do you mean that a couple of these ideas may have been around, but not yet in a cohesive religions. That is what I don;t know about. I don't think that judaism actually existed, but maybe some of the ideas that might have eventually turned into judaism existed. As for the flood, I think you just answered me. As long as you don;'t think that people liveed 900 years, and that a flood actually covered the entire earth, and the only people or animals that survived were the ones on the arc, then we're OK and don't need to debate that. Wasn't sure what kind of christian you were. Many I have run into say that the bible is the infalable word of god, and becasue of this, the arc story must be 100% true, and people lived 900 years and so on. As long as we can agree that some of these things are/were exaggerations for the sake of a god story, then we can skip it.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Lonewolf » October 5th, 2004, 4:58 am

Sidetracking a little, people living to be 900 years and the earth covered by water has some scientific support to it. It has to do with a layer of water gases surrounding the earth and protecting it from the sun more so that our current atmosphere does today. It slowed down considerably the aging in Man. This same water layer was composed from the original waters covering the face of the earth as it is written in Genesis, before the dry land came forth / sprung up from beneath the top waters from the earths interior - water as they say is "life".

Anyways back to the topic at hand. 8)

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 5th, 2004, 7:27 am

there is no scientific support for that at all. We can really get into this if you want, but let me just state one fact first. It don't matter what kind of vapors are blocking the sun, you can take a smalle shild and screen him from the sun his entire life and he won't live 900 years. That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to continuem just let me know.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Kemosave » October 5th, 2004, 3:04 pm

Panik wrote:Busy weekend. I didn;t look into the beginnings of judaism, but nbefore I waste my time, what exactly do you mean by judaism? Are you saying that the story of adam was being told and all the informaiont of the old testament? That there were Rabbi's and kids were getting batmitzvah'd? Or do you mean that a couple of these ideas may have been around, but not yet in a cohesive religions. That is what I don;t know about. I don't think that judaism actually existed, but maybe some of the ideas that might have eventually turned into judaism existed. As for the flood, I think you just answered me. As long as you don;'t think that people liveed 900 years, and that a flood actually covered the entire earth, and the only people or animals that survived were the ones on the arc, then we're OK and don't need to debate that. Wasn't sure what kind of christian you were. Many I have run into say that the bible is the infalable word of god, and becasue of this, the arc story must be 100% true, and people lived 900 years and so on. As long as we can agree that some of these things are/were exaggerations for the sake of a god story, then we can skip it.


As I stated above, "If you define Judaism as that which came out of Babylon then his religion could only predate it by a few years and if you define "Judaism" as what existed prior to the Babylonian exile then Judaism predates Zoroastrianism by at least 900 years. The definitions I can find say that Judaism is "The religious doctrines and rites of the Jews as enjoined in the laws of Moses. --J. S. Mill." Whether or not you accept the fact that Judaism is the oldest recorded monotheistic religion in no way diminishes the fact that it is.

God is infallable and his word is infallable however man is very fallable. It's amazing how accurate our modern text proves out. That's not what I'm talking about. Your telephone argument doesn't wash with the Bible. Too many digs have turned up so many early manuscripts that synch up. Let me give you an example to explain what I am talking about. Take the Genesis account of the world being created in six days. Now for some reason men began to teach that meant six literal days our time. Well.. that's not what the original language says though. The word day can be translated as EPOCH or a period of time. So you have all these fools running around insisting the entire universe was created in six literal days when that is not what the Bible says at all.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 5th, 2004, 3:27 pm

not sure what you mean by the telephone argument, but correct me if I'm wrong, but Moses lived in the 13th century BC. So if Judaism hinges on the laws of moses, which I take to be a decent starting point, since without moses, there were no 10 commandments, and the religion just was not the same thing before this, then Zaroastrianism could very well be 200 years older. I don't think we will ever know for sure, but I will call it a draw, that it could be either one tied for 2nd place. Although like I said before, I do not aknowledge Judaism as being around 2000 bc as you stated earlier. So this actually puts Hinduism as the oldest, and either Judaism or Zaroastrianism came next.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Kemosave » October 7th, 2004, 1:51 pm

You had brought that up in an earlier discussion but nevermind about it as it doesn't materially apply to the Bible.

There is debate over the date of Moses. Some evangelical scholars date the Exodus at about 1440BC and argue for it. Liberal scholars tend to date it in the 1200's or 1300's.

However, both systems of reckoning presuppose that the dates for Egyptian dynasties are absolutely reliable. That is widely believed, but not conclusively proved.

As to Hinduism being 2000 years old. Hinduism as we know it today is not 2000 years old. However, the Vedic traditions, and possibly scriptures could well be that old. They came to India with aryans who invaded India in ancient times.

One of my scholarly friends says that he doesn't think one can argue that Judaism is the oldest religion and therefore the "truest" because Judaism begins with Moses...but Abraham wasn't a Israelite. He was an inhabitant of Mesopotamia that lived around 2000 BC or a few centuries earlier.

The Abrahamic faith was the original revealed religion...but we don't have any documents from that time. It is described in Romans 4 and Galatians, but we don't have biblical writings contemporary with Abraham.

Neverthless, I am holding to defining Judaism as that which came out of Babylon or what existed prior to the Babylonian exile for the purposes of this discussion.

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Re: WHat is the Worlds Oldest Religion, still in Practice?

Unread post by Panik » October 7th, 2004, 2:54 pm

well, go ahead, but like I said, I don't buy it. A jew without moses is like a christian without jesus, not possible. The jews were still practicing animal sacrifice back then, not really what I would call judaism. But oh well, do we ever agree?

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