Friday, June 12, 2009

Afterlife: Origins

I won't waste time on individual rationales. What difference does it make whether there are two destinations after death (e.g. Christian) or three (e.g. Norse). I see little value in comparing and contrasting the imagined details of insensible locations. Humans have created countless religions, all populated by spectacular persons and places, all reflecting the societies from which they arose. They are scattered along our historical trail, discarded each time to be replaced.

While I find the individual details of religions only of historic interest, I do have a facination with why they are created. Why does just that individual religion arise from just that society? More specifically, why does that society imagine that afterlife, why those specific details? Ideas of the afterlife find their origins in the minds of men, and they also, in the nature of the location described, reflects these same minds.

What does the nature of an afterlife tell us about its adherants?
What does an afterlife tell us about the needs, and societal stressors of its origin societies?

1 comment:

Marvin the Martian said...

Thanks for visiting my little corner, EG!

I think the interest in an afterlife is largely driven by a desire to escape from this one.

I think such interested people like to make up stories about how much better the afterlife is than this place.

And then I think megalomaniacal individuals who share that interest often work to turn it to their own ends, to convince others that those others must follow orders to attain that afterlife. In this way, religions are born.