Egyptian Religion Essay

4353 words - 17 pages

The Egyptians had a very influential religion that can be analyzedusing the five elements of religion. The characteristics of the AncientEgyptian's religion can be divided into the five elements of religion:authority, faith, rituals, moral code, and concept of the deity.First, the authority of the Egyptian religion. The main authority of theEgyptian religion was the Pharaoh, he had divine right over the people andwas considered a god. Also, he could change the religion any way hewanted, for example in the 14th century BC Akhenaton, the Pharaohoutlawed all gods but Aton, who was the sun god, and this became the firstmonotheistic religion in history, but it was short lived, for when he died thenew Pharaoh overruled the law and restored the other gods. The EgyptiansSacred literature was the "Book of the Dead" which consisted of 42"negative confessions" , spells and prayers. Here is a excerpts from the"Book of the Dead"1. I have not acted sinfully toward me2. I have not oppressed the members of my family3. I have not done wrong instead of what is right4. I have known no worthless folk(Encarta '96)Their were also what we would call "Priests" who sold the people 'magical'items that they said would ensure the dead people a way into heaven.Therefore, the authority of the Egyptian religion was controlled heavily bythe government.Second, the Egyptians Faith was an important characteristic of theirreligion. First, they believed that the Pharaoh was a god, and what he spokebecame law. The Egyptians worshipped almost every form of life, theworshipped trees, water, animals, and even vegetables. The Egyptians alsobelieved that a person had 2 souls, the ba and the ka, which left the body atdeath and then returned later to the body. The Egyptians believed thatmummification make sure the ba and the ka would find the body when theyreturned to the body to transport it to the underworld. The Egyptians alsobelieved that they were the 'cattle of the gods', and were controlled by them.They also believed that the gods owned all the land, so they sold all theircrops at the temples. Furthermore, their idea of heaven was that it was inthe milky way, that stood for a fertile Nile and where good crops grew everyyear. Their belief in a hell was that the soul was devoured by a savageanimal called the 'Devourer of Souls' and then thrown into a pit of fire. TheEgyptians believed that what was placed in a person's tomb was what theywould have in the afterlife, so they stocked their tombs full of items, such aswar chariots, tables, chairs, and for the king, his throne. Their were evengods and goddesses for Ancient Egyptian cites. Also, the Egyptians believedthat no mater what the Pharaoh did, he was entitled to a afterlife. TheEgyptians spent most of their lives preparing for the afterlife and a oneEgyptologist put it:The dead man is at one and the same time in heaven, in thegod's boat, under the earth, tilling the Elysian fields, and in histomb enjoying his victuals (Casson...

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