The Development Of Religions In Ancient Civilizations In Relation To The Fear Of Death

1019 words - 4 pages

Religion played a major role and had a great portion of interest and involvement in the daily life of ancient cilvilizations alike.Infact, many aspects of life such as the night and day cycle, floods, wars, birth and death were important factors that created the feeling of superpowers which controlled the life of ancient civilizations.Death, was one of the greatest fears among all of them and the search for IMMORTALITY developed the humankind's thought of religion.By immortality is ordinarily understood the doctrine that the human soul will survive death, continuing in the possession of an endless conscious existence. Together with the question of the existence of God, it forms the most momentous issue with which philosophy has to deal. It belongs primarily to rational or metaphysical psychology and the philosophy of religion, though it comes also into contact with other branches of philosophy and some of the natural sciences.For instance, in the ancient civilizaition of Egypt, people had a great belief that their gods had total control in all aspects of their life as well as death. They viewed the sun's daily ascent in the east as symbolic of god's "rebirth"; his daily resurrection signified the victory of the forces of day, light, purity, goodness, and life over those of night, darkness, ignorance, evil and death.In the cyclical regularity of nature evidence by the daily rising and setting of the sun, the ancient Egyptians preceived both the inevitability of death and the promise of birth.Further more, dipictions of their rituals on the walls of Egyptian temples and tombs show the pharaoh recieving from Amon the gift of immortality on the form of ankh, the hieroglyphic symbol meaning "life".Also, the Osiris myth that the ancient Egyptians believed in vividly describes the idea of resurection, which means raising from the dead.The promise of life after death seems to have dominated at all levels of Egyptian culture.Within the Mespotamians beliefs, the fear of death also existed and the the search for immortality and ever-lasting life formed basis of religion. For example, the mospotamian history mentions that:"Despairing over Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh undertakes a long hazardous quest in search of everlasting life.He meets Utnspishtim, a mortal whom gods have rewarded with eternal life for having saved humankind from a devistating flood. Utnapishtim helps Gilgamesh locate the plant that mystreiously restores lost youth" .The Greeks seem to have been among the first to attempt systematic philosophical treatment of the question of immortality. Belief in a future life is clear in Homer, though the character of that existence is vague.Pindar's conception of immortality and of its retributive character is more distinct and also more spiritual. The Pythagoreans are vague and tinctured by Oriental Pantheism, though they certainly taught the doctrine of a future life and of metempsychosis.We have not definite texts defining Socrates' view, but it seems...

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