The Axial age, death, religion, human progress, and what it means to be human. The Axial age, death, religion, human progress, and what it means to be human. | allnurses

The Axial age, death, religion, human progress, and what it means to be human.

  1. 1

    This is meant to be a philosophical discussion about humanity. The topics I am interested in are death, the concept of an afterlife, and human progress in general.

    The Axial age, death, religion, human progress, and what it means to be human.

    I will post links with more information about what I think are significant developments in human history as I have learned them. I am also interested in other peoples perspective. THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE A DEBATE! Rather a place where people can post about our history, theology, hopes after death, dealing with death, human civilization, and what it means to be human.

    So here goes I will summarize what the axial age was. For those of you not aware the axial age was a period of time in history beginning around three thousand years ago when religion, philosophy, and ethics began to change drastically. From Judaism, to confucsiam there was a philosophical, and theological revolution that continued for hundreds of years. I think the tenants of the new theology can best be summarized as follows do good for goodness sake that is what the divine powers want, and treat others the way you want to be treated. Today we take these tenants for granted, but it wasn't always so in human history. They are actually quite new in the history of our species, and spread incredibly rapidly even by human concepts of time.

    The previous notions had been of deities very much like humans subjects to greed, and imperfection. The only true difference between them and us was the level of power, lifespan, and knowledge. This was abruptly challenged by the axial age with philosophers like Socrates, plato, Confucius, the prophets of Judaism, Buhda,, and many more. It continued with notable religious figures such as Jesus, and Mohamed for hundreds of years. It ushered in the age of monotheism, and the notion that the divine, whatever that divine is, or could be, wants us to be kind to each other. Today we see this notion pervasive in the majority of human theology, philosophy, and morality, but it wasn't always so.

    Previous notions of the afterlife, of gods, and religion where dominated by ideas of status, and hierarchy. The axial age ended all of that, and ushered in the foundation for the majority of the dominant religions, and philosophical, and moral philosophies today.

    Personally I am quite proud to be human. When you look at how far we have come technologically, morally, theologically, and basically on every level I think things are wonderful in comparison to how they used to be. Granted the world is still a dangerous place to live, but I see amazing progress in the species looking back into what we know of history to where we are today. I hope, and believe the trend of increased cooperation, morality, technological, and theological advancement will continue with the cavieat of gratitude to the peoples of old, who without whom this age of modernity would not be possible.

    I will not be disingenuous I am a secular humanist, and remain so after a very close brush with my own mortality. Still I think the evolution in theology, and breaking down of old dogma rather then be an argument against a higher power if anything would be an argument in favor of a higher power. After all what kind of world would this be if we had no room to grow, expand, make up our own minds, figure things out for ourselves, and better who we are?

    I have said this before, and it is part of the reason I am not a theist, I think we as humans look for what reflects our own morality in the divine. How many people rejected out of hand the amoral rapist god that is zeus today, but strive to achieve the level of morality that some of the leading religions offer today with the golden rule being do unto others as you would have done unto you. Yet Zeus, and the other amoral gods by our modern standards were believed to be real by countless people. This thought does not necessarily lend credence to the idea there is nothing divine about religion, but rather would express perhaps as many religions teach there is something divine in us we all long for, and strive for that this theological progression was both necessary and inevitable because of divine truth.

    The evolution of religion can be seen in the very holy books that so many read. This does not mean the holy books are wrong, but rather reflect our cultural, theological, and moral evolution as a species. I am actually incredibly proud of this, and do not necessarily think it is something that should be discarded lightly. I do think however they are not necessarily a requirement for a good, upstanding, and moral life. Nor do I believe they are entirely necessary for any type of moral salvation, but rather guideposts. This is just my personal opinion, and I could be grossly mistaken.

    Death is frightening. It is something I have faced in my life multiple times, and I have come to this personal conclusion. I no longer care what comes after, so long as I make the most of this life that is all that matters. I used to say hell was preferable to oblivion, eternal torment preferable to the cessation of consciousness. I no longer believe that. I don't know what fate awaits my consciousness after death, I am just profoundly glad to be a part of this life while I can. I no longer want a never ending life, I just want to live long enough to live a good one, so on my death bed I can say, you know what I would do it all again given half a chance. This is my morality, this is my philosophy if dying hopefully a long time from now I can say I would do it again, I can say I lived a good life, and that is what I want. This life, despite its horrors, frustrations, anxiety, and limitedness. All these things grant meaning to my life. If I ever get my BSN it will be in spite of the many things that have gone wrong in my life, and taste that much sweeter when I get it. Hopefully it will be just the start of a profoundly new journey in my life.

    I think in many ways a never ending life would be quite cruel, and on the same token so would eternal death. I hope neither is true, but rather there will be a time and place both to reconnect with old friends, family, and lovers. While also a time, and place to meet new people.

    This is just my perspective, what is yours?
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 25, '16
    Do you like this Article? Click Like?
  2. Visit honeyforasalteyfish profile page

    About honeyforasalteyfish, CNA

    From 'Nunya'; Joined Mar '15; Posts: 963; Likes: 2,083.

    Read My Articles

    8 Comments

  3. Visit  honeyforasalteyfish profile page
    #1 1

    The first is about the axial age, the second link is about ancient Egypt, and their perspective on the afterlife.

    I think I may find a new article about Egyptian religion as it goes into DMT, and Pseudo science at one point.
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 25, '16
  4. Visit  honeyforasalteyfish profile page
    #2 2

    Another interesting study on what it means to be human, and what motivates us. This study actually gives me hope for humanity.


    A study about empathy vs sympathy. I personally feel the same thing, the silver lining brings me no comfort. You will overcome, brings me amazing comfort.

    Some one telling me it could be worse, makes me want to punch something, some one telling me I have every faith you will take these lemons, and make lemonade is the kind of thing I want to hear.


    More studies on empathy, I will be doing more study about empathy, and the connection with religion soon.
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 25, '16
  5. Visit  CryssyD profile page
    #3 0
    Ancient religions are actually really interesting. I've always thought they tell us a lot about human beings, and nothing about God. The ancient Greek and Roman gods were so human in so many ways because the ancient people of the time simply couldn't conceive of anything BETTER than human, just bigger and stronger. The modern religious belief is that God revealed Himself to humanity at a certain point in human history, because, I guess, we just couldn't seem to figure it out for ourselves.

    I think this present age is a crucial period in human history, because religion is losing to secularism in many ways and places. I don't tend toward conventional/fundamentalist belief. but throwing religion overboard entirely always feels to me like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Religion has taught us some important things that modern society seems determined to obliterate--selflessness, self-sacrifice, loving others MORE than yourself, the value of poverty and going without, the idea that you exist only to serve...these are not bad values, these are LOST values, things the world seems determined to forget. Everything, in this country especially, is me, me, me. Everything is self-absorbed, self-focused, self-indulgent; people are dying trying to get the perfect selfie, for heaven's sake--in front of an oncoming train, a charging bull, a rushing waterfall--geez, isn't there more to life? I know lots of young people are service-oriented, but so many more are not, are only about me, me, me. Spirituality doesn't have to be connected to a church, but it is about being connected to something larger than yourself; and it is an essential component of humanity--you don't have to believe in God to be spiritual. Some of the most Christian people I've ever known were atheists--go figure. So who knows--maybe we'll be OK after all.
  6. Visit  daveq profile page
    #4 0
    It comes down to what's the truth
    Jesus said he was the way the truth and the life
  7. Visit  toomuchbaloney profile page
    #5 1
    Quote from daveq
    It comes down to what's the truth ������
    Jesus said he was the way the truth and the life
    My husband is a devout Christian and he believes this.

    I wonder why Christians, or Muslims, or Jews might believe that their all powerful God didn't speak a similar message to other peoples in other places at other times? A message which is, perhaps, expressed a bit differently because of the time and the place and the people.
    Last edit by toomuchbaloney on Aug 25, '16 : Reason: can't spell, need another beer
  8. Visit  daveq profile page
    #6 0
    Yes it is interesting

    All I know the Bible says it's a narrow road and few that find it

    Even though it's his will or desire that all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth

    God is a God of love and has given us a choice
    But most people chose the wide road

    I want to see all my friends and family come to Christ
  9. Visit  CryssyD profile page
    #7 1
    Quote from toomuchbaloney
    My husband is a devout Christian and he believes this.

    I wonder why Christians, or Muslims, or Jews might believe that their all powerful God didn't speak a similar message to other peoples in other places at other times? A message which is, perhaps, expressed a bit differently because of the time and the place and the people.
    Interesting question...and one we'll never be able to answer, unfortunately. However, we can consider the possibility that God DID reveal Himself to other peoples at other times, but initially only the ancient Hebrews were willing to accept Him as real. Other peoples continued to believe in multiple gods, and some still do.

    My personal view on world religions has always been that God is infinitely complex and cannot be truly understood by any one person, or even one religion. I think of the major religions as the blind men and the elephant: each one has only a piece of the whole, and while each insists that his particular piece is, in fact, the whole thing, every one of them has limited understanding. It's only when we are willing to combine forces, talk to each other (and listen to each other), and humbly accept that we are limited in understanding that we can start to comprehend the nature of God.
  10. Visit  honeyforasalteyfish profile page
    #8 0
    Quote from CryssyD
    Interesting question...and one we'll never be able to answer, unfortunately. However, we can consider the possibility that God DID reveal Himself to other peoples at other times, but initially only the ancient Hebrews were willing to accept Him as real. Other peoples continued to believe in multiple gods, and some still do.

    My personal view on world religions has always been that God is infinitely complex and cannot be truly understood by any one person, or even one religion. I think of the major religions as the blind men and the elephant: each one has only a piece of the whole, and while each insists that his particular piece is, in fact, the whole thing, every one of them has limited understanding. It's only when we are willing to combine forces, talk to each other (and listen to each other), and humbly accept that we are limited in understanding that we can start to comprehend the nature of God.
    I am familiar with this line of reasoning. In fact that was how the axial age was taught to me. It was when people started to move from polytheism to monotheism over a relatively short historical time period.

    Me I don't bother. Because I don't care. I have to live with myself. If I face judgement, and I am condemned well I want it to be for my ideas, and decisions. The reverse would also be true for me.

    So I tend to focus on other things.

close