Agrarian Magic: 20 Theories on the Origin of Religion

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Agrarian Magic:
20 Theories on the Origin of Religion Religion is a species-specific human universal phenomenon, complex, full of paradoxes, and found in all cultures. Social scientists and anthropologists since the late 17th century have attempted to rationally answer questions about religion, and while we can't evaluate the veracity of religion’s claims, we can attempt to understand its functions. The methods of comparative religion, comparative mythology, with interdisciplinary analysis throughout the fields of ethnography, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, and linguistics have made a lot of progress in the last 100 years, with a boom of database-driven analysis in the last decade. There are a number
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According to Spencer the ghosts of ancestors were transformed into gods (1):" "Using the phrase ancestor worship in its broadest sense, as comprehending all worship of the dead, be they of the same blood or not, we conclude that ancestor worship is the root of every religion (Spencer 1873:422)." Ancestor worship is closely related to soul worship and belief in spiritual entities, agents, or beings, and although one doesn’t preclude the other, it would do us well to note that one doesn’t necessitate the other, either (Henning 1898:375). In Jericho, a plastered-over human skull gives us the first physical indication of explicit ancestor worship and totemization, dated to approximately 8000 years ago (Lamb 2012:85). Henning agrees that soul and ancestor worship are the start of historical religion, and cites the German scholar Bernhard Stade in agreement with his views on ancient Israeli religious beliefs: "It is probable that ancestor worship is by all means the oldest stage of the belief in spiritual beings, and that from this belief originated the primitive conceptions of the state of man after death. Thence it comes that the oldest social divisions of mankind, the family and the gens, have doubtless originated with many peoples from the worship of ancestors (Stade 1888:406)." Is idolizing an ancestor the same as appeasing a spirit? 6.
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