The Birth of Religions and Philosophies in the Ancient World

1174 Words5 Pages
The Birth of Religions and Philosophies in the Ancient World From the beginning of time, people all over the world have wondered where we come from, what our divine purpose in life is, and what we can expect after death. Questions about right and wrong, society and government, and nature and the cosmos, are some of the few wonders that ultimately created some of the earliest philosophies and religions, helping people find peace and explanation to the vast curiosity that still troubles us in modern times. From a technical standpoint, religion is defined as an everlasting devotion to a recognized higher being or entity, through a personal or formed practice of belief. Philosophy on the other hand, refers to the particular study of common and fundamental problems faced, such as in correlation with existence, reality, reason, values, knowledge, and language. In areas of Eurasia such as India and parts of Nepal, a collection of major religions that we know today began to form and flourish, finally establishing around 600 AD (O’Brien). It is here that Hinduism is acknowledged as the oldest religion to be established in the ancient world, with the philosophical teachings of Siddhartha Gautama following close behind. Hinduism by all means was a religion, and was characterized as being polytheistic, meaning that the believers worshiped many higher beings or deities, who were later considered to be aspects of one single god. Origins of this ancient religion were found in the Indus civilization, as well in some parts of the sacrificial cults of the Indo-Aryans who immigrated into the Indian subcontinent in 1500 BC. Sacred writings of the Hindu religion, called Vedas, gave significance and importance legends, myths, and hymns (O’Brien). T... ... middle of paper ... ...rded in human history which has not practiced some form of religion,” (Religion). The importance of this “birth” of religion and philosophy was crucial to the progress of ancient worlds, as it set in stone how each and every country would advance or prosper, with each offering something unique and different to the melting pot of cultural diversity and unification of people in the world. Works Cited "The Four Noble Truths." BBC News. BBC, 17 Nov. 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. . Mark, Joshua. "Religion." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited, 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. . O’Brien, Patrick. "The Birth Of World Religions." Atlas of world history. 2nd ed., Rev. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
Open Document