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Religion The "Axis Time" of Religion

Sim

Registered Member
A friend who has studied religion sciences (and Muslim theology, which isn't important here, though -- he's not Muslim) told me an interesting thing:

The time around 500 BC was extremely important for all kinds of world religions. In many different places of the world, religion made a leap. All around the same time.

- At around 500 BC, the Jewish people had just escaped the Babylonian exile, and for the first time, the Bible (Old Testament) was written down in its entirety. Before then, only fragments had existed in written form, and many stories had just been passed on orally. This was the true beginning of Judaism as we know it today

- At around 500 BC, Guatama Buddha appeared in India, founding the religion of Buddhism

- At around 500 BC, Confucius appeared in China, founding the religion of Confucianism

- several smaller faiths/religions came into existence at that time too


What do you think? Why were all these religions founded about the same time?
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
This is an interesting question I'm sure I don't have the correct answer for. But could it be because of Christianity starting earlier other societies felt the need for their own religion that reflected more of their own experiences and lifestyle. Maybe at this time people were more free to practice a religion of their own choice.
 

Sim

Registered Member
This is an interesting question I'm sure I don't have the correct answer for. But could it be because of Christianity starting earlier other societies felt the need for their own religion that reflected more of their own experiences and lifestyle. Maybe at this time people were more free to practice a religion of their own choice.
Perhaps the latter idea makes sense... more freedom in different parts of the world then? Perhaps not freedom in the modern meaning, but, like more free time to practize a religion, due to new achievements in farming or so, that gave them more time for other activities?

(Christianity came later, though... the "Axis Time" was 500 BC, not AD ;) ).

Maybe it had political reasons, too. Maybe at that time, larger empires in Persia, China and India had reached a size when the kings/emperors decided it's useful to support a religion, as a kind of state religion?

I guess I should ask this friend when I meet him next time. :)
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
Perhaps the latter idea makes sense... more freedom in different parts of the world then? Perhaps not freedom in the modern meaning, but, like more free time to practize a religion, due to new achievements in farming or so, that gave them more time for other activities?

(Christianity came later, though... the "Axis Time" was 500 BC, not AD ;) ).

Maybe it had political reasons, too. Maybe at that time, larger empires in Persia, China and India had reached a size when the kings/emperors decided it's useful to support a religion, as a kind of state religion?

I guess I should ask this friend when I meet him next time. :)
You have to remember though even before this time there was religion. It wasn't any of those you mentioned but forms of religion did exist. Maybe this was religion evolving into worshiping one god instead of several like the ancient Egyptians and Greeks did.

Still I would also be interested in why all of a sudden the change form multiple gods to one and all about the same time.

Sorry I was getting tired, should have waited till morning to reply.:tired:
 

CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
You have to remember though even before this time there was religion. It wasn't any of those you mentioned but forms of religion did exist. Maybe this was religion evolving into worshiping one god instead of several like the ancient Egyptians and Greeks did.

Still I would also be interested in why all of a sudden the change form multiple gods to one and all about the same time.

Sorry I was getting tired, should have waited till morning to reply.:tired:
Yes but at 500 BC Christianity did not exist. Christ, of course, hadn't been born. Judaism had been around awhile, but as Sim pointed out this is when the Jews escaped the Babylonian exile. I hadn't realized how all this occurred around this time.
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
Yes but at 500 BC Christianity did not exist. Christ, of course, hadn't been born. Judaism had been around awhile, but as Sim pointed out this is when the Jews escaped the Babylonian exile. I hadn't realized how all this occurred around this time.
I realize that but what I'm saying is other forms of religion did exist before 500BC. Possibly these religions led up to other forms of religion.

Atenism and its Antecedents

Minoan Culture

Babylonian and Assyrian religion - LookLex Encyclopaedia
 

Sim

Registered Member
I realize that but what I'm saying is other forms of religion did exist before 500BC. Possibly these religions led up to other forms of religion.

Atenism and its Antecedents

Minoan Culture

Babylonian and Assyrian religion - LookLex Encyclopaedia
That's very interesting!

What happened in 500BC was perhaps just that religion reached a new degree of organization in different parts of the world. It took a shape it hadn't had before.

Maybe just a symptom of mankind's bigger civilizations entering a new stage of development, on different fields?
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
That's very interesting!

What happened in 500BC was perhaps just that religion reached a new degree of organization in different parts of the world. It took a shape it hadn't had before.

Maybe just a symptom of mankind's bigger civilizations entering a new stage of development, on different fields?
I think when Akhenaten tried to force the worshiping of just one God upon his people they just wasn't ready for that. I think that was the first time in history the idea of just one god began. It made him enemies though and because of that he may have been murdered by the priests. No fact there just theory. When his son Tutankamum or King Tut became Pharaoh things went back to the way they were before Akhenaten. Weird thing about Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Tut, they all had elongated heads.

I think even before 500 BC people were starting to worship just one god. Saul and David just believe in one God and so did Moses. David was suppose to have reigned at about 1000 BC, Moses earlier than that. Of course it may have not been too prevalent until 500 BC nor is it clear if they were practicing Judaism or Christianity or just believed in one god.
 
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