WARNING: Crap is about to get metaphysical.
I have recently been doing a lot of research on religion, more specifically religious bread. (An interesting, but almost totally unrelated fact: challah (pronounced somewhat like a Muslim cat with a hair ball trying to say ‘Allah’), a Jewish bread served on the Sabbath and other holy days, is originally a German thing. Hitler would be so displeased. 3, 2, 1…Okay, back on topic now….). My research has been primarily based on the abrahamic and western pagan traditions. I suppose I could have included Ethiopian sourdough into my research, but I don’t think that it has any significant religious symbolism. Though I could be wrong, but that would make my paper longer than it already is, so I’m just not going to go there, and this is turning into a really bad run-on, but, at this point in the day, I don’t particularly care. However, that is not the point. The point is that I have found an interesting similarity between the religions, and all religions really: they all are based upon the fundamental belief that god* is the creator (or creatrix). Think about that. Now I am just imagining Popov with glazed eyes saying in his elitist—bastard tone, “Yeah…so? What’s your point? Why should I care?” Though I am going to explain, I would just like to keep him suspended in confusion for a moment. . . . Okay, I’m done now. Thank you for your patience. Now I feel like a flight attendant. Great. While I am off topic, I would like to take a moment to tell Mr. Knight that he should actually read these posts. If he doesn’t comment on this or any other posts this week, I feel that it is safe to assume that he doesn’t read them at all. 3, 2, 1…..Back on topic now. Assuming that humans are the creating animal, and god is viewed as the creator, god is the perceived pinnacle of human nature. I know that is a fairly large leap, so I’m going to break it down a little bit further. Whenever humans have created art, they have tried to capture the likeness of their deities. Unless they were trying to distinguish themselves from other religions. However, even Islam’s mosques are decorated with art. Art has always been seen as a sacred thing with which to honor the gods. When this began, I don’t think anyone really knows. Though, it is probably safe to assume that it began with the first artists who had a concept of god, which was probably the first artists. Therefore, it is safe to assume that prehistoric art may have had at least some religious significance. The oldest paintings are of animals and hunting scenes. One such painting in Europe depicts an entire hunt. There are the stick-figure hunters and graceful, grandiose animals of the Ice Age in the middle of a fairly epic chase, but there is also this one thing that is a strange conglomeration of human and animal features: the antlers of a stag, the tail of a wolf, the legs of a human etc. It appears at all stages of the hunt; though it does not actively participate in the killing of the beasts, it seems to be leading the hunters. Obviously, this is not an actual person with the antlers of a stag and the tail of a wolf. This figure has the superior qualities of the animals it represents that humans lack. They were trying to attain the qualities of these animals in order to be successful in their hunt. In modern Native American religions, which, more than likely, is the closest to these early prehistoric religions, totem animals are often used. These totem animals represent qualities that a human is trying to cultivate within themselves. To be continued.... Thousands of year later and a continent away in Ancient Egypt, the gods were often depicted with the head or body of an animal. Some, like Taweret and Bast, had entirely animal features.