Did Affluence Spur the Rise of Modern Religions?

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Did Affluence Spur the Rise of Modern Religions?

Post by Guest on Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:11 am

About 2,500 years ago something changed the way humans think. Within the span of two centuries, in three separate regions of Eurasia, spiritual movements emerged that would give rise to the world's major moral religions, those preaching some combination of compassion, humility and asceticism. Scholars often attribute the rise of these moral religions—Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity included—to population growth, seeing morality as a necessary social stabilizer in increasingly large and volatile human communities. Yet findings from a recent study published in Current Biology point to a different factor: rising affluence. The authors investigated variables relating to political complexity and living standards. Affluence emerged as a major force in the rise of moral religion, in particular, access to energy. Across cultures moral religions abruptly emerged when members of a population could reliably source 20,000 calories of energy a day, including food (for humans and livestock), fuel and raw materials.



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Re: Did Affluence Spur the Rise of Modern Religions?

Post by Ben Reilly on Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:57 am

Very interesting to note that the religious traditions from rural societies often lack the authoritarianism and strict system of punishment and reward that arose from societies with more concentrated, large populations. That may explain why Christianity exploded across the Roman Empire so successfully -- it was replacing the old, messy mythology of the Romans' and Greeks' agrarian ancestors.

Basically, it's like the rise in demand for social law and order was mirrored by a rise in demand for religious law and order Smile

"At the end of life, it will not be the amount of money we have hoarded, the possessions we have had or the power and authority we have wielded in life that will be remembered and honored. Rather, people will remember most vividly the personal interactions with a loved one."

- Fr. Ken Robinson
Ben Reilly
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