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The future of religions

Photo credit: Botgirl Questi

Future of Religion from Outside by Botgirl Questi via Flickr

Author: Helena Aramendia

Humans have felt the need for religion since the earliest of times. Religions are cultural traditions related to spirituality; behind them, human organizations claim a divine origin, in order to ensure little or no challenge to the status quo from their followers. I would like to reflect here about the role that religions had played in our history. However, more importantly, the position that I can foresee for them in the not too distant future.

What are religions and why do we need them?

Since humans became a sentient species, they have felt the need to connect to their source. They have felt, even if it was only intuitively, that there was something else, beyond their physical world. Their spiritual world was personal, intimate and a direct contact to what they could perceive as a bigger reality or God, even if they channeled it through elements like rocks or the sun, as in animists religions. A feeling of vulnerability made them look to it for protection and also made them accept the authority of the ones that seemed to be more able to understand or even communicate with that elusive realm of non-physical realities. Some kind of religious leader was as common in prehistoric human groups as was a hunting leader or a war leader. However, for a leader to differentiate himself from the group, he needed to:

a) have more knowledge, more experience, more ability in his performing tasks, or

b) exert a greater control over the rest of the pack.

And so gradually, the leaders made customs, which then became habits, evolving into rituals and then finally religious laws or cults.

As societies grew more complex, so did the role of the religious leader. Over centuries, traditions accumulate, as well as rituals and rules. History passed orally from generations to generations everywhere, grew rich in details and explanations about our origins, our relationship with the Sacred and the external ways or rituals that we use in order to live and feel that relationship. Once we have: an explanation about where we came from, a specific god or gods, a set of expectations for us in respect to the deities, and specific ways of worshipping, we have a religion. The different traditions are just cultural manifestations. From animist to polytheists to monotheists, religions have evolved.

Four of the five more important religions (I mean important only attending at the number of adepts) are quite recent, relatively speaking. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

The oldest one of those, Judaism, the first monotheist religion, is “just” 3300 years old (since Moses time). A great majority of people in the world have a single religion, because of cultural (through family or societal ties) or physical proximity to the origin of that religion. Even the relatively small amount of people that choose their beliefs once they are discerning adults, are many times influenced by their situation (for instance, marriage) or environment.

Religions are God inspired but human designed and managed organizations. They are useful for millions of people that find in them a way to God, or a way of making sense of some difficult moments in life. They are the easiest way to channel our spiritual needs, because they are like a pre-packed meal: ready to go. We simply need to follow the suggestions of our leader be it priest, rabbi, guru, lama, or medicine man, and he will guide us and take care of our souls.

As our lives have become more complicated, it is easier to delegate into their hands the responsibility for our spiritual life. It is a basic human need to reach towards our origin and is a longing of our spirit to have some kind of contact with the source. It is nourishing, soothing and a source of happiness. It gives our lives a deeper meaning. Moreover, institutionalized religion are so ingrained in society, that they can also give us a sense of approval and acceptance in society, as we comply with the expected liturgy.

Religions have negative aspects too.

Religions can also create separation and duality, by definition belonging to one group often implies not accepting the others as truthful (even if we respect them). If I am Christian I cannot be Muslim, if I am Jew I cannot be Hindu. This is duality. During many point in our history religions have been magnifying and demonizing differences and encouraging rejection of other belief systems, in order to achieve supremacy, even when that tone can’t be found in the original texts. Along history, this has reached the point where more people have died and been tortured in the name of religious considerations than for any other reason.

Due to the human nature of institutionalized religions, they have been linked to power, money or sexual deviations uncountable numbers of times during history, to the point that on many occasions the original spiritual meaning has been lost. Intolerance and longing for supremacy have put religious institutions in a position where they play more a political and social role than a spiritual one.

Nowadays, many people focus upon the external aspects of religions, its rites, forms and precepts. As a consequence, the main function of religion, ones spiritual nourishment or growth, is often unmet. In different credos there are millions of very religious people that are not necessarily spiritual people. They are like the zealots of Jesus´s times, revolving around their own little world, condemning in their minds (and their social lives) everyone that does not abide by their specific worldview or doctrines.

Are religions keeping us apart? How useful to spiritual development is it to have a belief system that claims to be the exclusive religious truth holder, the real one, the one that leads to salvation while all the other pour souls will be lost. Whilst individuation is good in order to survive when we re growing up, it is not so useful once we reach a certain point of growth. As humanity, we are growing up now, and our only chance for survival is in a mature society.

Our next evolutionary step.

As humanity, we are now in a very particular moment in our evolution. Life as we know it is no longer sustainable following our current path. Patterns that worked for us before, are not working now. We need to reconsider and review all aspects of our life, under a different light. It is not about individual survival and competition any more. It is about thriving and growing as a single whole sharing one planet, in order to not only survive, but to reach our potential. Our path forward has to be through synergy instead of competition. It’s time for us to look to our more clear and perfect model: the human body and its relationship with a single cell. If we have a tumor in any part of the body, all the body is affected, as all is a single unit. Only with a perfectly healthy body can all the cells thrive and perform at their best, and vice versa. Our governing mechanism is the spirit, we need to realize that we are all one unit, and whatever happens to one of us, affects the rest.

In spirit, we are all one. We share a divine origin, regardless of the tradition, name and form that we give to it in our conscious minds,. This is common to us all. Our spirit longs for communion with its source, and everybody, left to their own devices will seek out and find a personal path to fulfill that need for communion.

More and more people are becoming conscious of this reality. They feel less need for institutionalized religions, as they meditate more, and increase personal practices that fulfill their spiritual needs, like helping others, for example. They also realize that other religions are like other languages or other foods: something to know, to share, to respect, to learn from, but not something that should become a source of separation for us nor a method to define the value of the other person in relation to ourselves.

What then does the future hold for religions? It is clear that religions will not disappear by suppression (one only needs to consider the reemergence of religion following the fall of communism in Russia), rather they will eventually become redundant. Like the need for living in a cave, or the need to look after the fire in a group, as a species we will outgrow them, in favor of a true spiritual growth based on our further developed understanding. When we come to realize our divine origin, and we rediscover the way to connect directly with the Creator (regardless of the label), we will be able to find in that connection all that our soul longs for.

We are growing up as species, and soon we will have evolved beyond the daily routine centered upon providing for our basic needs and feeding ourselves. We will grow mature and independent, able to assume Love as our nature and source of power.

It is true that looking at our current situation, reading any newspaper, seeing how the world looks now, it does not seem to be very probable that we are nearing a break through. Never the less, we might also reflect that it is also darkest before dawn and like remodeling a house, it gets worse until it gets better. A good purge is necessary and lots of darkness will surface, before the new reality can manifest itself. In the meantime, keeping centered in our purpose and our true self and focusing upon our individual spiritual growth will help to anchor the new earth.

About the Author:

Healer, Bs, Brennan Healing practitioner, Ordained Interfaith minister, writer, passionate about spirituality, human evolution and metaphysics.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comThe future of religions


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On The Subject Of God – Part 2

Karma

Karma (Photo credit: pixel8 (RCRD))

“On The Subject Of God” was submitted to earthpages.org by the author. It originally appears in the About section at Alfsbootcampblog.

On the Subject of Karma

The word Karma comes from the ancient Sanskrit language of India. Its nearest translation into English, is the word Action. The word karma also has many sub-meanings & associated meanings not in the English language. The following meanings are from this author’s spiritual enquiry into the word karma. Because from a destiny perspective, karma is one of the most important words to fully comprehend in life.

In expanded definition, karma is a by-product of the impulse of creative-intelligence that we call thought. Every thought contains the creative element of karma in its action; it is a ‘cause & effect’ vibratory influence created out of the action of thought. Karmic influence once created is timeless and always returns to its initiated source…to its owner. Merely to think & desire, is to create karma that is automatically bound by affinity to its source. Its creative influence enters the interactive spiritual domain of Nature that underwrites the physical domain of Nature, to eventually return as influence to the individual life-form that created it.

Clarification: In the duel physical & spiritual creative workings of Nature, karma is a creative tool of evolution to process the individual evolution of life via its ‘cause & effect’ influence. It is a creative influence that has no boundaries on the known physical plane or the unknown spiritual plane of life. It is the vibratory influence of karma, that interacts with the
primordial archetypal intelligence of Nature underwriting the biology & chemistry of life. It is this invisible interactive process with the intelligence of Nature, that allows the biology of life to adapt to changes in its physical environment…albeit on a slow time scale.

All brain structured life, has evolved and is continuously adapting through the creative process of karma and its ‘cause & effect’ influence interacting with the creative-intelligence of Nature. Animals have no say in this interactive process, they function through instincts alone. Unlike the highly creative human being, they do not think & create with a thought,
their life is entirely instinctive. They create no ‘adverse karma’ in the quantum workings of Nature as a result, unlike the human being.

Clarification: Karmic ‘cause & effect’ influence enters the spiritual workings of Nature, to interact with the archetypal primordial intelligence underwriting, propelling & processing life. What we input into that primordial intelligence with our human karma, is what we receive back from that spiritual dimension that underwrites the physical processes of life. As we sow so do we reap, sums up perfectly the invisible process of karma operating in the evolution of the unique human species.

Where a human being is concerned, karma becomes attached to the action of words, to the actions of deeds, to the product of our unique human creativity. A karmic influence that takes on the quality of the thought that created it and is attached to the actions & outcomes of that thought. That is where the word ‘destiny’ comes into the equation of human created karma. We create a plus or minus destiny on the ladder of evolution out of the product of karma. What quality of karma we create is what quality of karma we receive back to process our continuing evolution…individually & collectively.

Explanation: All karmic influence we create returns to its initiated state in the spiritual workings of Nature. Returned to the individual, to the family, to the town, to the province, to the nation, to the world that has created that karmic influence. If that karmic influence and its qualities do not return in a present life cycle, then it will return in another life cycle, long after those that created it have departed this planet. Therefore human created karma, is a perpetuating inherited influence contained in the lineage of the deceased. Influence that becomes a karmic inheritance locked
into the family tree. A karmic inheritance tied to the individual, to the family, to the tribe, to the nation, to the civilization that created it.

Returning karmic influence is what we are unknowingly influenced by in life. It invisibly influences our thoughts, actions, deeds and creativity unconsciously. We also perpetuate the deeds of our ancestors through that karmic inheritance. Therefore we are not free of the past, we our anchored to the past within evolution through the product of karma as well as our genes. We only think we are free-thinking, for we are inextricably caught up in its ‘cause & effect’ product. A invisible product (equation) that returns through the hidden workings of Nature to influence our creativity and expression. That is the invisible power of karmic influence, created by mankind and returned to mankind. Returning influence that can be a positive or negative equation in its effect on our biological intelligence, creativity, evolution & destiny.

About adverse karma

There are two opposing forces structuring the evolution of the primordial archetypal intelligence of Nature…and therefore life. They are the Negative & Positive poles of Nature responsible for the phenomena of all the opposites found in life…including the atom. In brief definition, negative archetypal intelligence is responsible for dissolving life & matter, as positive archetypal intelligence is responsible for creating life & matter. A perpetuating cosmic authored process, underwritten by absolute intelligence we have yet to understand with our dissolvable human intelligence.

Thus the impulse of creative-intelligence we call thought, can be structured out of the negative pole of Nature or the positive pole of Nature. As human beings with conscious free-will and the ability to think, we possess a unique evolutionary gift to choose the pole of our actions. Thus are we (individually & collectively) responsible for choosing our destiny in evolution as grown adults. Therefore up or down on the ladder of evolution where ‘quality’ of consciousness is concerned. The quotable quote “To Be Or Not To Be” sums it up well.

Clarification: Karma created out of a positive structured thought, always returns as a positive influence to uphold & advance the consciousness of the individual. Karma created out of a negative structured thought, always returns as a dissolving influence to impede & retard the consciousness of the individual. Our human created karma has the creative potential to either support life & evolution, or retard life and evolution. As human beings, we individually & collectively create the positive or negative outcome of our evolution…our destiny.

To sum up: Human creativity & the karma that comes out of it, is a unrealized power that either compliments the primordial forces of Nature underwriting life or degrades them. Thus human creativity, is able to influence the spiritual archetypal intelligence that underlies physical biological intelligence that science knows so much about …yet does not understand where it comes from. A unknown, unrealized, unproven reality that is yet to be uncovered & acquired by mankind on the long path of evolution. That is why the author has said, “it’s a waste of human intelligence to
argue/debate its reality in boot camp”. We have to acquire its reality for it to become a reality…but not with words, but experience. That is the solution to its acceptance in the human mind…not argument or debate.

Kind regards from the author to the reader.


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Life Is About Evolution

Evolution by Stupidiotic – congvo via Flickr

By Dee Gibson

If you truly want to be a person of influence you first have to embrace evolution. Wisdom will always let you know that fighting change is definitely a losing battle so it is imperative that you move towards being a more evolved enlightened human being. One of the great principle of life is stated this way; “Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.”

If you truly want to transition or transform from someone who moves through life unconsciously to a person who becomes the wealthy individual who’s completely aware of and completely at ease with all things around him or her then you must embrace change. It doesn’t matter at all where you are from or what you’ve done in the past, you’re never trapped in any circumstance, relationship, cycle, or situation unless you say and/or believe you are. It’s always better to take each and everyday and treat it just as it is; a new day with new opportunities to do what’s right.

English: Conflict Resolution in Human Evolution

Conflict Resolution in Human Evolution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re at a point in your life where you realize you’re going in the wrong direction which means you’re producing the wrong results then simply in most cases do the opposite of what you’re doing right now. Trust me this will make a world of difference and you’ll almost see small and/or big result quickly. I know this is easier said then done but when you add courage and persistent practice to your constant thought pattern that’s saying “it’s time to make the necessary changes” then I’m absolutely sure you’ll make great progress in living a more happy and fulfilled life.

About The Author

I’m a man that loves to empower everyone on how to become better. The author invites you to visit: http://www.imperfectchristians.com
Article Source: http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_1313.shtml


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Water symbols and visions as a source of dream meaning interpretation

English: Deprogram your fear, reload your drea...

English: Deprogram your fear, reload your dreams. The image belongs to photo-story “The Little Mermaid” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author: Alex B

The history of humankind carries a special meaning attributed to water symbols and the significance of water in human life cannot be underestimated. Regardless of what a particular water symbol we have in mind, freshwater lake, a river with water flowing freely, or the ocean which can present a danger to people in many forms, the water represents our best friend or our worst enemy depending on the particular event or circumstance related to water. Therefore, it becomes very interesting and challenging to find the correct meaning in interpreting water- related dreams.

Visions of water in our dreams are very powerful images because these kinds of dreams are usually experienced at the peak of our inner feelings and emotions, such as heavy rains, mighty rivers or water falling down on you. Other elements contained in water dreams can be soothing and calming, for example a small stream in a beautiful valley or a relaxing shower. The most powerful and therefore memorable experiences are connected with visions of ocean, such as being lost in the stormy ocean, being helpless or seeking help when all you can see around you is massive volume of water and no signs of land on the horizon. These streams can evoke feelings or emotions related to fear, loneliness or even despair or imminent danger.

Perhaps the most common interpretation of water symbol in the dream is preserving life or protect us from unfavorable events and circumstances or some type of immediate danger we may be anticipating in our waking life. This interpretation is based on a long time experience of humans with water as a source of life. Long time in the past, humans figured out that their life depends on presence of water, and people can go without food much longer than without water. Another important element in subconscious interpretation of water symbols lies in knowing where the water sources are located, because these sources usually exist where the sources of food will be located as well. With the development of trade and travel later on, the water symbols and visions became strongly connected with danger and source of hidden danger. Traveling by water, such as boating on the river or longer travels in the ocean have always been connected with mystery and the world of unknown, that’s why there are so many stories and legends containing images of sea monsters, sirens and frightening creatures inhabiting the depths of the ocean. Polluted or dirty water has always been related to massive diseases, both for humans and domesticated animals and interpreted in a negative sense portending extensive periods of illness or epidemics.

Dreaming about positive experiences related to water can be related to rejuvenation, welcoming a new life, restoring your energy and becoming physically fit. When people dream about being able to control or direct water, it always means positive emotions and gratifying experience in their life after these kinds of dreams. Ability to control water in your dream can be interpreted as some kind of a key or a solution to your existing problem or dilemma and a promise of being successful in solving the issue.

Another way to describe water under control or manageable water sources is an example of when you dream about a lake or the shoreline of a water body which instill a sense of security and calmness or being able to safely cross these water bodies or get to the shore without any problems or danger. These dreams usually have a very positive charge and promise good things in your life after experiencing this dream.

Calm and still water surface surrounding you in your dream when you are, for example, in the boat in the center of the lake is a good sign of recharging and renewal, which can also mean that you will be able to accomplish and achieve what you are trying to work on in your life. Looking for and finding a source of water as part of your dream is an indication that you are actively looking for time for relaxation and getting away from everyday tasks and duties, for example contemplating going on vacation or taking a trip somewhere far away. This dream is basically telling you that your mind and body are in need of recharging and having a break from your everyday routine tasks.

Uncontrollable water present in your dreams is a sign of worries and concerns accompanying you when you are awake. White-water streams and rivers, raging waterfalls or mountain rivers or lakes without visible shores can be a reflection of uncontrollable or unmanageable life circumstances surrounding the dreamer in real life. Similarly, calm but deep waters may carry the same meaning and evoke similar feelings or emotions for people dreaming about this type of water. This is because deep waters are usually a symbol of potential danger or entering into unknown circumstances or ambiguous undertakings with undefined or unknown outcomes for the dreamer.

Very interesting interpretation can also be found in various dream interpretation sources regarding tap water or water obtained using a faucet. It is very important to take a note of who is turning the faucet, either you or someone else, and what goal or objective is being sought when you have this kind of dream. The absence of water or inability to get any water from a tap can be a sign of facing some uncertainties or unusual circumstances which may overwhelm you or create obstacles leading to making important decisions in your life.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mysticism-articles/water-symbols-and-visions-as-a-source-of-dream-meaning-interpretation-6699863.html

About the Author

Looking for instant interpretation of your dreams? Try our Instant Dream Interpretation engine with thousands of descriptions of what your dreams may mean. Look up your dream instantly using our Instant Dream Look Up with extensive database of meticulously compiled descriptions based on trusted sources.


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The Qualiasphere

Dolphin Crest

Dolphin Crest: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr

by Tony Brussat

Welcome to the qualiasphere.

According to Wikipedia, the first photosynthetic organisms changed the Earth forever when they began to oxygenate the atmosphere about 2,400 million years ago. The new atmosphere allowed the evolution of complex life, and what we now call the biosphere.

Complex organisms have been reacting to qualia for a long, long time, for it is qualia that attracts their senses to sources of food, to mates, etc. Only in the last 100,000 years (to put it generously) have some animals taken notice of internal qualia. That is, humans, dolphins, whales, and perhaps some other species, have become self-conscious.

And the qualiasphere was born…

Much of the evolution of complex life depends upon the qualiadelic relationships between living organisms – mutual attractions in which both organisms evolve together. When the relationship stabilizes and evolution slows to more or less of a halt, it becomes a symbiotic relationship, as we learned in biology 101.

But the age of self-consciousness in animals has only begun. We are only at the beginning of an incredible evolutionary growth-spurt because of the qualiadelic relationships we are developing with intuition and our thoughts. As humans, we have only developed the complex symbol systems of language in the last 15,000 years. We are very young.

Yet, in a mere 15,000 years of communicating with symbols we have generated a new element into our cozy planet. The atmosphere and the biosphere are now supplemented by the qualiasphere. Everything we see around us is a part of a symbolic world, in addition to the physical world.

The symbolic world is nothing more than our ideas and intuitions made manifest. Houses, cars and banks; forests, farms and glaciers; wars, pollutants and diseases – all are symbols filling up the qualiasphere as well as realities populating the physical world.

Alas, our young qualiasphere has become polluted with things. It is at risk of becoming spoiled altogether, before ever having a chance to truly blossom.

As most scientists and artists realize, the beautiful is synonymous with the good. “Truth is beauty, beauty truth,” sang the poet Keats. The most powerful scientific theories are, by definition, simple and symmetrical.

Qualiadelic theory is simple enough. It is not too different from the law of attraction, in that how we express ourselves echoes back to us our intuitions and ideas – our songs. Unfortunately, humans express themselves by manipulating the world, killing, destroying and raping in order to create. That is not good karma.

The whales and dolphins sing, undistracted by any compulsion to harm the environment. They are in harmony, not just with the biosphere and the atmosphere, but with the qualiasphere, which stretches into the cosmos beyond our planet, beyond our consciousness, and into the furthest realms of the imagination.

Can we stop the human cacaphony long enough to listen to the music of the spheres? Shall we evolve ourselves or will we settle into a limited symbiotic relationship with our dying Earth?

Be Qualiadelic. Be Conscious. Change the routine.

Article Source: amazines.com


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WERE NEANDERTHALS KILLED OFF OR ASSIMILATED?

English: comparison of Neanderthal and Modern ...

Comparison of Neanderthal and Modern human skulls from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History by hairymuseummatt via Wikipedia and Flickr

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Many anthropologists believe that modern humans ancestors directly or indirectly killed off   Neanderthal and Denisovan populations as they moved into Neanderthal and Denisovan territory. A new study of the issue argues that it’s more likely that Neanderthals and Denisovans were assimilated into the human gene pool thirty to forty thousand years ago during the Upper Pleistocene era as cultural and climatic forces brought the two groups together, according to Arizona State University Professor C. Michael Barton.

Recent sequencing of ancient Neanderthal DNA indicates that Neanderthal genes make up from 1 to 4 percent of the genome of modern populations—especially those of European descent.  Denisovans genes (Denisovans are a sister species to Neanderthals, who were recently found in central and eastern Asia).were found to make up 2 to 6 percent of human genes in southeast Asia. South of the Sahara Africans show no signs of Neanderthal genes.

The researchers used archaeological data to track cultural and socio-ecological changes in behavior in Western Eurasia during the past 120,000 years. As Neanderthals and early humans land-use patterns shifted during the last ice age, computer modeling showed that the two populations began to interact and mate, leading to the “extinction” of one of the groups due to hybridization, a well-recognized phenomenon in conservation biology. Neanderthals were limited to western Asia and Europe, while Denisovans, a sister species to Neanderthals, were recently found in central and eastern Asia. Usually it is the smaller population that becomes “extinct”  but succeeding hybrid populations still carry some genes from the regional group that disappeared, according to the researchers.

According to Barton, “There is a perception that biological evolution determines culture during the Pleistocene era and that cultural influences only predominate afterwards. The reality is that the two forces have been working together and they were as important 50,000 years ago as they are today. Other than the fact that they disappeared, there is no evidence that Neanderthals were any less fit as hunter-gatherers of the late Pleistocene than any other human ancestor living at that time. It looks like they were as capable as anyone else,”

So why did they assimilate into us rather than us into them? Humans might have had the advantage of a higher birth rate. Neanderthals had slightly bigger heads and brains than humans so they might have had greater difficulty in giving birth. Humans also benefited from their belief that a birth goddess would help them.  Without successful reproduction no species can flourish, or even survive. Homo sapiens were as subject to the biological imperative (commandment) to be fruitful and multiply as all other species. But the intelligent minds of Homo sapiens knew the dangers of childbirth. Infant mortality rates in most tribes were more than one in four. The maternal death rate for every four births was more than one in ten. Pregnancy was highly desired and birth anxiously awaited. Pregnant women naturally sought the physical help of their mothers and grandmothers who in turn sought the spiritual help of their now departed mothers and grandmothers. Among the earliest Gods were birth Goddesses. Small stone figures of very pregnant birth Goddesses often referred to as “Venus” figures go back 30-35,000 years. They are the first examples of iconic religion. The worship of spirits within natural phenomena does not need iconic representation. But birth rarely took place in the open or in public.  A birth Goddess needed to be present in some tangible way in order to ease the anxiety of women in labor. Even today in some African countries the maternal mortality rate is 3% per birth. A woman who gave birth to 8 children had a one in four chance of dying from giving birth. Any band would benefit even if the presence of Goddesses reduced that mortality rate by only 5%. Carvings in wood of birth Goddesses probably preceded stone statues by many millennia and may have originated 50-100,000 years ago.

A small birth Goddess that fits in the palm of  a woman’s hand, carved of Mammoth ivory with exaggerated sexual features was described in the May 14, 2009 issue of Nature. The figurine is dated to more than 35,000 years ago, when all three species were alive. Dozens of these figurines have been found at human sites, none at Neanderthal sites. Indeed, archeological evidence of religious rituals in general is much more extensive at human sites than at Neanderthal sites. Thus, religion may have been the single most significant factor in Neanderthal and Denisovan assimilation into humans rather than human assimilation into them.

For further information see my article in Popular Archeology  June, 2011 or my web site: rabbimaller.com


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Tears in a Bottle: The Uniquely Human Phenomenon of Crying

Woman crying, scene from the Via Sacra, by Ale...

Woman crying, scene from the Via Sacra, by Aleijadinho. Congonhas do Campo, Brazil via Wikipedia

by: Lisa J. Lehr

Crying—the shedding of tears—has physiological, anthropological, and psychological components. It also has a spiritual component. Read on to find out why the ability to cry is a precious gift from God.

The physiology of tears

Tears are produced by the lachrymal gland. The salt they contain acts as a lubricant; without the moisture provided by tears, our eyeballs would scrape painfully on the insides of our eyelids. (The labels of eye drop and contact lens products show that they usually contain salt.) Tears also contain a mild germicide, lysozyme, which kills bacteria and other potentially harmful microbes.

Most higher animals—those that live in an aerobic (oxygen-containing) environment—produce tears to keep their eyes moist. Constant tears are produced to lubricate the eye at all times; reflex tears arise in response to irritation or injury.

The psychology of tears

Emotional tears are stimulated by happy, sad, or other strong feelings. They eliminate a stress hormone.

While most animals cry tears of physical cause, human beings are the only creatures that cry emotional tears. Charles Darwin said that weeping is “one of the special expressions of man.” (Please see endnote.)

Interestingly, children do not cry at happy endings; the understanding of the fleeting, fragile nature of human happiness comes only with a degree of emotional maturity.

Ancient thoughts about tears

Long ago, in the Eastern part of the world, it was customary for mourners to catch their tears in bottles and place them at the tombs of their loved ones as a visual measure of their grief. Ancient Greeks buried their dead with lacrimatories, vials full of mourners’ tears.

The ancient Greek doctors thought tears originated directly from the brain.

Leonardo daVinci (1452-1519)—famous even in his own time as a master painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, scientist, and inventor—created drawings of the inner workings of the human body that are accurate down to the smallest detail. Yet in one of his drawings he shows a tube going from the tear ducts…to the heart.

These old “anatomically incorrect” depictions of the human crying mechanism, however unscientific, reveal something of the mystical nature of tears attributed to them by societies’ most educated individuals.

The Bible on tears

Consider the psalmist David’s prayer in time of distress: “I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies.” Now compare that (Psalm 6:6), with Psalm 56:8—“You…[p]ut my tears in Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”

David believed that God was keeping track of each individual teardrop in the rivers he cried.

Scientific corroboration of the special properties of human tears

Science has discovered that each tear—just as every snowflake and every fingerprint—is unique. That is, unique in the pure sense of the word—one of a kind.

Put this discovery together with the psalmist’s thoughts. All the suffering billions of people currently populating the earth, and those already departed, multiplied by the countless tears one can cry in a lifetime…gives us a virtually infinite number of tears, each unique, each saved in a bottle, not one unnoticed by God.

That’s because when we cry, God hears. He may not give us answers; we may not even feel His presence. But there He is, collecting each of our tears in a bottle. That’s a vivid illustration of the special—yes, unique—place of humankind in the realm of living things.

Endnote

Incidentally, Charles Darwin is not the villain as traditionally portrayed in the ongoing battle between evolutionists and creationists. Most of the humanistic, Godless ideas attributed to his belief system were added by others who came later.

About The Author

Lisa J. Lehr is a freelance writer with a specialty in business and marketing communications. She holds a biology degree and has worked in a variety of fields, including the pharmaceutical industry and teaching, and has a particular interest in both science and Biblical tradition. She is also a graduate of American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), America’s leading course on copywriting. Contact Lisa J. Lehr Copywriting www.ljlcopywriting.com, Lisa@ljlcopywriting.com for help with your business writing needs.

This article ©Lisa J. Lehr 2005.

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