Revelation In Space: Bible Data:

Instrumentum Regni [Latin] - Instrument of Government

Much that was called religion has carried an unconscious attitude of hostility toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known. - Frank Herbert, Dune

Origins of Religion
Religion, in its broadest sense, is the pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance; the alleged, or at least pretense of an alleged strict adherence to a specific set of principles. In this sense everyone is religious. As far as we can determine there have never existed any people anywhere at any time who were not in some sense of the word religious. It is only recently, however, that careful study of the origins of religion and its development has been undertaken. Throughout most of mankind's history one's religious tradition was something one was born into without choice, often without the knowledge of any alternatives. In the 19th century, with mass migration, and improved means of communication and travel, that began to change.

The arrival of scientific inquiry and especially the theory of evolution also inspired the intellectual to question established institutions including religion. Through the methodology of anthropology, sociology and psychology mankind had striven to search through the human mind as well as the ruins of ancient civilizations to find answers about his spiritual past and present yearnings.

Some of the theories that were most prominent were that religion sprang from primitive people's belief that the immortal soul remained after death, inhabiting the things around them. Dreams, hallucinations and visions of dead ancestors inspired this. Then came the idea that prehistoric people believed, not in the personal immortal soul, but rather, the impersonal supernatural force which controlled everything. This came from a fear and awe of the unknown. Another theory suggests that religion came from magic - an attempt to control the environment around our primitive ancestors by imitating nature. Sprinkling water while beating drums to sound like thunder would produce rain, for example.

It is impossible to guess, with any degree of accuracy or ability to confirm, the origins of religion. More often these theories are veiled attempts to explain religion away by dismissing early forms to have been based upon illusions, ignorance and fear, thereby undermining religion in general. No tenable explanations have been introduced and yet from a faulty premise the illusion of a sound conclusion is, somewhat ironically, based more upon ignorance and fear. Science and religion have a great deal more in common than either would care to admit.

It is also apparent that many of the concepts of the world religions, though separated geographically, traditionally, culturally, and socially, have a great deal more in common than one might think.

Religious Teachings
You shouldn't trust organized religion of any kind because acceptance en masse always leads to the corruption of the original teachings. Here is how religion works. A belief, philosophy or subjective fact dependent upon faith is proposed and then propagated to the masses. If they are widely accepted, they become useful tools for social and political control. Typically, the original teachings of religion are transmogrified in the process - often for the political control itself - which, through a gradual and insidious process of cultural, social and traditional influence, becomes the paradigm. You see this in the emperor Constantine the Great's politicization of Christianity and the Nicene Creed. You see it with Emperor Wu of Han's promotion of Confucianism and interest in Taoism. Shinto was named as such due to a need for a distinction between ancient Japanese cultural ritualistic festivals during the planting and harvesting seasons and the newly introduced Buddhism from India. It was then incorporated into the mythological instruction of Japanese youth through the legends of the Nihongi and Kojiki by the Royal family.

Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism and Taoism
Confucianism and Taoism were two different schools of thought developed around the same time in China during the Warring States period. A time when the citizens were exhausted with the constant battles between feudal states. Both believed in a heavenly way, the Chinese Tian which is nature or the universe as a guiding force, the heavenly way rather than God or deities as occidental culture might understand it. They had two different approaches to their teachings of the heavenly way. Taoism was passive; allowing nature to take its course, to interfere causes problems. Confucianism was active; nature must be harnessed. Buddhism, also originally without deities, was an attempt to find the middle way, something in between asceticism and indulgence. Its primary doctrine was the Four Noble Truths, which is to achieve enlightenment through the acknowledgement, understanding and dissolution of suffering through letting go. Shinto was syncretistic cultural celebrations during the planting and harvesting seasons in Japan. It existed for centuries without a name, until Buddhism migrated there creating the need for a name to distinguish it from that. Though deities were incorporated into these celebrations they also weren't Gods in the traditional occidental sense, resembling more what we would think of as spirits. These spirits may be celestial or dead ancestors who would inhabit various objects like mirrors, swords, trees or mountains. Anything, really. The spirits were interchangeable. The importance in the Shinto festivals was community. Coming together to help one another.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Mormonism
Judaism is often erroneously thought of as more accurate in a Biblical sense and separate from Christianity. Actually, though they both come from, at least in part, the Bible, Judaism as known today is the separation of Jewish tradition formed when the religious leaders of Jesus's day finally got the opportunity to exploit the sociopolitical power they had long coveted formerly possessed by the Aaronic priests. The catalyst for this was the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 CE and the subsequent dissolution of the Aaronic priesthood. Jewish thinking, as presented by the Bible, had always been prone to pagan influence, especially after the infiltration of Greek philosophy through the influence of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE. Christianity wasn't the separation of Jewish or Biblical teachings many perceive it as today, it was actually a continuation of those teachings. After all, Jesus was the long-awaited Jewish messiah. Christianity itself became corrupt in the same way with the influence of Constantine the Great in 325 CE.

Islam and Mormonism were, respectively, an aberration and addition to the Biblical teachings. With Islam the sociopolitical protestation of Muhammad, and with Mormonism the, well, sort of delusional cultural appropriation of Joseph Smith.

  • Temple, by Justin Messner: 2012 (original uncropped image)
  • Animations: Dragonset, Matters of Grave Concern, The Pillars of Barad-Dur, Heart of Stone, Golden Leaves, Gravity, and Dragons in Moonlight, by Steven David Bennett

Dragonset, by Steven David Bennett Matters of Grave Concern, by Steven David Bennett The Pillars of Barad-Dur, by Steven David Bennett Heart of Stone, by Steven David Bennett Golden Leaves, by Steven David Bennett Gravity, by Steven David Bennett Dragons in Moonlight, by Steven David Bennett