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World's oldest Religion?
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #1
World's oldest Religion?

Is Hinduism really the world's oldest religion? Is it really the religion from which all other religions emerged? Was there no other religion prior to Hinduism?

I think there might have been other developed religions(like Paganism), which emerged prior to Hinduism. Does anybody here know of any religion which existed prior to Hinduism?

I am asking this question because most people accept this theory "Hinduism is oldest religion and the origin of all religions" as a fact and treat it as the ultimate truth.
(This post was last modified: 12-07-2012 12:43 AM by Nibir.)
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Why Offline
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Post: #2
RE: World's oldest Religion?

To make sense of such claims, we have to define our terms in an agreeable manner before getting into debate.

This recent thread might interest you, where the poster argues over the definitions and special pleads for Hinduism.

So what scriptures and people define Hinduism for you?
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #3
RE: World's oldest Religion?

(12-07-2012 12:28 PM)Why Wrote:  To make sense of such claims, we have to define our terms in an agreeable manner before getting into debate.

This recent thread might interest you, where the poster argues over the definitions and special pleads for Hinduism.

So what scriptures and people define Hinduism for you?

I meant Hinduism in simplistic terms. By Hinduism I mean the religion which the majority of Indians follow. The religion which includes-Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Laxmi, Durga, Parvati and many other gods & goddesses. The religion in which cow is worshipped as a mother. The religon whose religious scriptures include Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharatha etc. The religion earlier known as Sanatan dharma.
And the people who follow this religion could be termed as hindu?

Note : As per my limited knowledge of hinduism.
(This post was last modified: 12-07-2012 07:37 PM by Nibir.)
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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #4
RE: World's oldest Religion?

While many beliefs and practices in what is commonly known as Hinduism do have a hoary past, exaggeration of antiquity is common apologist behavior. Mainstream estimates of the age of the Vedas, put the date of the core Samhita portion of the Vedas to the 10-12 centuries BCE, quite at odds with the revivalist boast of a 'five-thousand-year-old Vedic civilization'.

Another apologist-driven misconception is to treat contemporary Hinduism, whose pantheon is dominated more by Puranic than Vedic deities, as somehow a parent faith of Buddhism. This chronology is seriously challenged if we consider that the Dhammapada, a fundamental text in the Pali canon, dates back to the 3rd century BCE whereas the Bhagavad Gita, a text orthodox Hindus literally swear by, is dated between 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE. The Bhagavad Gita is itself a palimpsest of different and competing schools of thought, some of which were influenced by heterodox schools like Buddhism, and would in varying degree constitute what is Hinduism today.

As for the Puranas which supply the dominant leitmotifs of contemporary Hinduism, their origins date back largely to the 'post-Buddhist' Gupta era and their fairly recent origins are discussed in this thread.

Coming now to the favourite apologist peeve that it is only the term 'Hindu' that is a recent coinage and the faith it refers to is 'eternal' (sanAtana), here are some crucial facts it ignores. The term Sanatana Dharma isn't to be found in the Vedas. The most influential text in which the term is to be found, that too only cursorily and allusively, is the Bhagavad Gita (Verse 1:39 and Verse 11.18 ). Even in these verses, it is either strictures of clan preservation or a Vaishnavite conception of monotheism that the term 'Sanatana/Shashvata Dharma' is used to refer to, rather than a unified universalizing religion accommodating both the Vedas and Puranas as the apologists and revivalists claim. Therefore, the claim that the faith that is now Hinduism was always referred to as Sanatana Dharma by its adherents since deep antiquity, is perhaps one more revivalist myth.
(This post was last modified: 13-07-2012 07:05 AM by arvindiyer.)
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #5
RE: World's oldest Religion?

arvindiyer

Thanks a lot bro, that's a lot of interesting and precious information.

Coming to my next question, do you know of any religion which existed prior to Sanatan Dharma?
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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #6
RE: World's oldest Religion?

The religion which would be the right answer to the question "What is the oldest religion?" perhaps is most probably one that hasn't been given a name by later anthropologists or even its own followers. A broad class of practices involving rites of passage and veneration with origins in primitive cultures only retrospectively came to identified as 'religion', just as the generic notion of 'art' would have come to be applied much later to activities such as painting and dance.

In fact, even more recent questions like "What was the religion of the Aryan settlers before the Vedas were composed?" or "What sort of religion did the inhabitants of the Indus valley cities follow?" evade clear answers in the terminology that is current today, let alone the overarching question of "What is the oldest religion?" Questions like what is the world's first organized religion, or first state religion or first scripture-based religion may lend themselves to a readier historical study but still one that is greatly limited by gaps in the historical record of deep antiquity. However it maybe said that 'Hinduism' is not a self-evident or satisfactory answer to any of those questions. Neither are 'Paganism' or 'Animism' or 'Shamanism' because those words aren't names of religions just like "Monotheism" is not the name of a religion. Each of those terms presupposes a realm besides Nature with which contact maybe established via sacred rituals and objects or chosen mystics, a set of beliefs of which even the 'three monotheisms' cannot be claim to be wholly sanitized, despite their vehement disdain and antipathy towards indigenous faiths. The lingering primitive influences of contemporary religion, and a chronicling of the shifting definitions of the very concept of religion are some of the themes explored in this documentary 'The Story of God' hosted by Robert Winston.
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #7
RE: World's oldest Religion?

Thanks a lot for the replies.

And to think I was beginning to question my own sanityLaugh Most of the people I've talked with (including Hindu atheists) are convinced that Hinduism is indeed the root of all religions.
I guess more research needs to be done regarding the exact origins of Hinduism.

P.s. I should mention that I'm not an anti-hindu. In fact I'm a hindu myself and I follow the hindu way of life(not because I believe in this religion, rather due to peer pressuresmile )
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dev
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Post: #8
RE: World's oldest Religion?

I hope you guys had balls to talk ot Islam in same fervour as Hinduism . Hinduism gives you the flexibility to apply a logical & scientific argument to start an intellectual discussion , while Islam would just screw you up for raising such valid doubts . which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth
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Lije Offline
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Post: #9
RE: World's oldest Religion?

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  I hope you guys had balls to talk ot Islam in same fervour as Hinduism . Hinduism gives you the flexibility to apply a logical & scientific argument to start an intellectual discussion , while Islam would just screw you up for raising such valid doubts . which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth

dev, you are not the first Hindu apologist to have come up with that non-excuse. Ignorance does not make Hinduism worthy of anything.
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #10
RE: World's oldest Religion?

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  I hope you guys had balls to talk ot Islam in same fervour as Hinduism . which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth

You don't need balls to talk of Islam in same fervour as Hinduism. Pointing a finger at others while overlooking our own mistakes doesn't require any ball set.
Instead it requires more guts to take a look at ourselves and find out the mistakes in our own religion. That's what we guys are doing.

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  Hinduism gives you the flexibility to apply a logical & scientific argument to start an intellectual discussion.

That's a tall claim. But we could discuss about it in another thread.

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth
Never heard a certain religion was a father to other religions. In that case, which religion is the mother?Can you prove it?
(This post was last modified: 14-08-2012 12:51 PM by Nibir.)
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khongyang Offline
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Post: #11
RE: World's oldest Religion?

Sanamahism or Shamanism is World Oldest Religion.
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