Because early humans (I’m thinking of us from about 70,000 – 3,000 BC) didn’t write anything down, it is difficult to know what they thought about things. There are many things that we’d like to ask our early ancestors, but they’re gone and there are no records. Certainly they had names, and tribes, and rituals, and fears, and hopes. Certainly they got married, had sex for the first time, had babies, loved their babies, rejoiced, lost their parents and loved ones, and grieved. They ran the same whole gamut of human experience as we do today. It’s sort of easy to ignore the people who lived over those tens of thousands of years or to pretend like they weren’t really like us, but that’s wrong: they are us. There are so many things we’d like to ask them, but…they’re gone and there are no records. The closest we can do is to look for people and tribes in the world today who are still living in the old, traditional patterns of life, and see if we can understand them as best we can. It is possible – maybe even likely – that their ways of life and thought are similar to those who have disappeared from the historical record. In fact, this is what the academic discipline of cultural anthropology did throughout much of the 20th century. To begin to try to understand our ancestors (their religion, practices and beliefs), we will turn to a chapter from a book called The World’s Religions, written by Huston Smith and first published in 1958. The book has since sold over 3 million copies worldwide, and for decades was the standard college textbook for Introduction to World Religions.
Read the following chapter and write up a short (300-600 word) reflection on it. You are free to write anything you like, but if you need a prompt, some questions you might consider are: what topics did you find most interesting about the chapter? Are the traditional religions more similar to modern religions or more different? Why or why not? Can we learn about the beliefs of hunter-gatherers who lived and died long ago by studying modern hunter-gatherers? Why or why not? **KEEP IN MIND I CHECK WITH 10+ PLAGIARISM SITES AND YOU WILL BE DROPPED FAILED AND WITHDRAWN IF I DETECT ANY PLAGIARISM**