Religion is the yolk of a people’s culture. Islam cannot be separated from the pre-islamic customs of the people of that region, keeping beard or wearing hijab. Christianity, which was an extension from Judaism, was largely Roman at first judging by the rites and worship that were refined Religion is the yolk of a people’s culture. Islam cannot be separated from the pre-islamic customs of the people of that region, keeping beard or wearing hijab. Christianity, which was an extension from Judaism, was largely Roman at first judging by the rites and worship that were refined from Egypto-Roman spirituality. However, by the time the Protestant fired a civil war that broke the hold of the Roman Catholic on the faith, the customs of Western Europe filtered into Christianity but still retaining rites imported from its Eastern European root like hymns, the Trinity and icons, doing away with Isis (Holy Mary). Today, what is Christianity is more or less Americanization using American music, elitist tuxedo and of course what is synonymous with the U.S, materialism as yardstick of success
Judaism is one of the earliest religion to champion monotheism through Abraham. It is also the cultural religion of the Jews from which Islam and Christianity are patterned upon. Keen study of the ancient Jewish belief, which is the root of the other two (Islam and Christianity) that hold strongly to the belief of Hell, shows that nothing like that was mentioned, debated or revealed by God to the early prophets who were then “having even more intense relationship with God” than now. In short the ancient Jews did not believe in an afterlife. The Torah only spoke of man as to return to dust in Genesis 3:19. And man was also figuratively spoken of as water spilled on the ground ungatherably at death, 2 Sam 14:14. Further reading of this ultimate end can be seen in Ecclesiastes 9:10 and also in the book of Isaiah 38:18. Sheol is seen as eternal silence where nothing happens and only the living praise God. (Psalm 115:17).
Judaism even regarded death as a thing impure that priests should keep away from. Maybe this was why referred ones like Enoch and Elijah were taken up and not die.
Note however that Egypt believed in the afterlife, which later came up in the Catholic religion as we shall see further. But the Jews never did, holding onto the beliefs of their fathers. It was not until the time of Isaiah that Zoroastrian religion of Persia, when the Jews were again subjects of that world power, that the idea of a Judgment seeped into their religious philosophy. Yet even as the influence a resurrection took hold among the Pharisees, the Sadducees still held onto the core root of ancient Judaism of the finality of death.
By the time the Talmud was compiled as a written literature instead of the traditional oral literature of the Torah, belief in a messiah coming to judge the world took hold. That the messiah will judge with Elijah. Since the Talmud is debated opinions of thousands of rabbis on the core of Jewish ethics, beliefs and law, some believe only Jews have afterlife because of circumcision and Abraham, for Abraham will turn back those not circumcised. Hence by the Middle Ages, resurrection had become part of Jewish faith and this was influenced by Plato. To this day, Judaism is focused on earthly life and afterlife seldom talked about. Even Jesus initially restricted his mission to the Jews. The end time was the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE which was still the generation he said would not pass. The destruction was total and it was like the end of the world to the Jews. Nero was the coded 666 for pre Christian Rome was to Christians what Hitler was to the Jews. Take it or leave, modern Israel is the new Jerusalem…figuratively.
Meanwhile, before Christianity was established, Plato was the leading scholar on idealism and the Greeks had pagan belief of Hades. Mystic schools taught trigonometry and physics alongside transmigration of the soul and mysticism. Hymns were even sung just as the Greeks found the priests of Egypt doing. Resurrection and life after death were seen in the mummification of not just humans but also beloved pets. When Christianity became instituted in Rome, which was an extension of the Greco-Egyptian civilization, scholars idea of afterlife (even Socrates told those executing him for teaching that he was only shedding his body as a man will a coat), judgment and resurrection that have been imported from other cultures and beliefs into Catholicism. And like rabbis debated the Torah to institute the Talmud, so did Councils of bishops often meet to debate what will be Christianity and what will not be, to the extent of even adding new verses to the Bible since it was then only accessible to priests. (Oldest bible manuscript didnt have the additional parts that made up chapter 16 of Mark, that Jesus ate and met disciples again were only seen in later newer manuscripts. The statement of “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” is added).
Bottomline of it all is that ancient traditional beliefs like Ifa did not have the concept of Hell, except of an afterlife generally. Ifa believes what you do will lead to a chain of reaction or inaction back to you. We pulsate energy and reflects it too. Hell is from the Greek concept of Hades that was further built upon by Christianity to terrorize the primitive illiterate, which has so held ground that literates today have it as reality. Before, scholarship and spirituality were one. Today, it has been misconstrued as enemies and this is because the refinement of spirituality and enlightenment has left religion, leaving fear and the will to domimate others, just as true education has since left our schools leaving only arrogant elitism and the mere craft of being able to read and write.
Good spirituality is not because of the fear of not going to Hell, just as a truly educated person is not reading just because of the fear of failure. God isn’t that stupid to be patronized. Mystics and spirituality are joyously interesting to he whom the awareness comes upon. It is the kind of enthusiasm that drove Paul, not some Hell. The discovery of the meaning of life is beautiful beyond words or fear. We have invented so many things and now God. If we think theancients were more spiritual than we are, how come then we think it is Hell that God needed for man to elevate his soul. Like domino effect, our action beautifies or diminishes not just us as individuals but mankind. The proper study of mankind is man.