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The Oldest Recorded Religion
What is the oldest religion? You want to know what the oldest religion is? That seems like it ought to be a very black and white question. Should be easy to answer. But upon researching this, I discovered that it is far from easy.
Inquire on the internet and you will discover that Dravidianism is the oldest religion. Trying to find out the details of it is practically non-existent. Not even Wikipedia has a site on it yet. I will say that it is an ancient form of Hinduism that dates as back as 2000 BC. There is no date of origin. There is no founder. There are just archeological evidences found that mention this ancient religion. We can say that it stems more from a collection of traditions than actual laws or rituals. Written texts were not found of Dravidianism/Hinduism until around 1500 BC and these were found to be in the form of poetry and hymns.
Studying Hinduism is an encyclopedia all by itself but here let’s look at how ancient it is. The religion can be traced into the Indus Valley and can be found on the oldest of temples and other finds. It has survived thousands and thousands of years despite wars, natural disasters, and overall changes in culture. Not all the ancient buildings in that area have been unearthed so the finds on Dravidianism are not all accounted for. We don’t know have far back in time this tradition actually goes. But we do know that it is old and lives today through Hinduism. It has deep strong roots.
But Are We So Sure?
But I do want to pose a question here. Do you base the age of a religion on archeological finds alone or do we look into their own traditions and writings? We can safely say that not all archeological finds have been discovered or ever will. Some have been destroyed for all eternity. Will be find that the Egyptians were right and their religion is actually older since they go back and claim that it started with creation? What if we find their religion in new artifacts that date back even further than Dravidiansim. If we go there, what about Judaism? According to its own scriptures, the worship of Yahweh by the Hebrews has been since the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Since Noah and his family were the only survivors of the flood and they worshipped Yahweh, then they were would hold the record for oldest religion. Since they record it in their scriptures, are they now the oldest recorded religion?
One issue is that many founders of religions claim revelations that “create” the new religion. Usually the revelations tell everyone that the true religion from the beginning of time is that religion though it was just created. Or is it not newly created but is just culminating from years of contamination and misuse?
What makes a religion old? Is it the archeological finds? Is it the oldest manuscripts? Is it the oldest traditions? Is it the date of a founder? Is it the establishment of always being? Maybe then we need to define religion before determining which one is actually older?
(What a pot I’ve started boiling now!)