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The Oldest Recorded Religion

Updated on September 30, 2009
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

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?

Oh, My

(What a pot I’ve started boiling now!)


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    • profile image

      argdraw 7 years ago

      I'm new on these forums, and know I shouldn't plug my own hub, but a 'logical look at religion' explains why I think man Evolved with religion, so the oldest religion will predate, any written matter or even archealogical findings, as they will be with the 'missing link'

      Any religion that believes they worship the creator however cant be predated? what does admitting a start date do to a reliogion?

    • Kori Lee F.P. profile image

      Kori Lee F.P. 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I think Hinduism is one of the oldest because the East is the first for a lot of things. I think is also important to see how their religion lasts and what kind of culture it promotes. The Greeks, Egyptians, Hindus are the ones who created cultures that rose to greatness. The Hindus I am not sure- but their religion promoted Buddha so it still influences the whole Eastern World. The Jews are fairly new- a product of Egyptians religion with their own prophets having spiritual experiences to form their religion. Great Hub- Always interesting to investigate the origin of things.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for a pretty good hub. I'm with Misty--goddess worship predates just about anything I've ever heard, the Druids go back to pre-history. I also heard that the geneology of the twelve tribes of Israel for the Jews is about 6,000 years old, and that would beat out the Egyptians as well as the Dravidians.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Very interesting info RGraf, I would have said "Paganism" every time if asked the question, but perhaps this is a form of Pagansim in itself!