What are the ways that people have been guiled by the hyperbolic concepts of hell, judgement day,
rapture, & the tribulation? Give analytical answers. Religious diatribes will be.....DELETED.
Reflecting on the question, I find it more complex than simply a device used for social control. In taking the human being's deepest fear of self-extinction and turning it into a social issue (law and order) and the facing of an even higher court (religious issue), well, innate fear is vulnerable to that. Also, I think it is the yearning for justice, that somewhere, somehow, there is a final justice to the cruelties of the world, man's inhumanity to man, etc., and the wicked will pay and the innocent rewarded. I think it's always been that way. Religious mythology is an hierarchy played out equally on earth, and I go back to the vulnerability of the intrinsic fear of death and how it persuades people to believe the most fantastic things that are told to them. Even being an egocentric species, we have an urge to follow the head of the herd, as it were. Those that don't, are viewed with suspicion rather than benign curiosity.
Historically, the concept of Hades v. The Elysian Fields comes from the Pantheon of the Greeks, and Heaven (Monotheistic God) and Hell and the Devil (Ahirman) from Persia (Zoroastrianism) and worked its way through the Middle East to eventually weave into the religious concepts of the ancient Israelites. With human foibles, death and violence all around, final judgment was a way to bond the social order of things (making some sense out of the world, notwithstanding). Again, that ancient societies mimicked the hierarchy of their respective deities, people follow that prescribed rule until it becomes ingrained. Whether it is truth, delusion or deliberate deception is irrelevant after awhile. The Book of Daniel is still in dispute by religious scholars, so the rapture and tribulation is a matter of belief for those who adhere to it, and discarded by those who don't within the Christian faith system.
In some ways, the answer may be as simple as groups of individuals want to be right. They don't want to have been fooled. The need to cushion the fear of death, the need to demand justice, to see the enemy defeated, the need for order, not chaos, the wont of story rather than the nebulous unknown, the habit and comfort of tradition, it all serves to prevent disobedience to the Powers That Be, be they in Heaven or here on Earth. Like a parent to a child, the commands are taken as the voice of God and the terror of punishment.
I hope I have offered some insight into the question and not gone too far off track.
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