One little corner of the human experience I’ve followed since graduate school is the location of various peoples’ gods.Â Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in this area of anthropology, it’s just one of my quirky curiousities.
The Christian God, of course, is in the sky. Some native cultures find their spiritual beings on or in the ground or in the animals they hunt.Â Then, there are isolated groupsÂ who knowÂ their god is in the cave on that hill and so on.
Is there something in the nature of our psych that points us to a god at one location or another? As an economist, who studied graduate anthropology, I have my own theory on the location of gods.Â When I was in graduate school, I spent quite a while one semester on a paper about the Incas.Â The Incas were in andÂ around the area we nowÂ know as Peru. They and other native groups had complex societies and quite a high standard of living compared to some others of that time.
The Incas were so prosporous they could afford to have their religious leaders do nothing but study the sky and plot movements of stars and planets. From this they came to believe that their god or gods were living and doing things in the sky.
From this limited study, I came to a conclusion that is probably not justified, but it’s mine nevertheless.Â It’s that societies whoÂ believe their god is in the sky are ones that studied the skies.Â If you did not study the sky carefully, you would not see that things out there are moving around, and, come to the conclusion someone is moving them.Â Societies that are onÂ the verge of starvation and are in a race against running out of food do notÂ have timeÂ to study the sky.Â
They have the same need as the sky god peopleÂ to findÂ a spiritual demension to things, but they see it in the rabbit they are chasing because they don’t have time to look elsewhere.
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