8 Ancient Civilizations or Cultures without Religion and God
First thing I wanted to make clear that there can be no one who is living on this planet without following any religion. According to me even eating, wearing clothes and our day to day activities are because we are following these as our religion.
Religion can be anything you learn while growing up and you can follow anything as an religion. Here in this article by religion I mean the communities, civilization and cultures which have different ideologies when it comes to Gods. Some of them believed in just that there are no Gods and some believed that there are but they are not for us or not the way we look at them.
Actually during ancient times people used to kill those who opposes Gods so these atheist tried to share their ideas through scientific reasons and not opposing anyone’s belief.
Some thinks that if God is there and watching us than why he is solving our problems and freeing us from sufferings. So here are some ancient civilizations without religion who did not believe in God.
Buddhism – Asia
Buddha once said that Gods might do exist but they are trapped in the cycle of repetitive birth. According to him, they are mortal and no wiser than humans.
Basically he wanted to say that they do not exist and there are reasons for his saying. Just like sociologists and psychologists. Buddha believed that the idea of god have originated because of fear.
One of the Buddha saying:
“Gripped by fear men go to the sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines”.
In the Early ages man was afraid of everything like wild animals, lightning, sun, volcanoes, fire etc. He started praying believing that it was someone’s doing and when it goes away they used to believe that it was because of their prayers. If explained in fewer words, they were superstitious.
According to Buddha man only gets and god’s idea in mind when he is frustrated or afraid. The teaching of Buddha helps us to overcome our fears, lessen our desires and calmly accept things which we have no control on.
According to Ven. S. Dhammika on Buddhanet, the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin on the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god.
Jainism – India
Jainism believes in a perfect being who are worthy of devotion but they are not God. These perfect being are mortal and die when their times come.
According to Jainism, if God have existed there would be no evil and suffering which is on large scale in the world.
According to the BBC, in Jain texts universe consists of only two things a life force called souls and lifeless objects. So the only god that exists in the Jainism is pure souls which are perfectly happy and eternal.
Jains do not believe that the universe was created by a God. They think that no one has so much power to control the universe.
In Jainism everything is determined by karma. All of your happiness, pain and sufferings are decided by your karma. Karma is a physical process in which whatever you do you will receive the same.
According to Jainism the perfect being is a one who has no desire of anything. So, if god is desired to be worshipped is never a perfect being, thus not a god.
Taoism – China
Taoism often known as Daoism is a philosophical tradition followed by many schools in China which emphasizes living in peace and harmony with Tao. The meaning of Tao is ‘the Way’.
Taoism is not an Abrahamic religion and does not believe in God. It is not entirely an atheist religion, but God existence does not matter, even Chinese Gods. It is only Tao which matter in this religion. Actually it is teaching of various disciples for achieving “perfection” and becoming or resonating with the unexplained rhythms of the universe known as “the way or ”tao”.
Tao is not a real person or a thing, it is “something”. It is Undefined. If you can define or explain anything then it is not Tao.
Zoroastrianism – Iran
Zoroastrianism is a religion from Persia, Iran which originated in India during ancient times. When Persians visited some of they stayed and build their families there. This religion was established by Zarathustra in 6th and 7th century BC. The followers of this religions exiled from Iran in the 7th AD because of the regions persecutions by the Muslims.
They do not believe in any particular God but believe in just one invisible super power. They think that there are good forces and evil forces, and both of they are fighting. According to them if people will do good deeds, think good and speak well, good forces will win. This religion followers who are known as Parsis believe that earth, water, air and fire are pure elements and should be preserved. This is the reason they do not cremate their peoples dead bodies instead they put their dead bodies on high towers so that crows and hawks can eat them.
Pygmy Tribes – Africa
According to Wikipedia, Will Durant, in his book The Story of Civilization, explained that some pygmy tribes of Africa have no identified cults or rituals. There were no talks or worshiping of totems, deities or spirits. They bury their dead people without any ceremony or ritual and without any further attention.
According to some tourists, they even lack simple and basic superstitious beliefs.
Sophists – Greece
Sophists are basically the community of teachers in ancient Greece during the 4th and 5th century BC. This community includes all types of teachers like the ones who teaches music, athletics and others who teaches science and mathematics.
According to the PBS organization, the Sophists were skeptical about the existence of God. Since people in those times who does know anything about science used to believe in Gods but since Sophists were intellectual peoples they mostly teaches everyone the reasons behind all natural occurrences.
The word Sophist is originated from Socrates.
Epicureanism – Greece
Epicureanism is based on the teaching of an ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus and was founded in 307 BC.
This religion does not denies the existence of God (it might have but during that times people were killed if they oppose God) but it denies their involvement in our world. This religion says that there might be a God but he does not interfere in the matters of the human and the universe in any way.
According to the article by University of Southampton, “the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus also thought that natural evil challenges our belief in God.
He reasoned: If God knows about our suffering (all-knowing), cares about our suffering (all-loving), and can do something about our suffering (all-powerful), then there shouldn’t be any suffering!
But hang on. Rather than challenging belief in God itself, perhaps Epicurus has only challenged one way to believe in God. You don’t necessarily have to understand all of God’s ways in order to believe in God.”
Confucianism – China
Confucianism was the philosophy which was written by the Confucius. He wrote down different ideas which are necessary for a person to live a happy life. There was not claim about God or any of his teaching in his ideas.
His ideas were not about any divine revelations or metaphysics. He did not answer any question regarding who created this world. This religion does not talk about any divine being or karma.
Confucianism is a philosophy which shares his ideas about how to build a moral, logical and fully functional society.
Confucianism became an official ideology in China but it was not accepted as a religion by the Church and priests. Scholars think of Confucius as a great teacher but never worshiped him. Either way according to his teachings he does not wanted him to be a God.
According to the teachings in Confucianism people can have an better life if they personally fulfill all of their civil obligations and work on improving their personality.