Tree of religions

From animism to scientology in over 100,000 years. Should we call this "progress"? Personally I'm more inclined towards animism.

[Image: d8ecc07e906127bf0fd4623504b7eca8.jpg]
Apparently the Aboriginal term translated as 'dreamtime' is actually closer to 'having originated out of one's own eternity' or 'immortal' or 'uncreated'.

"Why the blackfellow thinks of 'dreaming' as the nearest equivalent in English is a puzzle." --W.H. Stanner
I like how the image file was big enough that expanding the image on this tablet made it easier to read.
I don't think that I'd call it "progress". That word suggests a less advanced/more advanced hierarchy. That kind of distinction might be hard to justify in religion.

Whoever created this chart seems to have some definite ideas about stages that religions supposedly go through as they develop historically. Animism at the bottom, then pantheism, then polytheism, finally theistic creeds as we follow the branches upwards. That sounds like 19th century 'anthropological' speculation about the evolution of religion to me.

Interestingly what we see in the chart isn't an evolution towards monotheism. Animism and pantheism seem to suggest many (animism) or one (pantheism) supernatural/divine forces within physical reality. So with pantheism we have already arrived at the idea of one divine principle. Stacking polytheism atop that suggests a reversion to the older animistic idea of many supernatural principles, except now the principles are personalized as heavenly people. What this chart seems to favor above everything is a change from less personal depictions of divinity at the bottom, to more personal depictions closer to the top, with the implicit suggestion that more personal conceptions of divinity are more evolved conceptions.

While the history of religion in the Middle East may seem to show roughly that kind of pattern, I'm not convinced that it's universal and world-wide.

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