Caves of Death: Earliest Glimpses into the Origins of Religion and Misbelief


Very deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless? The deeper we sound. The further down into the lower world of the past we probe and press, the more do we find that the earliest foundations of humanity, its history and culture, reveal themselves unfathomable.”

Thomas Mann: Joseph and His Brothers

Caves of death: Caverns littered with corpses & childrens’ heads found in remote Scotland

From these discoveries (and the many thousands of others) we are given a profound glimpse into the earliest psychological misbeliefs and musings of early humans.

Certainly, one of the first “god ideals” dating back to the Neanderthals ( 250,000 – 50,000 BCE) is this superstitious teleological notion that “Life Comes from Death”, and we can actually follow it anthropologically and archaeologically through the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, Bronze, Iron Ages, to present day Christianity, where the sacrificed ‘king” is slaughtered and resurrected at Easter to renew and bring about eternal life.

With all that we are gleaning from the latest in neuroscientific study is that these autochthonous or archetypal “ideals” are imprinted into our nervous systems and evolutionary psychology only to be revivified by certain neurotic, traumatic, ritualistic, or symbolic events where they are experienced anew as personal revelation and religious faith.


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