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About Religion and World History

(Summary Page)

Religion is the cultural/ spiritual side of a society. As civilizations change, it's to be expected that the prevailing type of religion will also change.

In An Historian's Approach to Religion, Arnold Toynbee identified changes in the object of religious worship as societies moved from a pre-civilized or tribal condition to what we call the first and second civilizations.

In pre-civilized society, man worships: Nature

In Civilization I, man worships: Man Himself (the state)

In Civilization II, man worships: Absolute Reality (God)

While the modes of Civilization II continue to define religion in a formal sense, Five Epochs of Civilization has extended this scheme the civilizations arising in a secular age.

In Civilization III, man values: Money, Science, Artistry

In Civilization IV, man values: the Rhythm of personality

In Civilization V, man values: Universal Connectedness?

Personality and belief are two sides to religion. Each civilization defines these elements differently. Each believes certain things to be true. Each idolizes a certain type of person. That type is its cultural hero.

Click here to see how Personality is defined in each civilization. (605 words)

Click here to see how Belief is defined in each civilization. (845 words)

Click here for a complete discussion of religion in the five epochs. (15,331 words)

Click here for: God's Authority in the World (2827 words)

Click here for: Why written language is important to religions of the second epoch (670 words)

Click here for: The Rite of Human Sacrifice in the Five Civilizations (622 words)

Also, we can see how the holiday known as Christmas appears in each civilization. Click here for that discussion. (453 words)

Click here for: a reaction to commercial holidays and other manifestations of the business culture (Civilization III) (1261 words)

Click here for: Billy Graham, a man of religion for the Entertainment Age (1004 words)


More about Christianity: Albert Schweitzer's View of the Messianic Self-Consciousness of Jesus

Albert Schweitzer, the German theologian and humanitarian, was perhaps the world's foremost expert on the historical Jesus. Yet, few have heard of his last book, The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity, published in English by Seabury Press in 1968, which was his "theological testament". William McGaughey, author of Five Epochs of Civilization, has written a book summarizing arguments in Schweitzer's book. Not yet published, it is titled What Jesus was Thinking: Albert Schweitzer's view of his Messianic Self-Consciousness.

Schweitzer emphasizes the eschatological aspect of Jesus' ministry, interpreting the Lord's Prayer, the Transfiguration, events in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Resurrection itself in that light. This book summarizes the unfolding expectation of God's Kingdom in the Old Testament prophets and in late Jewish writings. It holds that Jesus' view of the Kingdom is closest to the view expressed in the Apocalypse of Enoch. Two separate Messianic identities, "Son of David" and "Son of Man", were combined for the first time in the person of Jesus. The Resurrection put Jesus in a supernatural state which was the proper form of the Messiah. It was left to the Apostle Paul to reconcile belief in the Kingdom with the evident fact of a still-present corruptible world.

Historically, this book shows how the writing of prophetic literature reflected events of the Jewish nation and, at the same time, created a tapestry of expectations about God's future intervention in human affairs. Of interest to world historians, it shows how much Christianity was a product of the alphabetic literate culture then sweeping the western world. In carrying history forward into the future, the Old Testament prophets were testing the limits of historical writing. Their writings created a kind of dramatic script which Jesus had to follow. There was dissonance between predictions made by the prophets and subsequent historical experience.

Students of the second civilization will find here a penetrating study of Jesus, his motivations, teachings, and thoughts, as Albert Schweitzer understood them in the final years of his life.

Click on What Jesus was Thinking for the Table of Contents and complete text of William McGaughey's manuscript. (1730 words for table of contents)

Click on elements of prophecy for the principal points of prophetic expectation concerning events in the final days. (2819 words)

Click on Jesus' mission to see how Jesus sought to play a role in bringing about the Kingdom of God in the final days. (5379 words)

Click on Three Demystifying Points about Christianity for an independent analysis of elements in this religion. (3479 words)

Click on Biblical Prophecy and the United Nations to gain a sense of how Biblical prophecy is being used to interpret events happening today. (1738 words)

Poems of Francis Gurney Okie written by use of Gematria. (3,454 words)

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