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February 1, 2006

Whence Religion

A few quotes from Weston La Barre's The Ghost Dance: Origins of Religion (first recommended to me in a comment on this blog):

** "Religious behavior appears to be unique to man among all the animals."

** "Religious behavior is present in all known human societies, past and present."

** "The basis of all religion in both North and South America [and by extension, La Barre believes, everywhere else] is the shaman or medicine-man."

And La Barre believes that these shaman -- in the role of "master of animals" -- actually predate gods. Which may complicate the which-came-first-belief-or-disbelief question slightly.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at February 1, 2006 8:52 PM


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