I’ve been watching HBO’s series Rome as well as rereading Karin Armstrong’s A History of God, so I’ve theology on my mind this week.
Religion was an entirely different animal before the coming of the revealed, monotheistic faiths. The ancient myth-based belief systems had an entirely different impact on culture and how their followers saw both religion and the world:
“Nobody expected religion to be a challenge or to provide an answer to the meaning of life. People turned to philosophy for that kind of enlightenment. In the Roman empire of late antiquity, people worshipped the gods to ask for help during a crises, to secure a divine blessing for the state and to experience a healing sense of continuity with the past. Religion was a matter of cult and ritual rather than ideas; it was based on emotion, not on ideology or consciously adopted theory.”
Karin Armstrong, A History of God, p. 91