MESOPOTAMIAN CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION MESOPOTAMIAN (BABYLONIAN) RELIGION Mescac
"In essence Mespotamian religion is the "acceptance of Monotheism, basic mesopotamian commandments, scientific and logical thinking, a straight and truthful life, non acceptance of any intermediary between Marduk (God) and oneself, performance of religious rites by a holy priest or holy King and worship in Ziggurat or its equivalent"
*Monotheism is a concept given by the Mesopotamians to the world. This means worshipping one supreme almighty. Now I will put forward the genesis of Monotheism among Mesopotamians. I must agree that in the very beginning Mesopotamians were also polytheist as others but as they settled down into city states, they chose one god for their city state which was worshipped by all populate of this city state. This is the beginning of monotheism but still idol worship.
But during certain times when these city states were made into one state by conquests, the conqueror established the supremacy of its god over others and over many years other gods lost their position and this conqueror god further established its supremacy and this further strengthened the concept of monotheism.
But as the conqueror changed, the god also changed. This puzzled the intellectuals a great deal. But they also understood that by having one god they could unite all city-states in peace. But question arose as to what form or which idol to choose. I think here some very innovative and creative intellectual or intellectuals among the many the Mesopotamians have been blessed with came forward with the concept of one supreme god who resides in heaven, and cannot be seen by us but we can worship it in our temples without any idols, and thus such a god has no structure or shape.
This is the beginning of modern concept of monotheism.
* I must also point to the presence of many mythological stories, which have a common origin in the mythological stories of the Mesopotamians, which have been modified over a period of time. These stories were bedtime stories, which the Mesopotamians told their children so that they could go to sleep. These have been accepted as the gospel truth by the followers of these religions. This again shows the imagination and creativity of Mesopotamians, but also shows the colossal gulf between the intelligence level of the Mesopotamians and the followers of these religions. The Mesopotamian mythologies include the creation myth, the garden of Eden, the great food, tower of Babel, the epic of Gilgamesh and figures of Nimrod and Lilith.
* The Mesopotamians are the straightest of straight people and homosexuality is not at all acceptable to them.
The Mardok is imbued with the qualities of power, all-knowing, all-seeing and immortal, with a splendid brightness surrounding it, as their most conspicuous physical quality. This can be seen as a transition towards the later omnipresence and 'cannot be seen or felt' qualities of the Mardok.
***In Mesopotamian religion, the Mesopotamian temple or place of worship has been the Ziggurat. The Ziggurat was constructed of mud-bricks and was a multi-storey building. Each floor in the Ziggurat had a certain function as regards Mesopotamian religion. Animal sacrifices were also performed in the Ziggurat.
***The Ziggurat was meant to serve as a dwelling place of Mardok and hence a place of worship. The ruler was also the religious leader who was helped by many other priests to perform all religious rites in the Ziggurat. The Mesopotamian religion believed that man/woman originated as a divine act of creation (through a process set and defined by Mardok), and the Mardok is believed to be the source of life, and hold power over illnesses and health. They also held sway over the destinies of man. Man was believed to have been created to serve the Mardok. In Mesopotamian religion, the king is high priest and chief proponent and practitioner of Babylonian religion and worship one and only one true Mardok and hence is supposed to exercise justice and righteousness (mesaru and kettu). They are supposed to maintain "Straightness, rightness, firmness and truth". All actions which go against the basic good "straightness, rightness, firmness and truth" are considered sins and were expressed by hitu (mistake), annu or arnu (rebellion), and qillatu (sin or curse).
**The idea of good and evil is firmly established in Mesopotamian religion. This idea is even applied to the nation and history as a whole.
**To differentiate right from wrong and to act on the path of righteousness was and is the core of Mesopotamian (Babylonian) religion.
**Mesopotamian (Babylonian) religion regarded and still does, all female male copulation relationships permitted by Marduk as part of their religion and were to be practiced as such. In Mesopotamian religion, permitted female male copulation relationships were something to be proud of and celebrated. They were not to be frowned upon. But 'straightness' also meant that Mesopotamian religion regarded homosexuality as sin and a punishable offense by death.
***The Babylonain religion believed in a afterlife which was known as Arallu, Ganzer or Irkallu, and that all men will one day die. Thus, Babylonian religion from the very beginning considered the burial of the dead as the descent into afterlife.
They show the kind of needs and thinking prevailing in the Babylonian society and are a very good means of studying the mind of the previous Mesopotamians in a scientific psychology study without ever talking to them directly. But examples such as above can be only clues to the complexity of Babylonian mind and only a very trained master mind can decipher to any great degree the psychology of these ancestors of our great Babylonian past.