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New study: Religion has been dividing and tearing down society for the last 2,000 years

According to the anthropological evidence, elites often dominated religious life and controlled the connection between the community and the gods. The religious elites were often in conflict with community leaders.

According to a new anthropological study, religion has divided human society for over 2,000 years. The new study contradicts the earlier belief that religion helped unite early societies and form civilizations.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado and the University of Central Florida, and looked at Mexican archeological sites that dated back to 700BC.

The sites allowed researchers to study ancient culture between 700BCE and 250CE. The researchers also found evidence that questions religion’s powers to bond small communities. According to the anthropological evidence, elites often dominated religious life and controlled the connection between the community and the gods. The religious elites were often in conflict with community leaders.

The civilizations thrived for a brief period of time and formed a regional state. In the lower Rio Verde valley, the ancient society formed a regional state with a capital at the hilltop city of Monte Albán. However, the religious conflict quickly tore the society apart. Many temples were built around 100AD, and were abandoned a century later after religious conflict erupted.

“In both the Valley of Oaxaca and the Lower Río Verde Valley, religion was important in the formation and history of early cities and states, but in vastly different ways,” said Arthur Joyce, a professor at the University of Colorado and one of the project’s main researchers. “Given the role of religion in social life and politics today, that shouldn’t be too surprising.”

Featured image via Flickr

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32 Comments

  1. Pingback: Religion has been dividing and tearing down society for the last 2,000 years, according to new anthropological study of Mexican ruins. | On Reddit

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