I've started reading "The Columbia History of the World".
Durango the Misplaced Washingtonian had some mean things to say.
All but one of my history teachers in Junior High and High School was "a football coach forced to teach History" in order to get through some kind of governmental red educational tape. We had to have coaches so our football teams could excel. Education be damned.
Ray Evans was the only history teacher that ever taught history. And, looking back on it, I remember his class more than any other in that era. His son later taught a damn good English class as well . I remember learning about poetry via Bob Dylan.
I'm enjoying my current history book. Unfortunately, Durango the Misplaced Washingtonian thought that it would help me change topics (I spend a lot of time rambling about religion). The latest chapter I read was about early India. Yes, I'm into the beginning of civilizations. It starts out with the beginning of the Universe, then the beginning of Earth, then the beginning of life, then the beginning of man, and then civilization.
Civilization starts out with Sumeria, then Egypt, and then India. They kind of go in order from which earliest evidence has been discovered particularly with regards to "written" evidence. People have been writing for a long time.
But, back to my topic. All these civilizations practiced religion in one form or another. It was a little early for the Bible. The intelligent and powerful men became leaders. They used religion to unite and sometimes frighten the sheeple. When a new leader took over Egypt, he'd say that his battle power was because of his dedication to the "sun god" and he'd give the sun god a name. Then, he'd have his writers write stories about the sun god and what would happen if you didn't offer him proper respect. Not very many people could read and write back then so writers were hard to come by. Only the rich and powerful could afford them. Soon the legend of the sun god would be true and all would fear and worship him.
This is why, I think, I don't do well in history. I read all of this stuff and my mind begins to wonder or wander. Egypt was a hard country to invade because of the geography of the area. All of their gods seems to deal with agriculture and war and power. You worshiped their gods and offered up sacrifices in order for something that this particular god offered.
India was different. India is in a bad location. It was invaded all the time. There was constant conflict. Eventually, the powerful rulers that survived more then 50 years started preaching tranquility. Thus, the birth of Buddhism and other religions of that nature. The smart rulers realized that if they used the sun god from Egypt it would cause strife. You need your people to be peaceful so that they can be ruled. Of course, this peaceful stuff only worked until the Huns discovered your peaceful little asses.
It got me to thinking how important religion is to all this empire building and tranquility. The most powerful nation to date was founded upon the principle of "freedom of religion". I may be overstepping things a bit there for dramatic purposes. Did the powerful and intelligent back then see that freedom of religion was the way to go in order to have an empire that would last? Or did they realize that having freedom of religion would attract the most intelligent from around the world? History is a lot of theories, but they don't really know exactly why someone did what they did. This kind of thing is almost never written down. They write the consequences, but never the why unless the why is obvious. You can't go back and read Napoleon's thoughts.
USA is predominantly Christian. It makes me wonder where that catch phrase comes from, "the meek shall inherit the earth". That little ditty right there promotes an empire with people that are humble and non rebellious. A world without religion might just be a scary place.