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Name a ancient agnostic civilization

Please name a few agnostic civilizations.

Count 5 June 24

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Disclaimer: most of this is from my mother and uncle and I haven't vetted the facts behind it.

So... many little things about Hinduism are important to this conversation. First, Hinduism is not based on any single set of ideas. It was named and labeled from "outside". So once you group those distinct people together, you have a group that disagrees on the gods behind things, but at the same time, they found a way to coexist. It wasn't quite secularism, as religion still played a role in governments and the caste system, but it was a general acceptance of the limitations of knowledge, which is what agnosticism really is.

There were atheists, polytheists, monotheists and pantheists under one umbrella, living in relative peace because one of the main tenets at the core of all the branches was the idea that we are all "delusions" of the same perfect being, living our own lives to find our own way and our own solutions to our own problems. To an atheist, the fact that someone was deluded into believing there was a god was their own struggle and they should be left to it. To a theist, the fact that someone was deluded into believing there was no god was their own struggle and they should be left to it.

Wow, did they have troubles anyway and religion ruined many things and many wars were fought, but the central tenet remained, even when it was ignored. And now most of the religious sects are continuing to ruin what could be great, but there is that one kernel of agnostic belief from thousands of years ago, that I look at my lineage and am proud of.

Some of the arguments collected on this wiki page are thousands of years old and quite interesting.



Pagan. That's not a civilization but the most benign 'belief' I could think of.

pagan, I think, is a label placed by Christians upon any by alternative religions, especially those with multiple gods...pagans believe in god(s)...

@seattlepanda It is. But if you look deeper it's also the term used to describe the people who didn't have a god belief pre-christian era.


Soviet Union

zesty Level 7 Mar 10, 2019



There were none, all claimed that there were Gods, except for a tribe recently found in the Amazon where they don't seem to have ever had the cultural concept of spirit people of any kind.
I don't group tribes in as a civilization.
What you've stumbled on to is the possibility that in tribal societies of small size there wasn't a point to religion. You just cooperated with your family members to survive, and everyone would pretty much be related to everyone else. Neighboring tribes were a threat, but their differences could be settled if the family units joined, so they would trade their females with one another and make agreements, or there would typically be war.
These exchanges had to have some rules to keep the peace, these rules became ceremony, and those ceremonies became religion. Women who had originally been pretty much equal to everyone else in the small tribe had become a commodity, in these progressively larger communities especially at the civilization level.
Deprogramming all these cultural "norms" will take time, because people want those norms, because they can't imagine an alternative and that scares the hell out of them.
So yes, I just went there, I blame religion on marriage.
Marriage is the most evil vile social arrangement devised by humans.


Mass architecture (Pyramids, Temples, etc) generally make their appearance in the first class-stratified, city-states. And those structures are usually erected to honor the 'Gods', the priests, or the nobles. In our society, they are erected to honor banks, corporations, or television-evangelists. We've come a long way, haven't we?


There is none and never has been any. All known human tribes, cultures, civilizations have and had some sort of religion (belief in magic, in spirits, ancestors, gods, witches, karma, Dao, an unseen order...)
Religion is the Ocean in which there can be found some islands of atheism and secularism, mostly in Western, rich countries with a high level of education and a welfare state that serves as a buffers against existential threats. People without that buffer need religion.

Matias Level 8 June 25, 2018

Totally agree Mathias. The concept of religion as a specific entity is a post Enlightenment, Western idea. Gods etc. have always been around in cultures. Its just that these ideas became systemised at that time. See the work of Walter Cantwell-Smith - 'The Meaning and End of Religion' (1962)


Ancient people needed some explanations for what they saw, plus religion is a handy way to reinforce things that helped societies survive. Don't crap near where you eat, don't eat stuff that can kill you...lots of leviticus had real utility at the time.

The really odd thing for me is how different "morality" from religion was based on the utility of each region yet so many think THEIR morality has always been universal. It's almost like they don't think.


All Cave man groups BEFORE they started blaming everything they couldn't understand into something they needed to invent.


Before the past couple hundred years I think discretion was the better part of valor. Most agnostics and atheists were closeted. Indeed, there was no need for the word "atheist" prior to the 17th century and "agnostic" was coined early in the 20th.

So we get to see a little bit with gay people that go through staying in the closet


I go outside everday, Wow! Nature is my Religion.




not civilizations, but tribes in central Africa had no gods for a long time and some Greeks, ie Socrates, but there were individual thinkers, not the general population

Could you name one or two of these secular, godless tribes?
Even Socrates was not an atheist.
Anthropologists confirm that there is no human culture without SOME sort of religion, which makes believing the human default.

As far as I know they didn't have names either. But some dude called Durant found that certain Pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no gods, no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to travelers' reports. The Vedahs of Ceylon, only admitted the possibility that gods might exist, but went no further. Neither prayers nor sacrifices were suggested in any way. []
I get your point re believing being the default, my line of thought runs along there being a point in brain development that wanted answers to things, could not determine natural answers, so created supernatural ones.

@Rugglesby This is not correct regarding Vedic ritual. Agni is the Fire God invoked by Brahmins when initiating a sacrificial fire. The rites which are oral would have been formulated at earliest around 1700 BCE and codified 1200 BCE. I have no idea what is meant by Vedas of Ceylon. The Vedic tradition started in North India and so would have taken many generations to reach 'Ceylon' which is the name given by the British Empire around 1815. And as for Durant, this is the man who said in his book Popular Science "The story of Genesis is beautiful, and profoundly significant as symbolism: there is no good reason to torture it into conformity with modern theory' and in Our Oriental Heritage "We must accept the Biblical account provisionally until it is disproved" Probably not the most reliable of sources, bless him!


Clan of The Cave.

The adverage scientist agrees man has lived on earth for a least 200'000 years. They mainly lived without religion for 190,000 of the them, roughly 95% of the time.


Don't know of any, but there may have been agnostic people, just like there are today? Do you know of any? Here's a link to where someone asked the question elsewhere. No one was able to come up with one: []


Could be these people []

azzow2 Level 9 June 24, 2018
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