I’ve been working on a manuscript for a couple years that I’m trying to get published. It’s called ‘The lie of the first gods: Food Cons in Early Mesopotamian, Chinese, and Egyptian Religion.’ Thought people on this site might be interested in my argument. I looked into where the first god claims come from. Here’s what I found:
In Mesopotamia and Egypt, the first gods are statues, beautiful statues, but lifeless statues, and those statues are sometimes described as animate. They were supposedly possessed by heavenly gods deep inside temples, and then they ate and drank enormous feasts. In fact, the elites who claimed to serve them (kings, priests, state officials) ate and drank those feasts of meat, grain, bread, alcohol, etc., That food and drink came to them as offerings from peasants and other citizens.
In China, the first gods are ancestral spirits and nature powers. Those heavenly spirits supposedly appeared in temples during feasting rituals, and either ate and drank meat, wine, millet, etc. or absorbed its essence. Here the food and drink again came from the fields of peasants and other citizens.
Early elites lied about the first gods: kings, priests, state officials, etc. made claims about gods that cannot be true as if they were described. Chinese princes said spirits appeared audibly and visibly at their sacrifices, but they didn’t. Mesopotamian kings said that statues ate meat and drank alcohol, but they didn’t. Egyptian priests said statue-Horus drank wine, and statue-Sobek poured milk into his wooden mouth, but they didn’t either. This amounts to boldface lies.
Early elites watched feasting rituals go on, so they saw for themselves that the first gods did not exist as they described them to peasants and other citizens. I am arguing that early elites are little more than con artists, who deceived non-elites with their lies about gods. Gods were invented by early elites because they wanted to eat and drink well. A believing peasantry and other citizens meant they would continue receiving food and drink offerings “for gods,” offerings those elites then consumed themselves behind closed doors.
I welcome anyone’s thoughts on what I’ve posted. If anyone is interested in reading parts of the manuscript, shoot me a message. Fair warning, it’s a bit dense.