Ancient Near East: Imagination is an Important Part of Faith

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I will use my comprehension of the course readings to prove my point of view on how the ancient Egyptian religion was an intriguingly complex arrangement of refined beliefs and rituals that formed a necessary part of ancient Egyptian culture. It centered on the Egyptians’ interactions with numerous gods believed to be present in, and responsible for, the world.

Roots of the Modern West.

The information provided in the readings that define the ‘Ancient Near East’ sets the stage for the time in history when religious beliefs of hierarchies were creating the beginnings of religious ceremonies.

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These set the foundation for faith, religion, and imaginations as we know it. For example, petitions and contributions were given to divine beings to gain their favor. Formal religious practice centered on the pharaohs, the leaders of Egypt, believed to possess divine powers by virtue of their positions. They served as intermediaries between their people and the gods and were committed to sustaining the gods through rituals and offerings so as to maintain the order of the universe. The state dedicated immense resources to religious rituals and to the construction of temples.

People can communicate with divine beings for their own motivations. In my opinion, this is what defines one’s faith or belief. It gives you what you need internally to receive strength or courage, engaging help through petition or convincing the divine beings to act through enchantment. These practices or beliefs, particular to individuals, yet firmly connected with formal ceremonies and organizations. In today’s times, this may be the church or your place of worship. Through faith in my culture, you gain access to a higher power for guidance and direction. This help serves to solve problems or provide protection through difficult earthly experiences. Based on what I have read so far in this course, religion had its roots in Egypt’s prehistory and it lasted for more than 3,000 years. The nuances of religious beliefs changed over time as the importance of particular gods rose and declined, their complex relationships shifting accordingly. According to the King James Version of the Holy Bible, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Crystal, David, 2011).

The ancient Egyptian religion and mythology have significantly influenced both ancient and modern cultures, leaving behind many writings and monuments. Similarly, the Code of Hammurabi and the Law of Moses in the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, contain numerous similarities. Hammurabi (1952) outlined laws that bear a strong resemblance to those of the Ten Commandments presented by Moses in the Bible. For example, King Hammurabi’s code states, “If a seignior committed robbery and has been caught, that seignior shall be put to death” (Lualdi, Katherine J. Sources of the Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Vol. 1, 2012, p. 18). In contrast, the Bible simply states, “Thou shalt not steal” (Norton, David, 2005). This is considered a sin against the law of God. The well-known strict convention became increasingly prominent over the course of Egyptian history as the status of the Pharaoh declined.

Egyptian confidence in eternity and the significance of funerary practices is clear in the incredible endeavors made to guarantee the endurance of their spirits after death. They did this by means of the arrangement of tombs, grave goods, and offering to preserve the bodies and spirits of the deceased.

Religious Changes

The topic of eternal life, life originating from death, and, obviously, the judgment after death, gained significant notoriety through the fervent endeavors of St. Paul. He spread the news of the dying and resurrecting God, Jesus Christ, throughout ancient Palestine, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome (c. 42-62 CE). Paul’s vision of the figure of Jesus, the divine son of God who dies to redeem humanity, was drawn from earlier belief systems and informed the understanding of the scribes who would write the books that make up the Bible.

The religion of Christianity established a faith in existence after death and created a systematic arrangement of rituals a believer could perform to achieve eternal life. Therefore, the early Christians were essentially following in the footsteps of the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Romans, all of whom had their own stylized customs for the worship of their gods.

After the Christians, the Muslim translators of the Koran founded their own ceremonies for understanding the incomparable divinity. This, however endlessly extraordinary in structure from those of Christianity, Judaism or any of the more seasoned ‘agnostic’ religions, served a similar purpose to the rituals once practiced in worship of the Egyptian pantheon more than 5,000 years ago: to provide people with the understanding that they are not alone in their struggles, suffering, and victories, that they can curb their baser desires, and that death is not the end of existence. The religions of the ancient world provided answers to people’s questions about life and death, and in this way, are no different than the beliefs practiced in the world today.

Through all of the text readings, I have come to an honest conclusion that imagination is an important part of faith and reason in all religions.

“Greeks shaped a sense of their own distinctive identity through innovative social, political, and cultural forms, ranging from city-states based on the concept of citizenship to epic poetry celebrating the individual’s quest for excellence.” (Volume 1 of Sources of Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, by Katherine J. Lualdi, 2012, p.37). This passage speaks to me on a level beyond comprehension, justifying the importance of moral imagination when it comes to faith and/or beliefs through the imagination of religion. In other words, moral imagination implies imagining the full scope of conceivable outcomes in a specific circumstance with religion so as to illuminate a moral test. As humans, we tend to underscore our acting ethically, which frequently requires something more than a quality of character. For instance, moral activity requires empathy and the attention to recognize what is ethically important in each circumstance.

The moral creative mind, as characterized by our religious beliefs, is the capacity to simultaneously be moral and effective through imagining new and innovative alternatives. In other words, can individuals consider our personal beliefs to create a “one nation under God” type world? Doing so would give our future generations a fair chance at living in an unbiased world; a world where they are free to be whoever they wish, regardless of their faith.


Crystal, David (2011). Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language. Oxford University Press.
Hammurabi (1952). Driver, G.R.; Miles, John C. (eds.). The Babylonian Laws. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Norton, David (2005). A Textual History of the King James Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sources of Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, by Katherine J. Lualdi, Volume 1, 4th edition or 6th edition (MacMillan).

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Ancient Near East: Imagination Is An Important Part Of Faith. (2022, Aug 19). Retrieved from