Cargo Cults - Mythology with a Core of Truth

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Could we think serious about what we are doing, why we are doing it and how it originated?

A cargo cult is a religious practice that has appeared in many traditional pre-industrial tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced cultures. The cults focus on obtaining the material wealth (the "cargo") of the advanced culture through magic and religious rituals and practices.
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The vast amounts of materiel that both sides airdropped (or airlifted to airstrips) to troops on these islands meant drastic changes to the lifestyle of the islanders, many of whom had never seen outsiders before. Manufactured clothing, medicine, canned food, tents, weapons and other goods arrived in vast quantities for the soldiers, who often shared some of it with the islanders who were their guides and hosts. This was true of the Japanese Army as well, at least initially before relations deteriorated in most regions.
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With the end of the war, the military abandoned the airbases and stopped dropping cargo. In response, charismatic individuals developed cults among remote Melanesian populations that promised to bestow on their followers deliveries of food, arms, Jeeps, etc. The cult leaders explained that the cargo would be gifts from their own ancestors, or other sources, as had occurred with the outsider armies. In attempts to get cargo to fall by parachute or land in planes or ships again, islanders imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors, and airmen use. Cult behaviors usually involved mimicking the day to day activities and dress styles of US soldiers, such as performing parade ground drills with wooden or salvaged rifles.[5] The islanders carved headphones from wood and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses.
~
In a form of sympathetic magic, many built life-size replicas of airplanes out of straw and cut new military-style landing strips out of the jungle, hoping to attract more airplanes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult


Please watch 13:58-15:40

Primitive tribes around 1940 are visited by advanced beings from the sky who help them and give them stuff. Now they use all kinds of weird rituals to make those advanced beings return and gain their help and stuff once again.

Christians believe an advanced being came to earth 2000 years ago to heal the sick and feed the hungry etcetera. Now they are all begging this man to help them once again and they hope to be reunited with this advanced being.

So... what do you think?

Edit: Please watch this video;

Being serious about a topic involves talking about aliens when there is no reason to actually think they've visisted thus far? I mean one rather obvious thing to note is that because you can vaguely compare two situations that doesn't mean they must have had a similar cause to each other. It doesn't even suggest that in this case.

Mortai Gravesend:
Being serious about a topic involves talking about aliens when there is no reason to actually think they've visisted thus far? I mean one rather obvious thing to note is that because you can vaguely compare two situations that doesn't mean they must have had a similar cause to each other. It doesn't even suggest that in this case.

I'm asking you to think, not to conclude. I haven't concluded that much about this subject myself.

Danyal:

Mortai Gravesend:
Being serious about a topic involves talking about aliens when there is no reason to actually think they've visisted thus far? I mean one rather obvious thing to note is that because you can vaguely compare two situations that doesn't mean they must have had a similar cause to each other. It doesn't even suggest that in this case.

I'm asking you to think, not to conclude. I haven't concluded that much about this subject myself.

Think about what? All we have is the idea that a cult can form through misinterpreting the actions of a more technologically advanced culture. From that there appears to be no reasonable connection to "Well this is a case of it happening" in the instance of Christianity. No apparent reason to even entertain the idea for more than a mintue. What more is there to consider?

Mortai Gravesend:

Think about what? All we have is the idea that a cult can form through misinterpreting the actions of a more technologically advanced culture. From that there appears to be no reasonable connection to "Well this is a case of it happening" in the instance of Christianity. No apparent reason to even entertain the idea for more than a mintue. What more is there to consider?

Ezekiel 1:4-28
New International Version (NIV)
4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north-an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, 5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.

10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. They each had two wings spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had two other wings covering its body. 12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. 13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. 14 The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.

15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16 This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. 18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.

19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. 23 Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty,[a] like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

25 Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. 26 Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ezekiel%201:4-28&version=NIV

Bold added by me, Danyal.

image

It sounds like an incredible UFO sighting. We can consider it and entertain the idea for more than one minute.

image

I'm not going to make friends with this post.

So, another thread that is bascially: "Religion is stupid because I said so. Post and tell me why you agree with me. Disagreements will not be tolerated."

Really, Danyal?

I don't know why anyone doesn't believe the OP. It's all recorded in a documentary called "Stargate". Now that initial documentary got some things wrong, but the followup documentary Series SG-1 revealed the truth fully. Many of the ancient gods from around the world were either alien parasites (sometimes in human bodies, sometimes alien ones), or were very advanced species from another galaxy who acted as guardians of this galaxy.

In all seriousness though, I have no problem believing that some of the god/titan/monster stories of the past could have been alien visitations. The odd part though is that they came, and then disappeared for thousands of years? You think by now we'd have seen more of them if it were true.

Kendarik:
I don't know why anyone doesn't believe the OP. It's all recorded in a documentary called "Stargate". Now that initial documentary got some things wrong, but the followup documentary Series SG-1 revealed the truth fully. Many of the ancient gods from around the world were either alien parasites (sometimes in human bodies, sometimes alien ones), or were very advanced species from another galaxy who acted as guardians of this galaxy.

and the alien from the thing is actually the devil and Kurt Russel was Jesus. the Norwegian team were actually an allegory for the Jews and the flame thrower's were an allegory for the word of god. the reason why many people view the flame throwers as the word of god is that they destroyed the devil and why it ends with uncertainty is that the devil can corrupt all of us.

Zeh Don:
So, another thread that is bascially: "Religion is stupid because I said so. Post and tell me why you agree with me. Disagreements will not be tolerated."

Really, Danyal?

Well he tolerated my disagreements. I just think his defense was a rather flimsy one and if he's going to post something and call it a description of a UFO well... I just didn't find it worth it to continue -__-

Aliens...

I thought it was more like...

First humans being a part of a matriarchal society/tribes and glorifying the attributes in nature which represented birth, life, and bounty.

Fast forward...

Society develops, humans begin to explain the world around them in supernatural terms creating the many gods and miracle stories for that purpose.

Fast forward...

Society shifts towards patriarchal leadership, God(s) redefined and retold to fit into that worldview (look no further than the Roman female Gods to their Greek counterparts very similar yet the differences speak volumes).

Fast forward...

It's really messy right here and most of us are familiar.

Fast forward...

Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic: alien astronaut theories sprout.

Zeh Don:
So, another thread that is bascially: "Religion is stupid because I said so. Post and tell me why you agree with me. Disagreements will not be tolerated."

Really, Danyal?

That's a pretty good summation of most of Danyal's posts regarding religion, actually. Posting wide generalizations, blatant oversimplifications, and thinly-veiled flame bait in order to spark fast and heated debates with people he sees as inferior and ignorant in what I can only guess is an effort to make himself feel more secure in his own personal beliefs. From what I've been able to tell, he's less atheist and more just anti-theist. It's not that he's for not believing in a god, it's that he's against believing in a god. I've really lost all desire to get terrifically involved in his threads anymore, he's really not in it to learn about others or have his view of the world expanded, or even to constructively expand the worlds of others. He just wants to sit here and tell everybody how wrong they are.

Zeh Don:
So, another thread that is bascially: "Religion is stupid because I said so. Post and tell me why you agree with me. Disagreements will not be tolerated."

Really, Danyal?

Well, really, what other topics would he start?

Maybe Erich Von Daniken had a point.

Or maybe the Ancient Egyptians/Mayans/Aztecs were better than we think.

You wanna know what I think? I think this thread is just another excuse for you to stroke your own ego and feel superior to everyone.

No wonder we get so much hatred thrown our way, when people like you just go around calling anyone with faith an idiot.

i find this almost as ridiculous as my friend who believes that the universe itself is god. although that theory acvtually has conversation points behind while this one not so much.

I'm kind of upset that when I was posting a lot of threads here, everyone got onto me. It's like...something is only bad when I do it.

OT: Gods and aliens are pretty much the same thing anyway. Sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.

Actually the concept of Jesus being an alien makes a lot more sense than being the son of God.

It's really bizarre how a man levatating on water, healing the sick and conjouring large amounts of food out of nowhere can be contributed to what is effectively magic can be a generally accepted idea. But the idea that in infinite universe there are other life forms more advanced than us that have visted earth and few simple bumpkins who would crap themselves if they saw a light bulb being used mistook there technology for magic is crazy?

Im not saying that the crazy history channel guy is right about anything (i've never actually seen that show, only lots of mocking of it) but in this case, it so much more plausable that Jesus was an alien than magic.

I don't know why everyone's flown off the handle at this suggestion and quick to go "oh just another anti-religion thread by Danyal". For starters anyone saying this is guilty of a severe "Argumentum Ad Hominem", if anyone else had posted it you wouldn't be reacting in the same way.

Second of all a very clear modern case example of a potentially similar situation that makes a very good arguement for the point, which I think deserves addressing in a fair way, how is the islanders situation not comparable to christianity?

Third of all, someones really going to have to explain how tales about miracles, magic and divine power are some how more likely than alien life, advanced technology and a lack of understanding?

...

This is hardly a new idea, we've all heard this bullshit before, and it wasn't convincing the last time.

But...Jesus was an alien? Not, aliens visited way back when and have been adapted into early mythology, but during recorded history? And presumably his family were aliens as well, and his cult got going around his own lifetime not some time after?

Seriously, this one's just weak.

Don't mean to attack anybody but I loled when I read the title and then saw who made the topic.

TheDarkEricDraven:
I'm kind of upset that when I was posting a lot of threads here, everyone got onto me. It's like...something is only bad when I do it.

OT: Gods and aliens are pretty much the same thing anyway. Sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.

Just look up a couple of posts before that one, you'll see some dissent ;-) Many users have asked him to stop doing this, even several atheists.

Danyal:
Christians believe an advanced being came to earth 2000 years ago to heal the sick and feed the hungry etcetera. Now they are all begging this man to help them once again and they hope to be reunited with this advanced being.

So... what do you think?

I think "advanced" isn't a a very apt way to think of the typical Christian definition of Christ. Advanced would imply that there was improvement or advancement at some point, while (most)Christians tend to believe Christ was/has always been perfect, save some technical metaphysical imperfections at the time of bearing the sins of all humanity across time and space, yada yada).

Just throwing that out there.

Rage19:

Second of all a very clear modern case example of a potentially similar situation that makes a very good arguement for the point, which I think deserves addressing in a fair way, how is the islanders situation not comparable to christianity?

That's like saying that I saw someone die of a heart attack, then I go and find someone else dead that it would then be reasonable to think it was a heart attack. Instead of, you know, deciding that the link is incredibly tenuous and more is needed to determine the cause than just seeing the end result.

Also, if you want to claim that it is the same, show it. Don't ask people to show how it isn't. We have no substantive analysis of it. We have a vague description of Christianity from Danyal. A horribly biased and inaccurate one anyawy.

Third of all, someones really going to have to explain how tales about miracles, magic and divine power are some how more likely than alien life, advanced technology and a lack of understanding?

That's a nice false dichotomy. As if it couldn't possibly be that non-Christians would reject this alien nonsense. Nope, only people believing in miracles and the divinity of Jesus Christ could possibly be complaining.

Seekster:
Don't mean to attack anybody but I loled when I read the title and then saw who made the topic.

We all dide, Seekster, we all did.

Zeh Don:
So, another thread that is bascially: "Religion is stupid because I said so.

No? Where the average atheist is like "it's all made up" I'm thinking about the possibility that it isn't made up but a primitive description of advanced technology.

Post and tell me why you agree with me. Disagreements will not be tolerated."

Danyal:

I'm asking you to think, not to conclude. I haven't concluded that much about this subject myself.

Really, Danyal?

Really, Zeh Don?

Mortai Gravesend:

Well he tolerated my disagreements. I just think his defense was a rather flimsy one and if he's going to post something and call it a description of a UFO well... I just didn't find it worth it to continue -__-

The average (Abrahamic) religious person tells me that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing, etcetera. He is perfect, he is everywhere, he is anywhere, he knows the past, the present, the future.

When I read Genesis or the part of Ezekiel I posted, God doesn't know everything, God can't do everything, he is limited, and he uses technology.

I think there is a chance that religion's origins are like the origins of the cargo cults.

And the idea that tribes are praying for American airplanes to come back, and that they are building fake airplanes and fake landing strips, is amazing and very interesting.

Lilani:

That's a pretty good summation of most of Danyal's posts regarding religion, actually. Posting wide generalizations, blatant oversimplifications, and thinly-veiled flame bait in order to spark fast and heated debates with people he sees as inferior and ignorant in what I can only guess is an effort to make himself feel more secure in his own personal beliefs.

Could you give me a link to the last topic I made that is as insulting as you describe it? I've made a post about racism, one about bestiality, and also this one;
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.339573-Gramsci-or-Marx-is-religion-decided-or-decisive

That isn't more insulting and stupid than the generalizations of atheism I see here.

From what I've been able to tell, he's less atheist and more just anti-theist. It's not that he's for not believing in a god, it's that he's against believing in a god. I've really lost all desire to get terrifically involved in his threads anymore, he's really not in it to learn about others or have his view of the world expanded, or even to constructively expand the worlds of others. He just wants to sit here and tell everybody how wrong they are.

So you think I'm triggering fast and heated debates, I'm seeing other people as inferior and ignorant, I only want to feel more secure in my own beliefs, I'm an anti-theist[1], I don't want to learn about others or have my view of the world expanded nor do I want to expand the world of other, and I just want to sit here and tell others how wrong they are.

So you respond to that by posting a massive ad hominem[2], you tell everyone how inferior and ignorant I am, you're talking to somebody who agrees with you to feel more secure in your beliefs about me, you're anti-Danyal, and you don't want to learn about the chance that gods might be aliens; you don't want to expand your nor mine world, you just want to sit here and tell me how wrong I am.

Makes sense.

[1] Yes, I'm against organized, monotheistic, dogmatic religion, by the way
[2] certain to spark a fast and heated debate

McMullen:

Zeh Don:
So, another thread that is bascially: "Religion is stupid because I said so. Post and tell me why you agree with me. Disagreements will not be tolerated."

Really, Danyal?

Well, really, what other topics would he start?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.339175-End-the-ban-on-bestiality
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.339573-Gramsci-or-Marx-is-religion-decided-or-decisive
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.335983-Come-and-offend-my-Prophet-Whats-wrong-with-Ayn-Rand
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.339772-Was-I-Robot-correct-in-its-portrayal-of-the-future

Oh yes, you should post a low-content off-topic personal attack that is untrue.

Olrod:
Maybe Erich Von Daniken had a point.

Or maybe the Ancient Egyptians/Mayans/Aztecs were better than we think.

That's my idea too. Of course, maybe aliens haven't visited earth, but even then; it's still very interesting. I've seen examples of knowledge and structures that needs technology that's so advanced... It doesn't seem very likely that they've made it themselves. If they have made it themselves... We should figure out why who how?!
If they haven't made it themselves....
ALIENS?!?!

Interesting.

Hazy992:
You wanna know what I think? I think this thread is just another excuse for you to stroke your own ego and feel superior to everyone.

No wonder we get so much hatred thrown our way, when people like you just go around calling anyone with faith an idiot.

WHAT?!!?

Average atheist/every non-Christian; you know Jesus's wonders and such? All made up. Just a fairy tale.
This topic; hm, Jesus's wonders and other Biblical miracles might have happened, but this isn't done by gods, but aliens. Not much of a difference, by the way.

And that is calling anyone with faith an idiot? That is throwing hatred? Stroking my own ego and feeling superior?

WTF?!

InquisitorGeneral:

I think "advanced" isn't a a very apt way to think of the typical Christian definition of Christ. Advanced would imply that there was improvement or advancement at some point, while (most)Christians tend to believe Christ was/has always been perfect, save some technical metaphysical imperfections at the time of bearing the sins of all humanity across time and space, yada yada).

Just throwing that out there.

Well, the cargo cults also connected the American army to deities and ancestors and tried to use magic to get the American help back. The core of their belief (Beings came from the sky and helped us) was true, their rituals to get the help back were 'wrong'.

HELLO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS!

I don't want to have huge discussions about my attitude on this forum and the posts I make. Actually, I wouldn't mind such a discussion that much, but I'm honestly more interested in the OP and discussions about that than such a discussion, here. Start the big Bash-Danyal topic and I will come over there and discuss everything with you, but please not here, okay?

Could we just discuss the OP below this post? Thank you!

So your point is that you watched ancient aliens and swallowed it whole? Alright.

Cargo cults try to imitate the US military so that they will return. The behaviour shown by the Americans is pretty obvious in intent. What universal behaviour is it that world religions is imitating? Do aliens suicide bomb? Do they advocate death for homosexuals while screwing philipino boys? Are they bad with piloting around skyscrapers?

Furthermore what do you suppose aliens were trying to achieve by contaminating our culture?
And do you have anything beyond the hypothesis of a guy who works for history channel?

Danyal:
I've seen examples of knowledge and structures that needs technology that's so advanced... It doesn't seem very likely that they've made it themselves.

Like what? Yes, there's been alot of impressive achievements made in that past, but that doesn't mean OMGALIENS!!!, the same way impressive achievements made today isn't. Just because people come from another culture and lived in another time doesn't mean they are stupid.

I can understand this sort of belief way back when when people were saying giants built Stonehenge, fairies built Newgrange and demons built the Pantheon, when the lay person had some excuse for their ignorance. But nowdays, when most people in the developed world have internet access, there's no excuse for such a tenuous hold on reality.

Seriously, if there was any actual truth in this, surely some actual respectable historians would have mentioned it, not people wanting to sell books by appealing to the lunatic fringe?

Danyal:
HELLO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS!

I don't want to have huge discussions about my attitude on this forum and the posts I make. Actually, I wouldn't mind such a discussion that much, but I'm honestly more interested in the OP and discussions about that than such a discussion, here. Start the big Bash-Danyal topic and I will come over there and discuss everything with you, but please not here, okay?

Could we just discuss the OP below this post? Thank you!

You may want to put this in the OP, where people can find it easily. While you're at it you might want to add a bit more discussion value to the post, or at least change it so that it vaguely relates to the title, because what Seekster said.

If you want to get serious about why this has happened, it's because humans confuse correlation with causation. Big birds come from the sky, bringing highly advanced people that improve life, then leave. Maybe the big birds made the people come, so you build some more. It seems to be an essential part of how we evolved, and isn't going anytime soon.

EDIT:

Danyal:

That's my idea too. Of course, maybe aliens haven't visited earth, but even then; it's still very interesting. I've seen examples of knowledge and structures that needs technology that's so advanced... It doesn't seem very likely that they've made it themselves. If they have made it themselves... We should figure out why who how?!
If they haven't made it themselves....
ALIENS?!?!

Interesting.

...didn't actually think that this thread had a focus on aliens. -_- Could you clarify a bit about why aliens would need to exist?

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