Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Religious War in Pre-America

I'm reading a "semi-historical" novel that I picked up here in Phoenix. It's "The Summoning God" by Kathleen and Michael Gear, one of a series on the Anasazi culture here in the southwest. Chapters alternate somewhat between scenes of a bunch of 21st century archeologists doing a dig and scenes of the long-dead Anasazi who are being dug.

Apparently the real history is that when the little ice age brought drought about 1130 a.d., times got tough for the Anasazi. Resources were scarce and competition for them created animosities. About the same time their religion splintered into multiple factions which regarded others as heretics to be destroyed. Mass murder, gruesome torture, and inter-sect warfare became somewhat commonplace until the culture was reduced to a shadow of its former state by 1400.

"Religion" has had a place in mankind's psyche for eons, and much of it is good for us. Yet over and over we have used it for evil. You'd think that by now we would have figured out that when we claim God for ourselves and not others, bad things always happen. Our cultural memory needs improvement.


Ron Davison said...

One of the many fascinating things to learn from history is that environnmental collapse and its twin of the collapse of a civilization is something we've experienced repeatedly. Those who don't learn from history are doomed (to repeat it).
P.S. I think it is cool that you are getting immersed in the history of the region you're in.

Sonja's Mom said...