Were Neanderthals Religious?

Were Neanderthals Religious?

This article by Barbara King, Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary, is from the National Public Radio blog.

Interesting article, and it seems to me they were. If you accept that, it brings up some interesting questions: Could Neanderthals sin? Or, perhaps stated differently, did Neanderthals have moral capacity? or perhaps: Did religion precede mankind being held morally responsible for his actions? It is interesting in that if you hold to a historical Adam, and Neanderthals were religious, perhaps Adam was a Neanderthal.

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It strikes me that a relevant question is, how do you differentiate between superstition and religion?

I am skeptical of attempts to place Adam too far back into prehistory, I think the setting he is described in is too clearly agricultural, making it more reasonable to put him somewhere in or near the Fertile Crescent at the ‘dawn of civilization.’ I think it’s a reasonable reading to recognize that God required more of humans at that point and initiated a relationship with a specific man and woman, whose failure resonates down to the present day.

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Were Neanderthals Religious?

Not so much. They were the ones who started that whole “I’m spiritual but not religious” thing in their Tinder profiles.

(At the time, it seemed like a sophisticated thing to say. It would be many thousands of years before it could be considered a cliche.)

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