The Human Journey

The Road to the Future

TURNING POINTS IN HUMAN THOUGHT

Human beings are a problem-solving animal. As with our physical evolution, our mental evolution occurs in response to problems. In this section of the human journey we will review the development of human thought, tracing its journey to contemporary Western religious and spiritual thought.

PRE-AXIAL THOUGHT

From about 40,000 years ago our ancestors made an enormous creative and cultural leap in the advancement of tool making and in the creation of art. At this point they became psychologically modern humans. How did this help them survive? What do we know about the way they and later humans saw their world, their origins, life and death?

Paleolithic Beginnings | The Neolithic Era | Mesopotamia
The Noble Ones | Harappa | Greece | China

AXIAL AGE THOUGHT

In 1949 the German philosopher Karl Theodor Jaspers coined the phrase “Achsenzeit” (“Axial Age” or “Axis age” in English) to describe a time between approximately 900 - 200 BCE when “The spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently and these are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today.” It was a pivotal time in early human history when human beings in four different areas of the world began to reflect for the first time about individual existence, and the meaning of life and death. Why did this happen? How did this leap of spiritual understanding develop in each area? What was its impact on the history of Western contemporary thought?

Introduction | Zoraster | Hinduism | Buddhism
China | Greece | Judaism

POST-AXIAL AGE THOUGHT

An overview of the influences and development of religious and spiritual thought in the Western world.

Introduction | Jerusalem | The Church that Paul Built
The Best-known Gospels | The Historical Jesus
Jesus the Teacher | A Multicultural Story | Mohammad

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