5,000 year old Peruvian temple suggests religion was highly a sophisticated institution.
One of the most fundamental truths about religion is that it acts as a powerful, perhaps even the most powerful tool to control people and keep them in check. No wonder colonial powers often were accompanied by missionaries who would convert natives into their religions so that the priests could have control over the spiritual and often, social lives of the people. The crown and the faith have often gone hand in hand together in controlling people. This makes a person wonder if he was converted for his own salvation, or just so he could be brought into the system. Echoing this predicament, Desmond Tutu said “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
The roots of organized religion, however goes way farther than the colonial ages. Archaeologists have discovered a 5,000 year old temple in the Andean Highlands of Peru that suggests that religion was already a highly sophisticated and organized institution for the natives of that time. While many people think that ancient religions were more open and less institutional, the findings at this site suggest the very opposite.
The complex is not really a structure, but a labyrinth of subterranean mazes and tunnels that boast of very highly refined and sophisticated level of scientific knowledge and advancement. Built purposely at a dangerous spot where chances of flooding were very frequent, the complex was intended to remind pilgrims that the forces of Nature or the gods were far superior to the power of man. As such, this complex served to prove to the pilgrims that they are nothing when compared to the powerful deities. Here began the system of having powerful intermediaries, the priests, who would stand between the almighty gods and the powerless human beings.
The structure has been built with an excellent use of sound effects, hydraulics, light effects, mirrors and other such things that are too phenomenal for those times. Naturally, as the priests could use these factors to create surreal effects, the people would feel that these are magical occurrences happening through the divine powers of the priests. Inscriptions suggest that this complex was open to only the elite members of society, people from lower strata would feel a deep sense of spiritual “unworthiness,” which made them vulnerable to exploitation.
Experts have suggested that this site could also possibly be the place where humanity first discovered the powers of organized religion. Whatever may be the dark secrets hidden in this complex, the scientific knowledge and advancement that existed back then is still a matter to be awed by.