Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind: serialised in quotes XXV: the new natural-law religions such as liberalism, Communism, capitalism, nationalism and Nazism

The religious history of the world does not boil down to the history of gods. During the first millennium BC, religions of an altogether new kind began to spread through Afro-Asia. The newcomers, such as Jainism and Buddhism in India, Daoism and Confucianism in China, and Stoicism, Cynicism, and Epicureanism in the Mediterranean basis, were characterised by their disregard for gods.

[Buddha] encapsulated his teachings in a single law: suffering arises from craving; the only way to be fully liberated form suffering is to be fully liberated from craving; and the only way to be liberated form craving is to train the mind to experience reality as it is. This law, known as dharma or dhamma, is seen by Buddhists as universal law of nature. That “suffering arises from craving” is true and always true, just as in modern physics E always equals mc2.

If we take into consideration natural-law religions, then modernity turns out to be an age of intense, religious fervour, unparalleled missionary efforts, and the bloodiest wars of religion in history. The modern age has witnessed the rise of a number of new natural-law religions such as liberalism, Communism, capitalism, nationalism and Nazism. These creeds do not like to be called religions, and refer to themselves as ideologies. But this is just a semantic excuse.

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