The Ancient Egyptian Religion The religious beliefs that predominated among Pharaohs and their people until the Romans brought Christianity into the territory was thoroughly interwoven into the culture and lives of the Egyptians. It is a complex system of belief with many gods and goddesses symbolizing important beliefs and practices. However, there are aspects of this religion which are not entirely alien to religions of today. For instance, there was a strong belief in a resurrection and an afterlife as well as a “judgment day” to determine worthiness to enter that afterlife (rather like Christianity and Islam). Places of worship were considered important and necessary (as among Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Hindus). There is a creation story to explain how humans arrived on the earth in a certain place (these myths are important in almost all the world's religions, including those of our own Native Americans). A respect for human life is also evident in Egyptian practices since tombs were important for deceased persons—both to secure their passage to the afterlife and to allow continued veneration of the dead by their progeny. Of course, very few people in Egyptian society could afford the kind of tombs that Pharaohs and their noble kinsmen could erect for themselves. But there is evidence that lesser folks also built modest tombs and were remembered by their children and grandchildren. Mummification was a vital part of Egyptian faith since it was believed that the mummified body was necessary to resurrection. Even poor and lowly Egyptians greatly desired that their dead bodies be mummified and if that was an economic or logistic impossibility, they wanted something of their physical selves to be buried with them so that when they entered the afterlife their “ka” (soul) could recognize their physical bodies so that body and soul could be rejoined for eternity. Pharaoh Akhenaton (grandfather of King Tut) conceived the idea of monotheism. For this, he was considered a heretic by his successors. During his 20+ years of rule, he made strenuous efforts to establish this belief among his people. But upon his death, the succeeding Pharaohs and the people reverted immediately to their ancient beliefs.
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