Religious beliefs in ancient civilizations were very important. In Mesopotamian life every single activity was generally subordinated to an overriding religious purpose. It was like this because they used religion to explain and understand nature, society and themselves. Religion was also very important to the Hebrews, however, their beliefs differed greatly from those of the Mesopotamians.
The Mesopotamians were polytheistic, they believed in many gods. These gods controlled the entire universe. From the moon and the sun to the irrigation and the fields, each was directed by a god. Hebrews on the other hand were monotheistic, believing in only one God. Their God was fully sovereign and transcendent.
Mesopotamians believed in devine rage, viewing the gods as being harsh, cruel and unpredictable. When misfortune befell them, such as disease or drought, they attributed it to the gods. The Hebrews believed their God to be “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth… forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” this was a huge step away from all other religions at the time.
The Mesopotamians believed they were given life on earth to carry out the will of the gods. They felt they were insignificant and lowly, lacking a free will, alive only to be manipulated by the gods. The Hebrews views were the exact opposite. They believed they were God’s masterpiece, one of a kind on earth. Only the human being has the power to make choices and God bestowed this power.
The different views these two groups had on religion greatly effected the growth and development of their cultures. The Mesopotamians lived with a mood of uncertainty and anxiety, a grim view on human existence and the possibility of achievement. This outlook can only be detrimental to a society. Their rational side of thinking was greatly overshadowed by religion, preventing the development of almost anything. The He...