Re: Ch. 1 - The Primordial Faith
In the end, it is a matter of providing a framework within which groups, especially large groups of people can live, and providing them with a code of conduct. It is a matter of history and intellectual evolution which determines which of these framework-factors get the upper hand: consider the famous "who is going to crown the emperor? The Mediaeval Church, thus asserting power and their brand of moral behaviour? Or the secular nobles/emperor himself, demonstrating the secular section was to win the power struggle. Secular law systems were the determinate for moral behaviour (physical or monetary punishment) if the emperor won; Church law and restrictions (non-material punishment--excommunication, Hell, etc--and weirdly enough, also monetary) if religion won. As to Aten or Amun (I'm in the wrong chapter here, aren't I?), war made have indeed changed the thinking of Egyptians concerning their moral behaviour and acceptance of "alien" ideas and moral codes, and secular concerns went hand in hand with religioisity in going to war. This is a concept that always pays off and when 2 systems cooperate, it is highly interesting and horrifying seeing which moral codes surface or negate others....secular or religious.
Granted, I have just presented a rather terse and poor summary of one singular example, but the point I am attempting to make is that a system is the determining factor of moral behaviour, be it of "this realm" or not.
Dystopian literature has a good grasp on this concept. Once a society becomes more complex and larger, it is usually impossible for one singular system to provide the moral framework necessary to keep it together and functioning and you see elements of 2 or more systems competing or cooperating.