Why do the oldest myths and religions all around the world resemble each other? Why do these myths continue to appear in contemporary art, films and fairy tales? Because many of these ancient myths reflect how a baby views the world, the answer to unlocking this mystery may be found in the modern psychology of the small child.
In "Gods with Pointed Caps", religious historian Harald Strohm embarks on an expedition that takes him to cave temples in West India and cult sites in eastern Anatolia. There he unveils, step by step, the history and character of two childlike gods, Indra and Mithra. In his quest, Strohm draws fascinating parallels between these ancient child-gods and the behavior and nature of children today. These revelations allow for a new understanding of the myths and religions that predated Christianity by more than fifteen hundred years--and at the same time, offer insight into the practices and beliefs still held by followers of today's religions.
Gods with Pointed Caps (2003)
Duration: 45 minutes
Directed by Petrus van der Let & Harald Strohm
Produced by Petrus van der Let Film Produktion and BR-alpha
Along with "Dragon Slayers", "Punch and Prophecy", and "Journey to the Cradle of Europe", "Gods with Pointed Caps" forms a 4-part series on the origin of myths and religions in infant perception.
"An important film which refutes the existence of a supposed war between cultures. The apparent differences in the religions and their gods hide the basic common features intrinsic in the sources of our common childhood, their needs and longings for security and love. Here lies the origin of our common humanity. "
— Arno Gruen
"Our "modern" religions were and still are a side branch of ancient "paganism"... not until a descent from this marginal limb takes place, does the plant as a whole become visible. An exciting theory, substantiated in a highly recommended book. "
— Psychologie Heute
"When Indra, the god most frequently addressed in the Vedic Pantheon, "rides to his wedding on a trycicle", then this trinitarian vehicle, so to speak, is definitely worth a good bit of cusiousity. It is soon satisfied in Harald Strohm's wide-ranging religious-psychological investigation of the origins of religion. Calling it original would be a gross understatement. "
— Neue Zurcher Zeitung
"The author presents readings of selected passages from the (Indian) Rigveda in the light of modern knowledge about early pre-amnesic childhood. The ancient deities, and especially Indra, show characteristics of children, and many if not most features of religion may actually be derivative of or echoing early-childhood scenarios. In Christianity, we see the confrontation of children with their father (who is the only one to educate them, for the mother has mysteriously disappeared). Scholars of religion will find much to ponder in this learned and stimulating book.
— International Review of Biblical Studies