Religion, Where and Why Did it Come Into the World?

Thailand
February 29, 2012 10:53pm CST
Somewhere lost in the mists of time religion came into the world. Why did early humans invent religion? What needs in human society did it fulfill? Why is it still around and where is it going?
3 people like this
13 responses
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
1 Mar 12
First if you say it was invented by people it means God does not exists.What if a god commanded some people to worship him ? Second religion brought morality in society.If there is no absolute truth then there is no good or bad , we can`t say what the politics think at a certain moment to be good is good and what they say to be bad is bad.Or what the majority of people think to be good is good and what they think to be bad is bad.Even the oldest Code of Laws known to us was written because the gods commanded. So there you have the morality but we also needed a Big Brother to keep an eye on us because the police was pretty bad and it still is.So God played this role of a Big Brother, if you can manage to make people think there is someone to keep an eye on them all the time and that someone doesn`t like stealing or killing or raping then many of them will think twice before doing these things.It works, we have stories from the time of Vlad the Impaler also known as Dracula.In that time every fountain from Wallachia had a golden cup and no one dared to steal them. Then let`s not forget that for a lot of people religion is the one which gives the best answer for who are we,where do we come from and what is the purpose of our life.
• Thailand
1 Mar 12
You are confusing god and religion. Stating that religion was invented does not mean that man invented god, only religion. Religious behavior has been around far longer that the monotheistic religions so the question is why did that behavior develop in the first place. Morality must have been a part of it but there must have been more to it than that. How did hunter-gathers who had to spend large periods of their lives keeping themselves feed find the time for religious rites and rituals? How did these activities benefit them to the point that they developed complex behaviors that took time away from the serious business of survival?
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
1 Mar 12
As i said what if God commanded some people to worship him ? And i think people in the ancient times have a lot of time to do whatever they wanted to do, i don`t think they lived pretty bad back then.Some even had the time to build huge structures to praise their Gods even if according to science those things should not be there. It depends how you look at the history , i think they had a lot of time, i think people have lived a lot more in the past because the atmosphere was different.If we find today giant mosquitoes and everything else was huge then why not thinking the humans were also bigger than they are today ? Of course that contradicts the science but who knows, maybe one day science will change again.
1 person likes this
• Thailand
1 Mar 12
"As i said what if God commanded some people to worship him ?" The god you are talking about is a late comer to the human species. Religious behavior in our species predates monotheism by thousands of years. The oldest large structure built for religious purposes that we know about is Gobekli Tepe which is 11,000 years old. Religion has been around much longer than that. It is now thought that monotheism began about in about 850 BCE.
@sabado_dc (1001)
• Philippines
1 Mar 12
you're so naive!
1 person likes this
• Thailand
1 Mar 12
Interesting observation but I can't quite see how it addresses the question or makes any contribution to the discussion. Could you possibly elaborate on your inadequate statement?
1 person likes this
@sabado_dc (1001)
• Philippines
1 Mar 12
In thailand, (i)Buddha from Hinduism invented your Religion. (ii)He believed in finding a middle path somewhere between the ascetic nature of Hinduism and the indulgence of secular life; and my response to your last question that reads'why is it still around and where is it going?' (iii) doubts can lead us nowhere, my Dear Friend.. I am a Christian and I believe that God made my religion. My faith in God and my conviction tells me where I'm going, My Dear Friend. If you can't find any anthropologist there in your area to have your questions answered, Possibly, you can study it when and where depends of your choice. I won't call you a naive then... Take care now. Thank you
• Thailand
1 Mar 12
sabado_dc you have misunderstood the question. It was not where a specific religion came from but how and why religious behavior developed in early man. How did it benefit early societies and does religious behavior still yield the same benefits today?
@urbandekay (18312)
2 Mar 12
I think it started with language or very, very shortly afterwards all the best urban
1 person likes this
• Thailand
3 Mar 12
I think you are correct although there is a chance that a very early form of religion could have predated speech. I base this assumption on the fact that early humans had one thing that set them apart from apes. They had rhythm or more properly the ability to move rhythmically in unison. This early form of dance could have served to help form the common bond in a group and developed into the earliest form of ritual.
@urbandekay (18312)
6 Mar 12
And how do you know that had that rhythmic ability? all the best urban
@sharay (2776)
• India
1 Mar 12
In one word...for why and what needs? just to discipline and be disciplined...for where?... i hope right from the day when we started live as a community
1 person likes this
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
2 Mar 12
Well if you go back to the ancient religions around the world, one of the interesting things you find is that they all have very similar stories. I just recently happen to read up on the Australian aboriginals, who have a story of the great flood that wiped out everything. Just like Native American's have such a belief, and the Chinese, and the Mayans, and dozens of others. Why? Why can people all over the planet, have a similar story? Well... It seems unlikely that Native Americans, Indians in India, Chinese, and Australians, pulled out their collective cell phones over 3000 years ago, and compared notes. What other possibility could there be? What if the Bible is true? What if there actually was a great flood that wiped out all human life, save for Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their respective wives? Do you think that such an event, might well be passed on, from generation to generation? You think such an event may well be enshrined in folklore forever? Well there would have to be more evidence left behind for sure, and there isn't much... or is there? Why are various people spread all over the Earth, and have different languages? Well the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. G-d confounded their languages, and they dispersed into groups, and moved away from each other. But what evidence do we have of that in religion? Sumerian mythology of Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta. Which says that Enmerkar built a massive tower to god, and implored him to confuse the languages of the people. Sounds familiar... Or how about Aztec mythology of Great Pyramid of Cholula, which they built a tower to "storm the Heavens" and the gods destroyed the tower with fire and 'confused the language of the builders'. Sounds very familiar... Tohono O'odham Indians Native Americans, holds that Montezuma escaped a great flood, then became wicked and attempted to build a house reaching to heaven, but the Great Spirit destroyed it with thunderbolts. Another familiar one... Why Chiang? Why is that? Why do all these stories from all parts of the world, all have many similar elements? Better still... why is it that beyond these similar stories all the rest are completely different? It's simple. After the Tower of Babel... the people groups split up. They no longer had shared experiences, and because they spoke different languages now, they couldn't pass stories from one group to another. But wait, what about the time period prior to the flood? Well obviously, with only 4 families on the Ark, it's pretty safe to suggest that not as much is going to be passed on from the prior time period. Not to mention that if the Bible is to be believed, the pre-flood period was a time of violence and evil, and obviously so bad that G-d wiped out the entire population of the Earth, save those few. However, some information was clearly passed on, and since everyone came from that time, some should have passed on like the Great Flood and Tower of Babel did. So.... did any? I suggest the answer is yes. Egyptians believes that the pre-flood time was when gods ruled directly on the Earth. Interesting since the Bible claims G-d walked on the Earth with man. Sages of India, believe this pre-flood time was when there was no diseases, and man lived to be 400 years old. Interesting since the Bible says Noah, and those before lived 800 years, while each of Noah's sons lived 400 years (familiar) and then after that the life expectancy declines. Greeks believed that the pre-flood was a golden age, and ended when the first woman, opened pandora's box. Interesting given the Bible says the world was perfect until the first woman ate the forbidden fruit, and sin came into the world. And I could go on and on. Stories of pre-flood Cain, who was a farmer, and founded the first human city, have very familiar stories in mythology of various people groups. The point is this... You asked why Humans have come up with all these crazy stories about our ancient passed. The answer... because they were all based on actual events that happened.
• Thailand
2 Mar 12
The flood stories can probably date back to a single event, the end of the last ice age and the resulting rise in sea level. That is not the point here though. The human species development of religion predates any of these stories. Why did early humans devote valuable time to religious activities? What were the real benefits to these activities? There is in all religions some things such as ritual and the development of a moral code that are universal. Why?
• United States
2 Mar 12
I think when we look back at time, none of us really have a grasp on "time." I mean, we view the past as a snapshot more than an evolving journey that was incredibly long - thousands and thousands of years. In that time, I'm sure that there were many, many great floods, meteor strikes, earthquakes, and other disasters. That's not arguing the legitimacy of any religion; that's just pointing out that a Katrina-like flood to a tribe of people would be considered civilization-threatening "great." A tsunami like what we had a few years ago? Wow! Impossible to comprehend if you don't know where it came from. There seems to be more revision than prediction in religion. More explanation for what happened than any type of forewarning about what will. People can take that for what they will, but any deity so powerful and so knowing could have been a lot more convincing than silly in some of the explanations.
@andy77e (5165)
• United States
2 Mar 12
So the Aztecs in Central America, had a global flood story because of the ice age? That isn't very logical. Again, my point is, if the Biblical story is true, then clearly the reason people had religion is because they had experience with G-d, and all understood the idea of a divine creator. In fact, the moral code you refer to is also talked about in Romans 2. Even the non-believers who do not have the laws of G-d, have in themselves a nature that believes in right and wrong. Or you can go back to Genesis 3, and man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we've always had a basic understanding of good and evil since then. But my point again is, the reason mankind has made various religions, is because we all came from Adam and Eve, and had direct contact with G-d. So of course we're going to have belief systems formed around that historical basis. Matersfish: It is highly unlikely that every single tribal people all over the Earth, would each have similar stories between them. Even if two completely different people, both had a meteor strike, being in different geographical areas, would produce completely different stories. A meteor hitting a desert for example, would have a completely different effect than hitting a forest. Thus tribal people in a forest would never come up with the same, or similar story, to a people in a desert. Even in the event of a localized flood, there's no way that such an event would cause people to say that it was world wide flood, because they obviously survived it. Further, nearly all these civilizations were very large and vast. The idea that a local flood, would make them pass on stories of world wide disaster, is about as logical as New Orleans people claiming Katrina was a world wide disaster. The people in Baton Rouge would laugh at them, and the story would be mocked and ignored. Not repeated for generations. Similarly, no one would make up a random story about a massive tower where everyone's languages were confused, and the people dispersed into groups, on opposite sides of the planet. It's completely unlikely that Aztecs and Persians would have similar historical stories. There's no other logical explanation for this, unless everyone had ancient cell phones, and had a conference call with all the other peoples, and compared notes.
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
2 Mar 12
I would assume religion evolved from deity worship. I'd imagine early man didn't have a clue as to the causes of the forces of nature. Being humans, not knowing was simply not an option, so they made an attempt to explain it. Over time their beliefs probably took on anthropomorphic qualities, from which gods and spirits were born. Appeasing these "forces" probably came soon afterwards in man's attempt to take control of their world. For example, perhaps they believed that rain had some form of cognition, or there was a cognitive being controlling it - so they might offer gifts to please the god or the rain so that it would give them plenty of water, or stop before they were wiped out by a flood. From there appeasement probably became a ritual, and over time appeasement may have evolved from offerings to other things - like certain behaviors or codes of conduct. Obviously I can't KNOW how it happened, but this seems a very likely way for religion to have come about. As for what it fulfilled in human society, a sense of control over your surroundings seems like a very pressing feeling early humans would have wanted. It's a pressing desire even for modern humans. I'm willing to bet it's much easier for many people to believe they may have some influence in what happens in their lives and environment, rather than walking around with the knowledge that life is random and often merciless, and there's nothing they can do about it. It's still around for the same reasons. People don't want to believe that this world it what it is, and as long as that desire for meaning still exists, I doubt religion is going anywhere. It will change with the times, but I think it will only die off once humans die off.
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
3 Mar 12
There is a new religion right now, it is taught in schools and it is more illogical than Christianity.It`s called Evolutionism and it claims we all come from ...nowhere because... nothing evolved during billions of years.
• Thailand
3 Mar 12
iuliuxd I am not going to quarrell about your definition of evolution as a religion. We all know how silly that is. You are correct in saying there was no evolution for billions of years. with the universe thought to be 13.75 billion years old and the earth only 4.5 billion years old there were billions of years when there was no planet earth for evolution to take place on. Life on earth began about one billion years ago so only then could the evolutionary process began since there is no evolution where there is no life. What all of this has to do with Latrivia well written comment or the discussion as a whole I have no idea. It seems that you are just seeking a soapbox for your off topic comment.
• United States
3 Mar 12
Plenty evolved during billions of years tho. The land. The water. The climate. The conditions for life. Be patient. Life's only everything.
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
2 Mar 12
In almost every context one would speak of "invention," the word is used with the implication of something that arose due to necessity. This isn't how I view religion's birth in the world. To me, it was the most logical conclusion of man when we started to think as a species. We could only communicate with one another. But the person you communicated with didn't know any more than you about life. Maybe he could cook a mammoth burger better. Maybe she could get her kids to sleep sounder. But that bright, burning thing in the sky, those little shiny dots, those vicious fire bolts raining down - what's that all about? I think we see a lot of--maybe even all of--man's projections in religion. Even when speaking of ancient Egypt's gods or the Greek gods, they're humanoid. This got turned around to man saying that a god created the species in his likeness, but it's the other way around. Mankind created gods in its likeness. And it did so solely because that is the only thing mankind understood. A guy could build a hut and fashion a weapon out of a rock. What a person had, the person built. So everything else around them had to be built too. By who? It must be a great, great man who did this, because this other guy, the sleep snorer, can't even tie his loin cloth tight. It had to be someone vastly superior. It had to be someone infinitely wise and infallible. I really believe that mainstream Islam and Christianity will also suffer detrimental blows in the coming years. Thor and Zeus and Ra are all mere myths now. But they were the God/Jesus/Allah of their day. Religion has often replaced religion. But let's be realistic. That only happens when people have a sneaking suspicion that what they believe in sounds a bit too outlandish to cling to. There will always be fundamentalists who know nothing but what they know and who refuse to even consider another possibility, but for everyone else, we're on a logical path that will ultimately push past the notion of almighty, all-knowing, all-doing creators who are never seen or heard from. Without religion's convenient use as a carrot and even bigger stick, we'd be a lot closer to that point today.
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
3 Mar 12
But the Jewish/Christian God is not humanoid.When you read that he created the man after his image in his likeness that means something totally different.It means he created the man with free will and rational mind and virtue.You can learn that from the old writings, no one believed that God is a humanoid.
• United States
3 Mar 12
You just said what I already said. You said the reverse side of it. You believe God created mankind in his likeness. I'm saying that when mankind projected their creators, mankind created them in their likeness. Other powerful creatures also became gods. The sun and planets became gods. Man's projections birthed a god in man's likeness, and to explain how man came to be, man contended that this god must have created man in his likeness. Humanoid means to have human characteristics. If man is created in the Jewish/Christian God's image, then humanoid is exactly what God is.
@bird123 (10481)
• United States
2 Mar 12
We are all spiritual beings in our true natures. Deep down we all know this. Deep down, we all know God. Even in the earliest of mankind, it was known that there is something more. Now God placed knowledge and truth into the world, but leaves it up to mankind to learn, grow and discover. Religion is mankind's attempt to discover God. As mankind grew over the years, religion has changed ever so slowly. So much of mankind is in religion, however the bits of God will add up in people. In time, there will be understanding, peace, and unconditional love. Until then, the drama will lead people to what work is needed and to discover what bits of God we are really missing.
@urbandekay (18312)
2 Mar 12
all the best urban
• India
2 Jun 12
Religion came from God.
@Metatronik (5910)
• Pasay, Philippines
2 Mar 12
I don't have any idea where does it came from and how it was exist. Then it just came to the point that we have different religions wherein a lot of different opinions and beliefs to the extent that it became conflict then the next thing will happen is that there will be WAR just because of this. It just pisses me off when other people are projecting themselves for being religious but then they don't have good moral values and they are not doing the teachings of God itself. Obviously some of them are just praying because they need something and expect more blessings rather than thanking God.
@crossbones27 (18555)
• Redlands, California
2 Mar 12
Basically people did not know why they were there and did not know how to explain things. So they had to make sense of things and they did the best they could and thought everything was a God that they could not explain. The sky, stars, moon sun, lightning, they thought were all gods. When bad things would happen they thought they upset one of these gods. When good things happen they thought it was because the offered up sacrifices. Eventually people figured it was a way they could control other people into doing what ever they wanted by using this new made religion. It was also one of the only ways they could make laws back then to keep unruly people from being more unruly. It is simple, if you don't know how things work, you are going to tell yourself something to make sense of it.
• United States
1 Mar 12
God created man to have a relationship with Him. Religion was created so we could express our relationship with Him. It fulfilled a need to love and be loved. It's still around because we still want to love and be loved. It's still around because love is still needed.
• United States
1 Mar 12
I think the early peoples Needed an answer to why? Why does the sun come and go? Why are there different seasons? Why? so they came up with the answer, there are G-ds and G-ddesses. And I think this is why Science and Religion is in a battle now. There are different answers to Why now.