Thursday, June 30, 2011

Creating Religion

Have you ever wondered about how religion came to be?

Was it God's Word? Was it created by chimps? Planned by Shaman? Evolved out of mud? What is it and where did it come from? Does it make any sense whatsoever?

It was created, designed, then it evolved over time (which is ironic, since the Theists like to think that evolution is a fantasy) and finally, it was crafted by those in authority, both religious and secular, and typically, royal. So, let's look at it from a rational point of view for a change. Just what do we know?

We know that all religions were created a long time ago. No kidding, right? We know they were GeoSpecific, created in a specific area and rules were applied accordingly to the primal / indigenous people who are now only 6% of the total population. Isn't it strange that if God did exist, wouldn't a religion for God, a True religion of a God, have been everywhere, perhaps spontaneously, all around the planet. Wouldn't it have been at one point everywhere, then allowed to change as that society dictated? Why would any "omnipotent Being" create a religion in one location where there was no global communication or travel? It makes no sense, not logically, or any other way.

But at one point, they were 100%. Actually they probably weren't even back then. Because that is the nature of Human Beings, not everyone will believe. The problem with that, even from the very beginning, those nonbelievers were probably beaten, run off a cliff, thrown to the carnivores on the tundra, or simply stoned, to death. As they still are in some places.

We know that through History, one religion replaced another, many times, most perhaps, absorbing an older religion, especially when the new religion had moved into the area of the old religion. Christmas, for instance, has nothing to do with Jesus' birthday, other than to celebrate it, and now even that is falling by the wayside. The term, "xmas" has nothing to do with that as it was a shorthand used by medieval Catholic monks to shorten the full word and indicated the cross, turned on it's side, so don't think it was a turn of the century New York vendor thing. It wasn't.

We know that according to Anthropologists, for instance, K. Kris Hirst, a working archaeologist before retiring in 2005 to write freelance science articles in archaeology, the oldest Neanderthals appear to be just over 30. In some cases, there are always exceptions to the rule, such as at Chapelle aux Saintes where there is evidence of some living longer beyond their ability to care for themselves.

The roots of religion were around this time or more likely, prior to even that, back when we no spoken language. But when it got its real foundation, when it was first consciously created, we lived with a median age or 30, and it's not a far stretch that they did not have lifespan to fully mature emotionally, leaving them in a more primal state than we can now achieve. Like most higher primates, humans are social animals who want to build structures outside themselves, be it with other Humans, or with paranormal beings.

Back in those years, our ancestors had no real education beyond what it took to survive. In reality, religion most likely began even further back, way back, even before Heidelberg Man, most likely while we were still sitting in trees.

The roots were set there for the religious, for magical belief systems. They needed something to fill in the gaps about their mysterious lives, the unknowns in their existence, the invisible in the dark during the periods when darkness could mean a very real death coming suddenly out of the unknown. And the unknown was a very big issue in the creation of god and religion. Evolutionary Psychology is just the beginning of this train of thought.

Humans, even pre humans, also need a buffer against life's complexities and dangers. Otherwise, a thinking being will simply self destruct. And so, religion was created by a people with no education, immature personalities, and no way to explain the unexplainable in what they experienced and saw happening all around them in life on a daily basis.

It should be understood just how easy it is to believe in a God. If you've ever gotten burned by the sun, possibly the first "God", you can understand how it could have been seen to be the "all powerful being". Then from there, to believe in an organized belief system supporting that belief, well, nothing, may be easier to believe, really. Even a neanderthal could believe in that. Doesn't that say something? And isn't it funny, all the references to God, Jesus and the Sun (Son)?

Before a "God" concept was even proposed, Neanderthal could certainly have believed in the imaginary because every time they closed their eyes in the dark, they could "see" there was something that existed beyond themselves, "out there" where things were not physical, and therefore, were scary. Dreams, certainly made people believe in the unreal and changed their lives in some cases for them. This doesn't even bring into play that of poisonings or hallucinogenic substances. Terrifying.

And so in the beginning, God and Religion were born of... fear. No really. READ the Old Testament of the Christian Bible sometime. As Humans developed it was obvious that wasn't working and so they finally needed a "friendly" and loving, or Fatherly, God. But even that is still based in the old fears and structures.

At some point, Humans learned to write and before that, they drew pictures, before that, they passed on legend by word of mouth. Once they began to write what they believed, things really took off. Once they began to understand you could write what was not true, to expand upon, to create, true religion was born. But even before writing, don't think that they weren't already very good story tellers. There is power in writing however. There is power in the God concept. People kowtow to the concept of an ultimate being and when it's unavailable for comment, that gives it even more power. Those who are the mouthpiece for that, have the capability of being the most power beings on the planet.

And so they tried to be. But those who were strongest, weren't always of a follower kind of format and typically were up against those in religious power. A good example of religious and solider would be the Templars. Finally, they scared both the secular and religious in power alike and were wiped out.

There is nothing truly surprising or difficult to understand here, other than that "faith" gets in the way of rationally seeing the Truth. Not, the "Truth", but the Truth.

So, WHY are we so surprised at how screwed up religion is, or why it has had to be changed and developed over the years by Humans and not god(s), and if a god or gods created it, then why did it need so much fine tuning, year after year after year?

The hard thing to do is to accept we are meat and bone, evolution is real, life is now, and not later after we die. I do not like that concept either, but I don't believe in ignoring what is relevant just because I don't like it. I was in a car accident once, a woman ran a red light and suddenly she was right in front of me. I didn't like it. I wanted to avoid it. But I accepted it and swerved, avoiding killing her by "T boning" her car. It saved her life. Had I simply decided not to believe in reality, she would be dead.

But that is exactly what religion does, it tells us to have "faith" in what is not real, what is obviously not so. And so we set ourselves up for some ugly truths, but so what, we'll be dead and not know it anyway. Still, we further so much unreal belief for those who remain behind us when we die and don't point out the silly uselessness of it all. It's great to have the magic of believing in Santa, but not so much to truly believe.


  1. Most religions ever to exist have many gods who are pretty human and fallible and bear no resemblance to an "unseen all powerful entity".

    I never get though why people talk about "religion" and then everything they say assumes a monotheistic religion very similar to Judaism/Christianity/Islam, most religions are not those 3. Just because those three are good at marketing doesn't make them "religion" as a totality.

  2. Hi Sophia,

    I agree. It is one of the things that always bothered me about westerner's (Americans typically) discussions on religion. There is another issue that is even bigger and that I addressed in my latest book, Death of Heaven ( Some would call it sci fi but I see it as Speculative / Horror Fiction as there really is little Science Fiction in it. Spec. Fiction and Sci Fi are there to give us a way to imagine what we have trouble imaging in real life. Many people may not see clearly what I am trying to say in the book due to their preconceived views, but the point I make is solid. Part of the problem with religion is it is narrow minded by design and it doesn't evolve enough, and if it does, it counters its own foundations unless you are some new age design like Scientology which isn't a religion but tries to be for the tax breaks; or even Mormonism, both founded essentially by con men.
    Try to correspond with an amoeba sometime. And that is not even the close to the vast difference between Humans and a "God", but it gives you the idea of how the amoeba would misconstrue our intentions in trying to communicate with it; and there is a great possibility in our damaging either the amoeba's physical, emotional (if it has one) or spiritual self (and to claim it doesn't have one, and maybe it doesn't, but it smacks of elitism on the part of Humans). I think that most people's concept of "God" is actually only what they can conceive of whereas a Real "God" would be so far beyond us as to make communication nearly impossible with such lowly beings as we are. People then would say, "But if it's "God" then God can do anything." Not necessarily though, that is an assumption by mere mortals. It is very likely that if there IS a "God", then we have been the ones to make up all the information we have on that being. Anyway, that is the basis of my book. I found it fascinating to write and so far others seem to agree.
    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I see myself as an animist more or less. I think that the harmless use of the "pathetic fallacy" is a good way for human beings to gain sympathy with and relate better to their environment. I think human being require myths and allegory, there's a reason we are drawn to them, our brains are not wired for literalism at all.

  4. I would agree that we aren't designed for literalism.