How, who, when and why invented religion?

The question of the origin of religion has always been an object of interest for researchers, philosophers, and theologians. It touches on fundamental aspects of human history and culture. In this three-part article we will look at how, who, when and why religion was invented, starting with the origins of this phenomenon.

1.1. Understanding religion

Before we begin our investigation, it is important to define what we mean by the term “religion.” Religion is a system of beliefs, rituals, doctrines, and practices focused on connecting a person with a higher spiritual reality or power. This spiritual reality may include gods, a god, gods, goddesses, spirits, a force of nature, or an abstract cosmic principle.

1.2. Ancient roots of religious beliefs

A person’s inclination towards religious beliefs and spiritual practices is considered innate and goes back to ancient times. Ancient people who lived thousands of years ago observed natural phenomena and tried to explain them in terms of their beliefs. These attempts led to the formation of the first mythologies and cults.

1.2.1. Shamanism

One of the earliest and most widespread types of religious practices known in human history is shamanism. Shamanism was characteristic of ancient societies, including tribes and cultures of Siberia, Africa, America, and Australia. Shamans, as intermediaries between the world of spirits and the world of the living, played an important role in rituals associated with hunting, tribal rites and healing.

1.2.2. Polytheism

With the development of societies and the formation of the first civilizations, religious ideas became more complex. Polytheistic beliefs arose, in which there were many gods and goddesses, each of whom controlled certain aspects of life and nature. Examples of polytheistic religions are ancient Greek mythology, Egyptian religion, and Hinduism.

1.2.3. Monotheism

Over time, many societies moved from polytheism to monotheism – belief in one supreme god. This transition was characteristic of such religions as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In these monotheistic religions, God is considered omnipotent, omniscient and all-pervasive.

1.3. Why did people create religions?

Why have people invented and developed religions over many centuries? There are several theories explaining the motivation for the creation of religious systems:

1.3.1. Explanation of natural phenomena

Religions were an attempt to explain natural phenomena that ancient people could not understand or control. Thunderstorms, floods, droughts, earthquakes – all this seemed mysterious and associated with the action of higher forces. Religious myths and gods were a way to give meaning to these events.

1.3.2. Establishing moral standards

Religions have often played a role in establishing moral norms and rules of behavior in society. Divine commandments and the teachings of religious leaders helped maintain social order and control the behavior of believers.

1.3.3. Consolation and hope

Religion provided people with solace in difficult times in life and hope for a better future after death. The belief in life after death and the promise of reward for virtue inspired many.

1.3.4. The meaning of life

Religion answered the question of the meaning of life by providing its followers with a deep spiritual context and purpose. She helped people find their place in the world and understand their role in it.

To be continued…

In the first part of our article, we examined general aspects of the origin and development of religious beliefs, starting from ancient times. In Part 2 we will focus on specific religious traditions and their history. In Part Three, we will discuss the impact of religion on culture, society, and human experience. Stay tuned to learn more about religion and its multifaceted impact on our world.


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