How did religions come about?
From the book by Andrey Sokolov and Tatiana Sokolova "The world and humans for students and their parents".
How did religions come about?
Imagine yourself in the place of an ancient man. There are predatory animals or hostile tribes around. Every now and then someone close or acquaintance dies from some incomprehensible disease. At night - darkness, in the daytime a thunderstorm rumbles, wind whistles and lightning flashes. One year the harvest is good, there is a lot of game on the hunt, and in another year, it is not clear why - drought or flood, cold or incinerating heat. Crop failure and hunger.
The person is scared. The person wants protection. The person wants to understand what is happening and try to change it.
But he has not yet invented watering machines to cope with drought, he has not yet learned how to store food for future use and put them in the refrigerator, he has not yet built hospitals, has not discovered vaccinations, antibiotics and all kinds of drugs that can protect him from disease.
Man knows that he is small - much smaller than a mammoth and a rhinoceros. Knows that he is weak - weaker than a bear or a buffalo. Knows that almost all of his brothers and sisters died from illness in early childhood. And he knows that when he was small, his parents - adults, wise and strong, were able to protect him from many troubles.
A person grows up in fear. He becomes big and adult, but in his heart he remains a frightened child and tries to find protection from someone big and strong. Someone bigger than a mammoth and stronger than a lion, someone who will help to survive. Someone who can influence the clouds and bring rain to the fields. Someone who can command the elements, just as he himself commands fire in the hearth.
And then one day, in a moment of special despair, a person throws up his hands, a person begins to call at least someone for help, and suddenly what he needs happens, for example, it is raining.
And the person concludes that it was he who could shout to someone or something. That it was his actions that led to the fact that what he needed happened. And he begins to repeat these actions in similar situations, just like repeating successful techniques while hunting or fishing.
Gradually, these actions are supplemented and complicated and turn into a special obligatory ritual.
And a person wants to call all this somehow, give it a name, as he gives names to cheetahs and hyenas, children and food, weapons and plants. And he comes up with a name for this something that rain sent at his request. Comes up with a name for the rain god.
And it does not occur to a person that this could be a simple coincidence. That after a long drought it always rains, just as day always comes after night.
After all, chance cannot be controlled, chance cannot be summoned or changed. It's pretty dangerous to hope for chance. But something strong, omnipotent, like a dad or mom in his childhood, is possible. And after the rain god, the sun god, the forest god, the death god and all the other gods appear, who can be asked for protection and find at least a little more peace and confidence in this dangerous and unpredictable world.
At some point, a tribe or village of ancient people decides that it makes sense to perform rituals and appeal to these invisible super-powers-wights. Just in case. There is never too much protection. Yes, and in a tribe or village there is always some weak old man or a nervous inhabitant, from whom there is little use both in hunting and in gathering fruits. And the tribe instructs this resident, useless in the economy, to establish communication with higher powers. The rest have no time. Despite all the requests and prayers, food does not start falling from the sky.
Religions have arisen because man, unlike animals, always tries to change the world around him, to subordinate the environment to his desires.
And one day the person in charge of performing religious rituals decides that it is possible to subjugate not only nature, but also the people of his tribe.
And then he begins to communicate the will of the higher powers to his neighbors. He begins to talk about the anger of the gods and the need for sacrifices. He gains power over his fellow tribesmen, and at the same time additional resources, such as tasty and plentiful food.
At the same time, he does not need to take risks on the hunt, he does not need to work in the field, he does not need to bend over for mushrooms or berries. It is enough for him to threaten that the higher powers may become angry and cause drought if the tribe does not obey him.
To control people, the ministers of religious cults have invented many manipulations.
The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt existed for several thousand years, convincing the Egyptians that they knew how to manage of the Nile, and hence the amount of crops in the ancient Egyptian fields.
But this toolkit did not always work. There were years when far, far from Egypt, at the source of the Nile, there was little rain and in Egypt, in spite of all the sacrifices of the Egyptians and the power of the Pharaoh, a drought set in. And then the people, disappointed in the powers of the pharaoh, overthrew him.
The problem is that they overthrew the pharaoh, and left their faith and religion intact. And instead of developing science and coming up with more efficient systems for growing food, they created a new pharaoh for themselves. And the story of the drought - the overthrow - the appointment was repeated over time again.
Polytheistic religions were replaced by mono-gods several thousand years ago. First, almost four thousand years ago, Judaism, then, about two thousand years ago, Christianity and, about 1500 years ago, Islam.
These religions have used better manipulation.
One of the biggest fears people have is the fear of death. People are afraid of death and do not want to die. The priests of Ancient Egypt knew this and promised a good Egyptian revival after death. For this they came up with mummies.
Not a single mummy, however, has yet been resurrected, but in religion, it is not evidence that is important, but faith. And the people believed, and the pharaohs and priests continued to be in power in honor and luxury.
It was this win-win idea of life after death that the Jews took from the religion of Ancient Egypt several thousand years ago, Christians about two thousand years ago, and Muslims less than one and a half thousand years ago.
The idea turned out to be extremely successful.
Eternal life, resurrection after death, Gardens of Eden and divine rewards after the correct, according to religious leaders, life on earth - turned out to be a very effective method of managing people.
The rulers of religious thoughts also took into account the shortcomings of the ancient Egyptian religion and did not claim to control nature. Furthermore. They figured out how to ward off the anger of believers and direct it in the direction they needed. For example, witches or to people who do not listen to them well, which means they do not pray well, which means they make God angry. And it is precisely they who are to blame for the drought, disease, crop failure and all other troubles. And the clergy and rulers have nothing to do with it. They are even ready to help outraged believers to get rid of these pests.
At first, those who were disagreeable to the clergy were expelled from the villages, then they began to beat, throw stones, and then burn them at the stake.
True, there was no more food and good weather from this, but the power of the clergy was greatly strengthened.
What does religion actually give to a person?
God is a kind of parent, “big brother,” who runs your life. Thus, religion allows one to be relieved of responsibility. I do not influence anything, I do not decide anything, if anything, I have nothing to do with it.
Isn't that why there are so many among believers for whom it is not at all difficult to come to an agreement with their conscience, kill and torture? Remember the brutality of the Crusades. Torture of the Inquisition. Burning scientists and thinkers in a religious flame.
There is always a "big brother", SOMEONE, who is responsible for all these atrocities, but "little people", it seems, has nothing to do with it. They will pray and forgive themselves for their sins in order to live in peace and "feast in the time of the plague."
Any religion is not about protection in difficulties, not about freedom, equality or choice. This is about irresponsibility, about submission, suppression. And it's always about power.
Modern man is a pagan.
In addition to the one God, he creates other idols for himself. The Motherland and "mother" (parents) have become icons for many. These are shrines, about which (as about the dead), either good or nothing.
Homeland and "mother" do not tolerate criticism and changes. You can only put up with them, bend over and obey. Agreeing and finding a compromise will not work. To do this, you need to respect each other as individuals.
Any idolatry and beliefs deprive people of reason and impose "convenient" values. A mindless crowd is easy to manage. Religion and state is the mechanism for crowd control.
Many parents, copying religious models, create a kind of halo of their own holiness, so that, having climbed onto a pedestal, they can rule over their children.
Note that scientists never go to rallies in defense of Einstein's theory, do not climb the barricades for the sake of Newton's laws, they just do what they know and try to understand what they still do not know. The most important thing here is the absence of pathos and the desire to wipe someone's nose, to rise above someone.
Discoveries are made only when a person is ready to admit his mistakes and is free for new knowledge.