If we take a little imaginary trip back in time to the era when Homo sapiens first started to evolve into modern humans, we might see the beginnings of some concepts that are still in place today.
For instance, it is quite likely that humans invented god(s) as explanations for unexplained events in nature. Slowly as knowledge grew, those god(s) were replaced with knowledge, but not until they were firmly embedded as memes.
Most holy writ has some story about origins, and some of those stories seem to have a central theme which delineates knowledge from faith. Some are so preposterous that they have to be believed on faith alone, which until the last thousand or so years was quite acceptable, however these days, anyone who still hold that Adam and Eve partook from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is viewed as simple minded.
As mankind developed higher brain functions, which would seem to have taken several thousand to several hundred thousand years, there were likely some very diverse cultural systems going on at once, much like today, back then there were tribes and individuals who possessed a greater intelligence than their contemporaries. Things were being explained a little at a time, which would likely cause fear in those of lesser development. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to imagine one of the first case’s of division among human kind to be of those with more evolved brains from those of lesser development, in the specific area of origins. An explanation of why some were capable of ‘figuring things out’ while others simply accepted things without explanation could be fuel for division. As these divisions became more and more pronounced, stories would be created to account for the differing mental ability. One such might be the invention of the tree of knowledge between good and evil, or simply the division of those holding reason and those holding faith. Perhaps we haven’t come as far as we thought.

Your ideas welcome.
Remember, this is not meant to be a scientific paper, just a thought.

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Comment by DaVinci on August 4, 2008 at 7:17pm
Of course, religionists of today cannot be compared to primitive man. Primitive man had a valid excuse to believe nonsense since there was little else to explain an unknown event. Critical thought would have been a radical concept for them.
I find little excuse for religionists today. Today it seems more and more to be a negation of life that drives them, a willingness for the afterlife to the extent of not living this life. While I think people should be allowed to live anyway they wish, without hurting others, I think these morally bankrupt, totalitarian views should never be taught to children.
Comment by DaVinci on August 4, 2008 at 7:10pm
Thanks Michael. One thing about my suppositions above that I find disturbing is that the more highly evolved humans may have been the only ones capable of creating a religion, however it could, and most likely did, evolve from a very privative superstition. The higher brain took a long time to develop, and its really open to many ideas based on what we know of ancient geography, climate, and resources. The environment probably played a large part in their primitive culture. I would love to live among them and see what they did.
Comment by Reverend Slim / Michael Ham on August 4, 2008 at 6:05pm
I agree RarusVir ...God is a concept of man. It's interesting, but disturbing to listen to the thoughts and conclusions of those who believe that god created man, It seems that the evolution of rational thought has, for some, lagged far behind the evolution of our curiosity and scientific inquiry....our inventiveness and our resourcefulness.

As Eric Hoffer said, "Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves."

This is (one reason) why the practices of the faithful disturb me.



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