Here is a link:
To the PBS Nova presentation, Becoming Human, Part One. It is available to watch online, as are Part Two and Part Three. These are very interesting shows, and well worth watching.
Try to imagine what it was like to be a member of a community of apes. I doubt that my imagining or your imagining can come close to the thoughts and feelings of our ancient ancestors. This is because, as I sit writing, words are streaming through my mind, telling me which letters on the keyboard I should type.
Modern language, complex symbolic language, is the difference between us and our ape ancestors.
Before modern language was developed, behavior was largely controlled by instincts. As language developed, instinct became less in control, and learned behavior (culture) became the main source of our thoughts and our actions. Modern language was key to the development of human culture.
Language, learning, and a long childhood set the stage for the ability of humans to live in larger and larger groups. Superstition and religion developed as a means of communication, control, and education within these larger groups of people. The groups had become so large that many members of society were strangers to each other.
So religion came into being and the Pyramid of Authority also came into being, as ways to control, regulate, communicate with, and educate large groups of people. It seems that all societies of substantial size have been organized in this way. It seems that the emergence of religion was inevitable.
From my perspective in the twenty-first century, religion is a kind of pseudoscience, obsolete law, and corrupt politics.
God should no longer be an object of worship, but should be an object for sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists to study.
So, in reply to the question posed by Diego Baeza on December 4th, - - - No, religion is no longer necessary, and now we must work to free the human race from the harm of believing in ancient superstitions.
Was religion necessary in the past? - - - Human history seems to indicate that religion has been indispensable in our journey from ancient anarchy to the land of E Pluribus Unum.
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