“History began when humans invented gods, and will end when humans become gods.” -Yuval Noah Harari
Religion is a conceptual foundation of supernatural belief. It consists of the building blocks for creation mythologies which are permeated in most cultures. These religions satisfied the early human curiosity for a philosophical explanation of why they existed, as is natural of the development of an intelligence. As the roots of scientific reasoning began to show itself to humans, through examination and extrapolation of their environment, creation mythologies long ago became unnecessary for our civilization.
Humans in authority witnessed the control that such ignorance and belief in supernatural elements afforded them, thus began the reign of religion throughout our history.
With unyielding force, the spiritual cults rose up into institutionalized religions that became the central authoritative forces in society. It allotted the monarchies and shaman/priests to maintain control over other humans. These people in power changed the rules and practices of their various mythologies when it suited their agenda.
Religious dogma and teachings are often twisted into a hammer used to beat people down. Crusades and force was used to convert others into these various control paradigms, and once brought into these supernatural belief systems, their descendants propagated the parents’ creation myths.
Into the 21st century of the Common Era, the majority of humans are still dependent on various religions. As the industrial age began, there’s been a massive decline in religious belief, and an exponential growth factor in literacy and scientific reasoning. Many religious groups are becoming more radicalized than ever, as well as deeply isolationist, due to this decline. Religious organizations are increasingly violent and are lashing out with all the vitriol they can afford in hopes of staving off the decline of their oppressive control over others.
People who are in the clutches of these supernatural belief systems are often in conflict due to a burgeoning understanding of the natural world and coming to terms with the subjugation and ignorance they’ve be taught since youth.
The Hindu creation mythology propagates a social caste system where people are placed into hierarchical groups according to their genetic lineage. The people in groups at the bottom of the caste system are known to be the undesired and are often the most impoverished in society. Groups towards the top are the wealthiest and are delegated the authoritative roles in the culture. When you are born into a Hindu nation such as India, you are reared to believe that some people are better than others. You grow up thinking that your place is set before you were born. You can not become better than your caste dictates, and trying to advance yourself or evolve your position will cause you to become a social pariah. The Hindu system is built upon control and wealth-of-resources so that the few at the top receives the greatest benefits. Those in leadership positions never have to worry above losing their stature, as people in lower castes are not allowed to move beyond their position. This type of society creates rampant apathy, driven by a lifelong belief that people deserve the lifestyle they are born to, and thus they are compelled to believe these supernatural tenants that have devastating impacts on the people of their culture.
The most violent religion in recent human history is perhaps the Abrahamic creation myths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. People in these religions devote their lives to the indoctrination of other people into the institutionalized cults. The greatest enemies of the Abrahamic religions are scientific progress and knowledge. Those individuals pledged to these creation myths incite harsh punishment against people that oppose the many tenants of the religion. They uphold their belief system with actions that often contradict their own teachings such as manipulation, murder, and suicide.
Hindu and the Abrahamic religions will be expanded on (as will many other religions) in the ongoing series, but they are discussed briefly in this introduction to show two opposite extremes. Hindu society is not forced (with few exceptions) to accept there belief system; people strongly believe that their deities meant for the social castes to be what they are and willingly accept all consequences. While the Abrahamic religions compel their followers (with few exceptions) to follow the tenants of their belief system.
It can often times be difficult to see the truth of the factual world around you, when one of the core principles of religion is to ignore all contrary beliefs out-of-hand. The reason for blind faith is that when people open their minds to reason, the creation myths evaporate into just another fairy-tale.
Throughout history, there have been a plethora of diseases and aliments that have killed humans, wiped out entire cultures, and have brought down nations. Yet, no affliction has caused more destruction and havoc than the one plaguing the human mind: religion.