Of the Origin of Religions

The Fetal Brain

The first thing our brain learnt in its fetal development is that there is someone out there who provides for us, keeps us safe. That being might even have been our creator. It is no wonder, then, that most cultures on remotest parts of our planet came up with the concept of a deity.
In some cultures that deity might have been turned into a hierarchical religion devised to subdue dissent and monopolise power. In some contemporary societies it might be frowned upon to follow an ancient rule book — but there are still many who can’t fully brush aside the sense that there is something that provides, someone who cares, someone who made sure the Big Bang happened in a way that resulted in you reading these words on this high tech screen right now…

The Metaphor

I come from a Christian culture, and there the uterine metaphor goes even further. Christians have a Christ who is of their own flesh and who is the link to their god. Just like the placenta: it has the same DNA as the fetus and without it there would be no communication with the creator.
The metaphor doesn’t stop there: When the fetus is born there is a moment where it looks like the placenta is gone. It had to die for the baby to live. The umbilical connection stops — but the separation is soon replaced by a resurrected connection to the mother through her breast milk. The creator/mother keeps the Christ/breast with the Christian/newborn for a while longer until the baby is able to feed by herself.

I don’t know enough of Islam, Hinduism or other religions to search for the birth metaphor in them..


This understanding of religion helps me to empathize with people who literally believe in a god. And it makes me respect the early Christian storytellers for finding such a clever metaphor for the most universal story of the birth of an individual.

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