Evolution of Religions

Shared by Dr. Syed Ehtisham

Human beings are understood to have evolved to the current
brain size about half a million years ago, ​enabling them to have​ bipedal
locomotion, coherent speech, power of analysis, greater social
organization, and imagination.
The earliest available record and evidence​ are of female
dominated hunter-gatherer society, evolving over​ thousands of years into
tribal, feudal-monarchical-mercantile and capitalist stages.
Over time, the concept of divine developed and​ passed through
the stage​s​ of polytheism, which ​initially​ had more or less equal
representation of male and female forms. With the advent of agricultural
mode of production, matriarchal society gave way to male domination.  ​
Initially gods were believed to be just more powerful beings
than humans, but over time they grew more and more distant and different
from the ordinary mortal. Bhagwan among Hindus was initially head of the
tribe who gave away ‘Bhag (portion). Monotheistic creeds followed, which
conforming to the norms of the time, had only male Gods .Initially the
monotheistic God kept close personal relations with the prophets. God of
Moses (He had actually to compete with and overcome rivals) used to invite
him for regular parleys. Jesus did not talk to him directly and his
followers were reduced to award​​ him a biological relationship with the
Almighty. The prophet of Islam had only one audience when he rose to the
seventh heaven on a flying horse named “Burraq”; Archangel Gabriel was the
appointed emissary for all exchanges.
Accounts of the earliest beliefs and their origin are ​at
best​ speculative. Humans needed explanation of and protection from natural
elements. It was probably a coincidence that a prediction of member of a
tribe came true; drought ended or the crop was good or a fire died down.
The person, pushed to explain how she/he knew, might have claimed a special
relationship with gods. The profession of clergy probably started that way.
People saw other people die. It made them wonder about their own
death. At the deepest subconscious they thought of their personal unknown
future. The unknown ​was pregnant with curiosity and fear.​
Individuals with perceived​ access to the ‘divine’ explained the future on
the basis of their inner experience. They gave their views to humankind
about virtue and vice, about heaven and hell, about salvation and
damnation; ​a concept named Faith for a collectively peaceful co-existence.
​Thus religions were created.
Priests were close to the spiritual personages. They interpret and
propagate the teachings of the ‘divine’.  They exercise the greatest
influence upon devout believers.
With advancement of knowledge and ability to
explain many​ natural phenomena​​ on scientific and rational basis, it
became necessary to invent the ultimate unknown which was the first cause,
the un-created creator; we have the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and
Muhammad, peace be upon all of them.
Conformists, challenged by detractors, claim that religion
inspired people and offers solace, when nothing else could. Well opium is a
great analgesic; further it can be chemically changed into morphine which
is an even better pain reliever. But it can be converted into Heroin as
well, which is highly addictive. Obviously opium production has to  be
regulated but you can not trust an addict as a regulator. The question
arises; why trust the clergy, mullahs, pundits and rabbis to regulate
religious practices