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Is Religion the Driving Force Behind Human Civilization?

In a brief article in the ‘Opinion‘ section of New Scientist titled “Should We Thank God for Civilization” recently discusses how the current model of how civilizations first developed in human history is being challenged, namely with the discovery of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey.

As the article states:

The answer once seemed clear: food. Farming was more efficient than foraging and so people gravitated towards it. Cities, writing and organised religion soon followed… Yet the people who built them were nomads, not farmers. So the radical suggestion now is that it was not agriculture that drove the revolution, but religion. Some archaeologists oppose this idea, arguing that the ruins could have been domestic buildings, or were once surrounded by dwellings that did not survive. But the ceremony-first model is in the ascendancy, supported by further evidence unearthed in the Levant.

Keep in mind that Göbekli Tepe dates back to around 11,000 BCE.  That in and of itself is amazing.

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Through the Wormhole: Did We Invent God?

 

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite series to watch on tv that’s on the Science Channel.

 

From time to time, they’ll show episodes concerning God and science.

 

This episode explores the latest research done in psychology and neuroscience about where the origins of human belief in the supernatural may have come from.

 

This episode poses interesting questions, such as:

  • Does God only exist in our minds?
  • Is a belief in God “hardwired” within us?
  • What is required to believe in a God or supernatural entity? Can animals believe or sense the divine? (i.e. at the bare minimum you need a theory of mind as far as we can tell.)
  • Is belief in God just a remnant from our evolutionary past to explain what’s going on in our world?
  • Is it just childish superstition that we haven’t outgrown?
  • Did God create us? Or did we create God?