Did civilization begin with the desire to worship?

Paul Vander Klay

Jason Stambaugh
August 12, 2011

Interesting. I'd never thought about the implications of "faith" coming before agriculture. Not sure this finding entirely substantiates that we are a worshipping animal, but it does raise some great questions.

August 13, 2011

To say that the "religious impulse" was THE foundation of civilization seems as speculative as any other offering on the subject. But why does everything we say or do have to imbue our specied with some evolutionary advantage? Maybe its a random side effect. Or, maybe we have a religious impulse because there is a God who made all that is, seen and unseen.

August 17, 2011

In a sort of parallel way, the work of Jonathan Haidt echoes this, particularly the work around "tribal moral communities." As he explains:

We humans qualify as being ultrasocial. We live
together in very large groups of hundreds or thousands or millions, with
a massive division of labor and a willingness to sacrifice for the
group. But how do we do it? What's our trick? Clearly we don't suppress
breeding and concentrate it in one queen or one breeding couple.
Our trick is very different, Our evolved
trick is our ability to forge a team by circling around sacred objects
& principles.

Religion -- the sacred -- links human society and causes it to flourish, both anthropologically, and as Haidt goes on to elaborate, in academic circles as well. In a social psychological sort of way he confirms Augustine's observation.

Add your comment to join the discussion!