Over the past few decades there has been a move away from religion. The mindset seems to be, who needs religion when we have science?
Science does not unify people under a common idea, science does not teach a code of morals and values. How many atheist charities are there compared to religion based charities? When a family needs assistance, does the local atheist take up donations?
Where would society be today if religion never existed? I figure we would still be in the iron age, or about 20% behind where we are today.
100,000 – 8,000 years ago
Something happened around 6,000 or 8,000 years ago that made mankind stop roaming the countryside looking for food. What made mankind set down the seeds of civilization? We raised livestock, we planted gardens, we formed communities, we formed nations, we formed governments. Why did it take humanity over 100,000 years to go from hunter gathers, to building nations?
Why was mankind on the planet for 100,000 years, then all of a sudden there was a growth on society in the past 6,000 years? What about the other 94,000 years? What happened for society not to develop?
Why did humanity all of a sudden develop over the past 4,000 – 8,000 years?
Why didn’t we have cities and government 50,000 years ago?
What changed between 100,000 years ago, and 6,000 years ago?
Our modern human civilization began when we moved from a hunter / gatherer, to a farmer / gardener.
Middle ages to current
What you may not realize is that religion played a VERY important factor in peacefully unifying groups of people into nations.
While civilizations like Greece and Sparta had education systems, they were regional. It was impossible for Greece or even Rome to unify large areas of diverse people.
Where Rome conquered people with military might and crushed entire cultures, religion allowed people to peacefully find common ground and form a unification of cultures. The fall of the roman empire left a void in Europe, a void that Christianity filled. Conquering with military might caused tension with the people, and there were always conflicts and rebellions.
If you conquer a group of people with military might, there is always a certain level of resentment and civil unrest that finally leads to rebellion.
If a people willingly submit to a new idea, the risk of rebellion is very limited.
Where nations like Rome failed to defeat the people of Europe as a whole and unify them under a common language and government, religion was able to do just that.
If religion never happened, the different factions of Europe would have been waring for centuries after Rome fell. Without religion we may have never had a Greece, or a Rome.
One of the reasons why we know so much about our history, is because monk scribes copied ancient text across the generations. Monasteries were one of the very first types of public education.
Monasteries did not teach a well rounded education as they only taught latin and scripture, but the monks did teach people how to read and write.
The crusades probably helped Europe more then it hurt. The people that went to fight in the crusades learned muslims were not the heathens that they were made out to be. Europeans learned math from the muslims, which was brought back to be europe. When math was brought back to Europe from the crusades, it was viewed as witchcarft. This exchange of cultures probably would not have happened without a conflict over religion.
The middle east and northern Africa was unified under Islam, Europe was unified under Christianity.
Without religion, there would have been no reason for the crusades to happen, so the exchange of cultures and ideas between the muslims and christians would have never happened.
Instead of math being brought to Europe by the returning crusaders, it would have taken centuries to slowly work its way into europe.
Reading and writing that was promoted by monasteries and monks would not have fallen to the wayside.
These examples are just from the middle ages. Without religion to unify people, would we have even made it to the middle ages?
Religion is what brought mankind out of the stone age and flourished ideas through education.
Did written language or religion, or both unify people
Did religion give birth to written language, or did written language give birth to religion? I think we know the answer to that one, religion developed long before written language.
Written language does not unify people who have differing morals and values. Just because the Romans brought Latin to Gaul and Britannia, does not mean the people of those regions lived in peace with the Romans.
England and France were at war for hundreds of years, and they had written language. Before England and France developed into two separate nations, there was a time when people of both areas living in peace with each other.
Unless there is something to unify people, all we will have is waring factions fighting for power.
Once we have unification, then we form nations.
Once we form nations, we form governments.
Christianity achieved what the Romans, Huns, Greeks,,, failed to do.