ebster defines religion as being, “the service and worship of God or the supernatural”. The concept is also defined as being, “a system of religious beliefs and practices.”
Have you every wondered how this concept of religion began? Most anthropologists agree religion was born out of a reality of fear. In the beginning, and I do mean the beginning, people had to ban together in order to survive. Alone a predator would probably eat them. Coming together in groups or tribes they had a better chance to see another day.
The most terrifying time had to be the night. No one could see anything but hear everything. They must have huddled in groups around in circles to keep warm and alive. The only place there was light was the sky. The stars and moon didn’t illuminate much but the earth around them gave no light.
It makes sense their survival had to come from the sky. They began to put sticks in the ground in the center of their circles reaching up to where they thought safety lived. We all know the sticks grew larger through the millenniums until they became steeples and giant centers of religion even though the people watching the sky had little knowledge of what religion was.
There was never one tribe of people surrounding their pointer to the sky. There were many who huddled together hoping to survive the night. These circles then came to the realization there were more circles of people hoping to survive. They must have understood the others were strangers unlike themselves to the point they knew they must have been the ones who surrounded the real; the true stick that reached the sky.
The only way they could prove they represented the truth was to build a bigger more powerful stick that reached into the sky. If anyone else would attempt to believe they were the people who represented the truth, they would own the bigger more powerful stick. Their stick would make the others clearly understand they were the reality of the sky. If they didn’t they would be, they must be destroyed because anything that wasn’t what represented what is has to be destroyed.
The concept of pride evolved into the small groups that worshipped the sky. The small circles understood they represented the truth but who in the group represented the people of the group. If one were to become the center of the group and thus the center of truth a new term would be defined.
This term would be called power. Webster defines power as being, “the possession of control, authority, or influence over others. It goes on to describe power as being, “a nation that has influence amongst other nations.” Nations had yet to be defined. Groups of people surrounding a simple stick in order to survive have always existed. One evolved into the other.
Nations became the groups of people surrounding the sticks hoping to survive their nights. Nations became defined by their understanding they were the correct and only belief that they owned the stick that reached into the sky. Their stick represented the truth. All others represented un-truths that were meant to be; had to be destroyed by the true representation of what really is.
The populations of the world increased exponentially as mathematics predicted. Two became four and four became eight and eight became 16 until every corner of our world became filled with people who believed in their tribes that originally surrounded their stick that reached out into the night in order to allow them to survive.
Numbers now allowed them to survive their nights believing their group represented the truth. Numbers that taught them all the other groups of the world represented all that was un-true. The group that held the biggest stick would be the one that represented the truth. If this was not true why were they able to hold the power of the world?
Today, we’ve become a world of people living in tribes hoping we will survive the night. Those who hold the largest sticks are comforted in the fact they represent the truth. Those who are relegated to surround the smaller and weakest of the sticks want to martyr themselves in order to destroy the comfort of the powerful. They want to become the comforted and they want to become the powerful who represent the truth. The truth and the powerful have become the same.
Webster defines religion as being, “the service and worship of God or the supernatural”. The concept is also defined as being, “a system of religious beliefs and practices.” In reality we are all looking up into the night sky hoping to survive. It is not important as to whether we hold the higher or the stronger stick. All we want to do is survive.
‘I love religion but I can stand the religious’ by Jim Fabiano.
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine