Discuss the idea that Religion has been essential for Humanity to arrive at it's current point, and where could it take humanity in the future?
I am going to start this out openly, declaring I am an Atheist
This isn't a discussion about believing in god, there are plenty of threads on that, take it else where.
This isn't a place to push your beliefs (or lack there of), again take it elsewhere.
This isn't some soap box to spout nonsense about God or a place for the scientists to debunk that idea, ... .
I am atheist, and while I have no qualms in discussing many of the above for self interest and enlightenment I had a thought, religion although highly controversial has been essential for the human species to progress this far.
The god thing aside religion has been really important, quintessential in fact.
Without religion we wouldn't have any thing like the technologies we have today.
Many of you are now shouting at the screen saying religion has nothing to do with science, you are wrong.
The earliest astronomers, the people that invented the telescope, the people that came up with the microscope, were all started off by some rich man wanting to understand astrology (that's the zodiac thing) a little better, much of modern science has revolved around the inventions that followed the telescope. Founded by a Religion.
Ok that was only 400 years ago, maybe there'd have been some other way of creating the microscope however long before the microscope came the ancient Greeks.
Way before the mathematics they envisioned, for they didn't understand mathematics they saw numbers as adjectives not as entities, you could have two of something, but you couldn't have two, in the same way you can't have a blue, but you could have a blue pen; they had philosophy, something so deeply ingrained into the modern world is it that if you take the first 'real' link on any Wikipedia page, and follow the first links it creates, no matter where you start from you'll always finish at the philosophy page eventually. Even philosophy itself is only 20 steps away from philosophy. So what? I here you say, well philosophy came from, you guessed it, religion. And maths physics and chemistry rely on the logic and scientific method that that philosophy produced.
Ok so maybe I've proven my point with religion and science, you need religion to give science a start, but that doesn't mean you need religion for Art, cave art appeared long before religion didn't it?
Well I'm not qualified to answer this one, frankly no-one is, but I imagine that before the putting of stories on walls in paint there were camp fire stories, and songs, and I imagine before there were camp fires there was fire, and where there's fire you find myth and legend and fear, and maybe just maybe something on high to give it to them, could that be a proto-religion of sorts?
And if that's the case maybe all song and dance, celebration and stories, most of what we consider culture came from the same early start, and with religion to inspire it you get things like the Sistine Chapel, Harry Potter and Avatar.
Modern religions all seem to be stories that haven't been lost from the racial memory just yet (ignoring the god concept) so back at the dawn of humanity it was the same, their memories fresh and untrained could only store the stories of the past few generations and the most interesting one or two handed down from the generations before. We don't have those stories anymore as they're lost, but I can imagine that we have corruptions of them, Romeo and Juliet, could be a story about two tribes as much as two families in Verona, there are versions of the story across all cultures after all. And with the stories comes the inspired imagery, the music and the dance.
Maybe I have you convinced that art and music, culture and science, philosophy and story making are born out of religion, and it's well accepted that government rule and warfare are born out of religion and dispute between religions.
So I ask what else can or should we take from religion and since it has such a power over our lives should we consider what our new religions have become, and how to moderate them so their damaging effects can be limited and their potential maximized.