No one really knows how religion began. Traces of ritual date back at least 40,000 years but for early religions, their roots remain an anthropological mystery. Modern theory goes so far as to suggest that there is actually a “god gene” that pre-disposes humanity to spiritual revelation. One thing is certain; every culture has some form of deity worship. From Tasmania to the Andes and from remote islands to the cradles of civilization, religion has found fertile ground in the human imagination.
Once upon a time in a land bounded by forests, there lived a clan of simple people. Their main food source was the stag. To pay respect to the stag they painted its picture on cave walls. In gratitude for giving of its life force to sustain theirs, they celebrated its existence by wearing its antlers and clothing themselves in its hide. There were times when the stag was plentiful and times when it could not be found. Life was a basic crap shoot.
Over time, one very observant clan member figured out the migration route of the stag. He told his people where they should hunt and when. To their astonishment, he was right. Out of gratitude for his prophecies, this man was given an extra portion of the kill. He became known as the “Stagman” and the largest of head ornaments and the finest of skins were given to him for his service. Several clan members wanted to learn his ways and the source of his knowledge. He took them on as apprentices. Stagman and his inner circle were often asked for advice on other clan matters and they became a source of power and leadership. One season the stag did not appear as was foretold. The clan began to complain since the winter would see empty bellies. To save face, Stagman actually blamed the people for the poor hunt. He said that their offerings to him and his inner circle were too meager and that the people had missed the mark in their showing of gratitude. It was for this reason that the stag did not come as usual. None knew that wolves had entered the forest and were taking a growing share of the stag.
Stagman demanded that the clan conduct certain rituals and fasting if they wanted the return of the stag. Little did they know that one of the inner circle had spotted a pack of wolves and Stagman now knew why the hunt was sparse. He told the people to give him a greater share of their wealth and that he would make the stag appear in greater numbers. In the meantime, his little band of followers went on the hunt and killed the wolves. Soon, the stag appeared in greater numbers and the clan decided that their leader had some mysterious relationship with them. It was in this way that Stagman and his group became the most powerful of the clan members. Gratitude and respect was given to him rather than the stag and the relationship of the clan and nature was forever altered.
Can you see how religion may have had its start? This same scenario may have been repeated regarding the life giving flow of rivers and their flooding that created rich farm land. The one who figured out the cycle became a powerful and often revered leader. Is this how it happened? It is possible. It is also possible that a Universal creative force pervades all of existence and the bond between that force and its creation can never be severed. The problem is that over time, people looked to leaders for answers and forgot the stag and forgot the creative force.
If you Google “list of gods” you will find hundreds of deities and religions and each lays claim to the truth. Even within Christianity there are least 120 sects or denominations that have their own ceremonies and rituals. Over the millennia these religions have been able to fine tune their show and to impose strict rules and observances for their followers. When things went wrong it was easy to create a demon to blame or to find fault with the people or those who were not faithful. In all likelihood, most religions started as a way of looking at and explaining life, but with the passage of time, the message became consumed by the institution and its preservation became more important than early truths.
Every now and then an avatar would come along and try to steer people back to the fundamental laws of the Universe. These avatars were either killed or their teaching transformed into a new religion. So what does all of this have to do with you? Basically, your religious programming has been fine tuned over thousands of years. Any religion worth its salt has figured how to counter dissent and how to answer the most probing of questions. Of course, when there was no logical answer, it was very easy to eliminate the blasphemer. It is not my intent to present a history of religion or even to explore the depths of their teachings. Suffice it to say, the game has been stacked against you, at least until now.