If the entire 14 billion year lifetime of our universe was laid out in one calendar year, homo sapiens would have existed for 6 seconds.
What I’m saying is we’ve been around for only 0.00000019% of the universe’s entire life span.
That’s the blink of an eye.
Keep that in mind. We’re a very, very young species.
50,000 years ago, evolution began accelerating quickly for the human race.
Oral language became our primary source of communication. It was the start of building significant relationships between animals and our first steps on the road towards 1+1=3.
We started producing art and music, creative outlets for our growing brains. This meant following our curiosity and experimenting in different mediums.
And then there was religion.
How did that become a staple of the human race?
Let’s talk about some of the biggest questions our ancestors had and the answers we know as fact today:
1. What controlled the seasonal cycles of nature — the daily motion of the sun; the motion of the stars, the passing of the seasons, etc?
The Earth’s tilt, axial rotation, and rotation around the sun can explain all of these phenomena. It’s basic astrophysics.
2. What controlled their environment — what or who caused floods, rains, dry spells, storms, etc?
These are all the result of the atmosphere responding to uneven heating of the Earth by the Sun. The uneven heating causes temperature differences, which in turn cause air currents (wind) to develop. The atmosphere thus becomes a giant “heat engine,” continuously driven by the Sun. High and low pressure areas, wind, clouds, and precipitation systems are all caused, either directly or indirectly, by this uneven heating and the resulting heat redistribution processes.
3. What controls fertility — of the tribe, its domesticated animals, and its crops?
Our modern understanding of anatomy and agriculture is more than enough to explain the capability of animals to reproduce and our ability to grow crops on a large scale.
4. What system of morality is needed to best promote the stability of the tribe?
50,000 years ago, our ancestors lived in an extremely unstable environment. Religion gave us the first moral compass to live by with the hope of bringing about success for the tribe. Today, many humans have 1000 layers of stability regardless of religious belief, so it’s far from a necessity for those of us with basic means.
5. And above all else: what happens to a person after they die?
I admit — there’s no current science that fully explains what happens when people leave this world. It’s scary, and unknown, so people believe in Heaven and Hell because those stories are easier to believe than not knowing the truth.
2,300 years ago, we thought the earth was flat.
Not today. We know better.
120 years ago, we didn’t know what an atom was.
Today, we’re smashing subatomic particles together to find evidence of the Higgs boson and prove how exactly matter exists.
Someday, the human race will know what happens to us when we die. We’ll have scientific proof of what the afterlife really looks like.
And when that day comes, the “beliefs” some of us had before will be laid to rest.
Arguing against what happens after life will be like arguing against gravity.
Religion was our predecessors’ way to understand, explain and control what they didn’t have the capacity to.
But today, we can understand, explain and control what was a mystery to them.
Religion derived from our fear of the unknown.
But today, we can see clearly. And as science continues to advance, our clarity as it relates to the unknown will only become more apparent.
Evolution happens when beings transition from simple to complex.
In the future, we’ll look back at our predecessors in the 21st century with amusement.
What simple creatures we were.