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The Roots of Religion


Genevieve Von Petzinger




A PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Victoria, Genevieve Von Petzinger's main area of interest is understanding the geometric imagery of European Ice Age rock art and how we can use this type of behavior to identify cognitive and symbolic evolution in modern humans.


We live in a world that is absolutely infused with religion and spirituality, sometimes even to the point where maybe we don't recognize that it affects everything from something as simple as the holidays we celebrate, to the names that we give our children, to something much more really saddening and sort of disheartening, which is finding a conflict on the other side of the world somewhere, I mean, any given day, somewhere, somebody is fighting about spirituality and religion. So let's take a look at how this all plays out then on a global scale, depending on who you talk to, there's about 20 major world religions.

So these are ones that are more than one country more than one continent. Add to that hundreds of belief systems and out of the seven, who live on this planet at this point in time, just under 6 billion profess to follow some sort of face. Now, I want you to try and imagine a world with no religion. What would it look like? Because that is the reality is if we go far enough back into our own deep history, there was a time maybe not with homosapien maybe further back where we didn't have any religion. So as you can see in the slide behind me, that's a very simplified evolutionary chart.

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