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The Roots of Religion

Genevieve Von Petzinger | 19:33


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. 

But it's a question that people in my field of paleoanthropology have asked how far back does the religious impulse go? And how the heck would you get it that I mean, it's incredibly subjective, right. So obviously, homo sapien at the top. We know that homosapien have religion, that's us. But what about heidelbergensis before us and erectus and all the way back to Homo Habilis? You know, Homo habilis 2.5 million years ago, they're considered to be a good candidate for the original toolmakers. And you might wonder, tools, religion, what do these potentially have in common. But if you actually think about what a cognitive leap making tools is, there are some things in common.

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