“… and fear Allah, so that you may prosper” the Qur’an (2:189)
An estimated 84% of the world’s population attach themselves to one religion or the other. 16% of the world’s population do not. Even some of them may not be Atheists. Just does not like institutionalised religion.
The Encyclopedia of Religion describes religion in the following way:
- “In summary, it may be said that almost every known culture involves the religious in the above sense of a depth dimension in cultural experiences at all levels — a push, whether ill-defined or conscious, toward some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life. When more or less distinct patterns of behaviour are built around this depth dimension in a culture, this structure constitutes religion in its historically recognizable form. Religion is the organization of life around the depth dimensions of experience — varied in form, completeness, and clarity in accordance with the environing culture.”
I would like to interpret it in a different manner. Every culture that had a religious element in it, must have had an edge over the others. In the beginning of human history there must have been both religious and non-religious groups. The religious had some advantages over non-religious. They prospered. Religion gives them hope when there is (apparently) no hope, and it keeps them cautious when (apparently) there is nothing to fear. That made them the fittest. And the fittest survived.
We all come from a single couple. Adam and Eve (yes, that’s where science has to converge, if not now, it will in future, but let it take it’s own course). Something set Adam and Eve apart from all their competitors.
I would suggest: it was religion.
They were the first among religious.