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Earth without religions?

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How would our sociaty and planet would look like without religions.

Would some bad things not exist like the world wars .

Would we have our life like we see it now exist.

Post your answers .

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Everyone would be gay

Everyone would be having abortions

Everyone would think evolution was real

Everyone would think climate change was real

The world would be fiery chaos

(I was joking, calm down Mike Pence)

(On second thought, fuck you Mike Pence)

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22 minutes ago, Nova said:

Christians,Islam, Jewish religions.

Well, the Sikh religion would never arise, because it was a mixing of hindu and christianity that was triggered by the muslim mughal/timurid empires, most likely everyone would be pagan of some sort.

Probably Tengri, the religion of the Mongols, because I highly doubt the pagan states of Europe would have survived them without the Roman Catholic Church keeping as much of the roman empire alive as it did (especially with the sponsoring of Charlemagne and the Frankish Empire that later became the HRE.)

Possibly a lot more buddhists, as buddhism spread into mongol territories almost as much as Islam did.

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Those would be the Abrahamic religions, there are others. If you're going to make it all religions, then you have to deal with certain philosophies because the boundaries are not so clear as simply saying religion means the existence of God. For instance, Confuciousism and Shinto would not be religions under that definition. Neither would the Atheistic flavors of Judaism and Catholicism, though they have more in common with religion than atheism.

Either way, religion, Abrahamic or not, has strongly influenced the underpinning of our civilization that people rarely see. Without it, our civilization would not be recognizable. I would expect organized societies to be extremely practical and focused on collective survival, with more primitive ones never being able to break away from self-gratification. Wars certainly would exist, but then materialistic philosophies don't very well prepare you to give mercy when it doesn't benefit you.

Also, this venue is probably not tolerant enough to sustain a real conversation about religion for very long.

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It really would be impossible to with any certainty say what Earth and humanity would look like without religion, as it has played such a central role in the development of human society throughout history and prehistory.

What we know as settled human society may never have occurred at all without early systems of region and belief. The first human monuments and structures were all built for spiritual purposes, and the first "specialists" of human society were priests. Religion provided the impetus for hunter-gatherer communities to come together in larger groups and eventually form more permanent settlements, so it is possible that without religion acting as the draw for a more settled lifestyle and larger communities, humanity would ahve continued to be simple hunter-gatherers.

As to the Abrahamic religions, certainly more recent inventions than the concept of religion as a whole, it is still impossible to say what human society would look like without them. By only removing these religions, it becomes impossible to say what post-Roman Europe and the Middle East would look like. It is likely the Western Roman Empire would still have fallen, but the Dark Ages might have been quite a bit darker and longer without the work of both Christian and Muslim monks and scholars, who preserved much of the knowledge of Greece and Rome in unstable and uncertain times. The Renaissance also largely occurred as a result of the Crusades, with Christian knights encountering goods and ideas in the middle East that they brought back to Europe, sparking trade and innovation in various fields.

So, basically, without religion in general human society would be unrecognizable, if it existed at all. Without the Abrahamic religions, the Western world would certainly be unrecognizable, with it possible that the West may never have risen to dominate the world by the 17th and 18th centuries.

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14 minutes ago, Osrik said:

It really would be impossible to with any certainty say what Earth and humanity would look like without religion, as it has played such a central role in the development of human society throughout history and prehistory.

What we know as settled human society may never have occurred at all without early systems of region and belief. The first human monuments and structures were all built for spiritual purposes, and the first "specialists" of human society were priests. Religion provided the impetus for hunter-gatherer communities to come together in larger groups and eventually form more permanent settlements, so it is possible that without religion acting as the draw for a more settled lifestyle and larger communities, humanity would ahve continued to be simple hunter-gatherers.

As to the Abrahamic religions, certainly more recent inventions than the concept of religion as a whole, it is still impossible to say what human society would look like without them. By only removing these religions, it becomes impossible to say what post-Roman Europe and the Middle East would look like. It is likely the Western Roman Empire would still have fallen, but the Dark Ages might have been quite a bit darker and longer without the work of both Christian and Muslim monks and scholars, who preserved much of the knowledge of Greece and Rome in unstable and uncertain times. The Renaissance also largely occurred as a result of the Crusades, with Christian knights encountering goods and ideas in the middle East that they brought back to Europe, sparking trade and innovation in various fields.

So, basically, without religion in general human society would be unrecognizable, if it existed at all. Without the Abrahamic religions, the Western world would certainly be unrecognizable, with it possible that the West may never have risen to dominate the world by the 17th and 18th centuries.

I'm sure some of it would be recognizable. Agriculture was mostly founded to make booze, if I'm reading the history of humankind right :3c

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Humans are always searching for meaning in something. Before any humans decided to worship deities, they worshipped their ancestors.

If humans never believed in a God, they'd believe in something else that's supernatural. People want to believe they exist on purpose, and that death isn't the end of the line.

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I sincerely believe that if humans stopped looking beyond the world they have they might just be able to focus on what matters.

 

Here, for example, people take hours out of the week and collect millions of dollars to do what is, in my opinion, a complete waste of time. Those resources could very easily go to actually building a better world for others.

 

Uganda would not be hating on lgbtq without christianity, local populaces would not be as fooled into extremist groups like boko haram or isis, russia and the us would not be filled with vast amounts of hate.......

 

Honestly, I wish we lived in a world without religions, it is my sincerest view that humanity needs to focus on the here and now.

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4 hours ago, DrDingo said:

If humans never believed in a God, they'd believe in something else that's supernatural. People want to believe they exist on purpose, and that death isn't the end of the line.

Doesn't religion technically define as believing in something (anything) supernatural. 

I imagine that if humans never had the will to believe in something imaginary that could explain contemporarily unexplainable, people would think "I don't understand it" and that's it. Everyone would be an atheist. They might be more afraid to do some things because we humans generally have a fear of unknown but we also have a redeeming quality for it; curiosity, which could nudge us to seek an explanation for phenomenons we don't understand, thus leading to an earlier more rational society where religious community no longer deters the philosophers and scientists from being rational. Without religion, people would be more skeptical of the things but would be more unlikely to denounce people for their scientific discoveries, calling them a blasphemy against a set of traditional rules founded by religion. 

However, religion has also done a lot of good to us, instead of merely acting as a roadblock to science. For centuries, it has provided happiness and comfort for people when materialistic things aren't enough to satisfy them. For poor and unfortunate people especially, religion was an important concept to survive their every day life. Without it, people would be constantly trying to find ways to improve their life, to escape depressing misery that is poverty. It would create a hyper competitive society (take this with a grain of salt) where your materialistic possessions are what matters the most, much like in our western society. 

Aside from US, the wealthy and developed western countries typically have a high proportion of its population as atheists. The competition is high there, especially on the job market. This competition could fuel innovation, hard working and grant us civil rights but could also lead to wars, civil unrest and increased depression and suicide rates. A world where we constantly seek to explain things by observation and empirical testing and a world where there is no hope added by religion would be a very advanced and developed society for those who did not get oppressed by more competitive nations but not necessarily the happiest

Without a doubt, the impact of the lack religion would be the greatest the further we go in history. Medieval ages (for example) would be a whole lot different because it would lack an organized religion that gained so much power it could even rule over earthly affairs, such as sending the crusades and ordering the inquisition of the non-endorsed religions. The events of Europeans settling to America might have been delayed because in this world, religion played a large role in settling overseas. People wanted to escape religious theocracy and practice their own ideas. Maybe in an alternative world without religions, people would have fled to Americas due to their ideological differences, e.g how a government should be run instead of religious reasons. In both worlds however, people would have escaped poverty, crowdedness and competition by traveling overseas. 

The Islamic world might not have ever seen its golden age without a common religion unifying their empires. Hindu society wouldn't be so tolerant of other ethnicities and ideals without having multiple religious beliefs clashing together. Christians maybe wouldn't have had so many wars due to religious reasons (holy war) and many wonders of the world would have left unbuilt, such as pyramids of Egypt (gigantic tombs for pharaohs so that their afterlife was guaranteed), Hagia Sophia, many great cathedrals and basilicas, Parthenon  etc. 

Basically, rationality would have triumphed throughout the eras and our history would look totally different as materialistic concepts and ideas have taken over the world

7 hours ago, Osrik said:

What we know as settled human society may never have occurred at all without early systems of region and belief. The first human monuments and structures were all built for spiritual purposes, and the first "specialists" of human society were priests. Religion provided the impetus for hunter-gatherer communities to come together in larger groups and eventually form more permanent settlements, so it is possible that without religion acting as the draw for a more settled lifestyle and larger communities, humanity would have continued to be simple hunter-gatherers.

As far I am concerned, lack of religion wouldn't have stopped us from transitioning from hunter gatherer societies to settled society's for one simple reason: Agriculture. It was much safer option to settle in and farm fertile land than to try your lack with hunting and foraging, especially in the cradles of civilizations, the flood plain areas of Egypt, Eufrat, Tigris, Indus and arguably the Yellow River in China, where there wasnt much prey but the land was perfect for cultivating crops, which could consistently provide enough (albeit low variety of) food for even large families. Even in this world, one thing always comes before religion: Our survival and one of the basic requirements for survival is food

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I often think about how Syria wouldn't be shitting all over the place and Israel wouldn't be whining and leeching off everybody if religion stopped existing

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I really feel like with anything, religion just needs to be handled appropriately. Religion doesn't just have to be something really hardcore, fundamentalist, or extremist. Religion for many is a very powerful coping mechanism. A little bit of faith keeps some people going. 

My mother is having a very difficult time now. She always has. But the belief that the Lord has a plan for her is what keeps her doing her best. It sounds naive, but who cares if it's keeping her productive, if she's not in a depressive funk, if she's still trying. We all have things that keep us happy and willing to continue. And I think that it's fair to consider that aspect for the religious.

Religion has it's dark history, but I don't think it's inherently negative. It's all up to interpretation which is 100% on the individual. I don't think religion needs to go anywhere. I think people need to view  and practice it healthier.

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Yeah but your religion pisses me off and shouldn't exist

im handling my religion appropriately

 

"it's up to interpretation"

except it isn't. The holy books were written by real people, what they mean is as clear as day.

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My first guess is that a world sans religion would suggest that early humans felt it better not to question why and how the things around them happen or came to be. Should that be the case, I sincerely doubt we'd have gotten much of anywhere.

2 hours ago, Snagged Cub said:

As far I am concerned, lack of religion wouldn't have stopped us from transitioning from hunter gatherer societies to settled society's for one simple reason: Agriculture. It was much safer option to settle in and farm fertile land than to try your lack with hunting and foraging, especially in the cradles of civilizations, the flood plain areas of Egypt, Eufrat, Tigris, Indus and arguably the Yellow River in China, where there wasnt much prey but the land was perfect for cultivating crops, which could consistently provide enough (albeit low variety of) food for even large families. Even in this world, one thing always comes before religion: Our survival and one of the basic requirements for survival is food

I'm not quite sure one can say religion and spirituality didn't play a part in the development of agriculture. I'm not actually sure there is any academic that has presented a widely-accepted explanation of the rise of agriculture.

As it is, though, many ancient mythologies are tied closely to the rise of agriculture and have aided in the modern understanding of how agriculture came about.

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11 minutes ago, MalletFace said:

I'm not quite sure one can say religion and spirituality didn't play a part in the development of agriculture.

You have misunderstood me. I did not mean to imply religion/pantheons didn't play influence in the forming of agrarian societies. I meant to say that even our ancestors would have settled in place without needing religion for aid, assuming they went opposite to your expectation where they would question things. 

How our ancestors somewhere in 4000BC would have reacted to unexplainable things (plentiful of those) is up to archeologists, psychologists and anthropologists to ponder but since we don't have any hard evidence, we can only speculate 

 

14 minutes ago, MalletFace said:

As it is, though, many ancient mythologies are tied closely to the rise of agriculture and have aided in the modern understanding of how agriculture came about

True. But I'd dare to say they are not exclusively bound together. 

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I think it would be kinda worst. I think laws like those based on murders,theft and such are kinda based on religion. I think if there was no religion,there wouldn't be any sort of moral code,like thou shalt not kill.

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Religion is an inevitable result of being human. It's an expression of what sets us apart from animals, namely our ability to try and make sense of the world around us, both what is material and what is abstract. If you want the world to be rid of religion, I think you're going to have to change something fundamental in humans.

If you mean the abrahamic religions on their own I'd say that culture changes with the wind, and it has done for millenia and it will continue to be that way forever. Religion isn't just about deities, but it is about ideas -- the way people have faith in certain theories, figures, and even ideologies and philosophies. People often aren't wrong when they compare certain people and their worldviews to religious behaviour. I think the memes that different cultures uphold are an expression of something inherent in the kind of people that helped to create it, so no matter what, you will always have placid optimists, barbaric zealots, apathetic individualists, and slave morality, but all with different coatings.

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8 hours ago, Gamedog said:

Yeah but your religion pisses me off and shouldn't exist

im handling my religion appropriately

 

"it's up to interpretation"

except it isn't. The holy books were written by real people, what they mean is as clear as day.

Everyone I've met who is religious picks and chooses what parts of their religion to live by that suits their ideals. Instead of following everything absolutely.

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26 minutes ago, Tsuujou said:

Everyone I've met who is religious picks and chooses what parts of their religion to live by that suits their ideals. Instead of following everything absolutely.

And this exact thing is what permits sexist, homophobic religions to flourish 

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59 minutes ago, Gamedog said:

And this exact thing is what permits sexist, homophobic religions to flourish 

Yup. That's why I said it's up to the individual to practice it healthier and that it doesn't have to be treated in a fundamentalist or extremist way. That's what I mean by interpretations. People tend to cherry pick their respective religions. For good and unfortunately bad.

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48 minutes ago, Tsuujou said:

Yup. That's why I said it's up to the individual to practice it healthier and that it doesn't have to be treated in a fundamentalist or extremist way. That's what I mean by interpretations. People tend to cherry pick their respective religions. For good and unfortunately bad.

In that case why belong to any religions at all, when you can learn a thing or two from many religions by reading their stories instead and pick out what you like.

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Just now, WileyWarWeasel said:

In that case why belong to any religions at all, when you can learn a thing or two from many religions by reading their stories instead and pick out what you like.

That is how Wicca got its start, iirc. Dude basically picked and chose from all the pagan religions he knew about, and then invented some stuff :3c

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1 minute ago, LadyRadarEars said:

That is how Wicca got its start, iirc. Dude basically picked and chose from all the pagan religions he knew about, and then invented some stuff :3c

Doesn't sound too bad, as long as you don't take their stories seriously ^^

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6 minutes ago, WileyWarWeasel said:

In that case why belong to any religions at all, when you can learn a thing or two from many religions by reading their stories instead and pick out what you like.

Don't ask me. lol
I'm an atheist. Idc enough to think critically on this beside seeing from other peoples perspective. :y
Well, attempt to anyway.  

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5 hours ago, axelthefox said:

I think it would be kinda worst. I think laws like those based on murders,theft and such are kinda based on religion. I think if there was no religion,there wouldn't be any sort of moral code,like thou shalt not kill.

We existed as a species long before someone sat down and wrote "Thou shalt not kill" as we know it today.

The idea that we only don't kill each other because we're afraid of retribution in the afterlife is one part terrifying and like six parts depressing. Do you really think so little of humanity that that's all it takes?

We don't need a deity to tell us that killing is wrong.

 

As to the thread itself, the hypothetical is so vast that I can't even picture it.

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14 minutes ago, Tsuujou said:

Don't ask me. lol
I'm an atheist. Idc enough to think critically on this beside seeing from other peoples perspective. :y
Well, attempt to anyway.  

The stories in religions are just like any other fiction, there's occasionally something to be taken from them.

That being said I haven't bothered to read many religious texts either ^^

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16 hours ago, Conker said:

We existed as a species long before someone sat down and wrote "Thou shalt not kill" as we know it today.

The idea that we only don't kill each other because we're afraid of retribution in the afterlife is one part terrifying and like six parts depressing. Do you really think so little of humanity that that's all it takes?

We don't need a deity to tell us that killing is wrong.

 

As to the thread itself, the hypothetical is so vast that I can't even picture it.

This is further backed up by the historical record; the first know code of law, the Code of Hammurabi, was created over 1000 years before the writing of the Torah, the basis of Western morality alongside the New Testament. While retributive, Though it makes brief mention of gods at the beginning, the code itself is not religious; it deals with crimes and punishments for dishonest business dealings as well as questions of morality like murder and thievery.

Religion is really not necessary in order to have laws and morality, as there is an obvious practical incentive for the members of any group to refrain from committing crimes against each other for simple reasons of unity and order. Once you have larger collections of settled people who may lack direct ties or relationships with each other, the need for a more formalized set of guidelines for behavior can again be seen as something practical for the preservation of unity and order.

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16 hours ago, WileyWarWeasel said:

The stories in religions are just like any other fiction, there's occasionally something to be taken from them.

That being said I haven't bothered to read many religious texts either ^^

You should, they're interesting ^~^

I have a collection of them and a bunch of esoteric stuff, really helps with worldbuilding when you're making a campaign setting :V

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21 minutes ago, Osrik said:

While retributive, Though it makes brief mention of gods at the beginning, the code itself is not religious; it deals with crimes and punishments for dishonest business dealings as well as questions of morality like murder and thievery.

The whole of the code is based on the stories of the Enuma Elish, and is really really religious.

For example, the second law - in the King translation - is,

Quote

If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

This is because Enki was like a guardian-ruler of humanity and the god of the underground sea. Because it was thought all freshwater originated in the underground sea, the river would have been a logical way to have Enki judge humanity. It would be a way to also allow Shamash, a god mentioned quite a bit in the prologue, to see to the guilty once Enki has decided that they are.

The rest of the laws reflect the ideas and lessons in the local mythology, too, even if they seem to be purely utilitarian. "If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water," as another example, makes sure women will maintain and stay loyal to a household even if she or her husband is being accused of a crime, but it also reflects the idea of Ninhursag creating Nanshe - and others - to heal her husband, Enki, despite Ninhursag knowing that Enki had broken a law.

As that is as it is, I would attribute early laws - and, by extension, morality, justice, and reason - being so closely tied to religion to ancient peoples attempting to address the inequality that existed in early societies. Those laws inherently benefit those that created them and the society they developed.

1 hour ago, Osrik said:

Religion is really not necessary in order to have laws and morality, as there is an obvious practical incentive for the members of any group to refrain from committing crimes against each other for simple reasons of unity and order. Once you have larger collections of settled people who may lack direct ties or relationships with each other, the need for a more formalized set of guidelines for behavior can again be seen as something practical for the preservation of unity and order.

That's part of the reason I think humanity would not have progressed much had religion never existed. If there had been no incentive to address the conflict arising from the birth of civilization, I would suggest that means there was no inequality, which means there was likely no civilization. I suggest religion was used to justify the order created in these unequal societies, but not the reason for the order or inequality.

One has to develop a new reasoning when religion can't be used to justify the inequality; social Darwinism being used to create and defend the Führerprinzip is a good example.

I'm using a really broad definition of religion, though. I would have to refine my point if a well-versed social constructivist felt like poking holes through my use of it.

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2 minutes ago, Hewge said:

We'd probably be in an advanced space age by now.

Well, I mean, its possible, but one of the reasons humans formed religions in the first place is because humans are curious about things and want to explain them. Even stone-age humans honored something with all the statuettes and such. If humans never questioned, or wanted to know why, or wanted something better, its equally possible that we'd never really get to the bronze age.

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10 minutes ago, Hewge said:

We'd probably be in an advanced space age by now.

Actually Religion is the reason why many scientists began their careers. Motivation through religion, to understand their god or his ideas, or something from the bible/holy text.

Also Religion so massively impacted the human race that it's likely that a world where religion had never existed would be radically different.

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We'd just find other reasons to be good and bad to each other. Glory for God is just a form of greed that lead to crusades, wars, terrible crimes. Love makes us be kind to others, the Christians are taught this as a most important belief - 'love thy neighbour'.

Without this religion stuff, we'd still find ways to express greed and love. The flags and cultures would be different sure, but we'd still be the same people inside.

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I've been thinking on it, and honestly my opinion is that religion contributes to complacency, not happiness.

 

When the desperate seek it it gives them a reason to accept the situation, not change it.

 

When the fat and happy seek it, it clouds them from the suffering around them......

 

My opinion, anyways.

 

 

Edit: 

To me there is an inherit selfishness to nearly all religions, they don't help you because they respect you as a person, they help you because they believe that, in the end, that will ensure them a good afterlife.

You shouldn't need to have to justify good actions with a book or a fear, thats simply weakness.

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2 hours ago, MalletFace said:

The whole of the code is based on the stories of the Enuma Elish, and is really really religious.

For example, the second law - in the King translation - is,

This is because Enki was like a guardian-ruler of humanity and the god of the underground sea. Because it was thought all freshwater originated in the underground sea, the river would have been a logical way to have Enki judge humanity. It would be a way to also allow Shamash, a god mentioned quite a bit in the prologue, to see to the guilty once Enki has decided that they are.

The rest of the laws reflect the ideas and lessons in the local mythology, too, even if they seem to be purely utilitarian. "If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water," as another example, makes sure women will maintain and stay loyal to a household even if she or her husband is being accused of a crime, but it also reflects the idea of Ninhursag creating Nanshe - and others - to heal her husband, Enki, despite Ninhursag knowing that Enki had broken a law.

As that is as it is, I would attribute early laws - and, by extension, morality, justice, and reason - being so closely tied to religion to ancient peoples attempting to address the inequality that existed in early societies. Those laws inherently benefit those that created them and the society they developed.

That's part of the reason I think humanity would not have progressed much had religion never existed. If there had been no incentive to address the conflict arising from the birth of civilization, I would suggest that means there was no inequality, which means there was likely no civilization. I suggest religion was used to justify the order created in these unequal societies, but not the reason for the order or inequality.

One has to develop a new reasoning when religion can't be used to justify the inequality; social Darwinism being used to create and defend the Führerprinzip is a good example.

I'm using a really broad definition of religion, though. I would have to refine my point if a well-versed social constructivist felt like poking holes through my use of it.

I don't really have the most extensive knowledge of ancient Babylonian religion, and didn't really realize how much their gods actually tied into Hammurabi's Code; I was basing my analysis off of the utilitarian language and practical topics that it covered. Thanks for clarifying this.

As to the inequalities that religion created in ancient civilizations, I tend to think that if the religious priesthood (and later rulers) had not risen to prominence with the the justification of religion, then something else likely would have been used as justification for the inequality between the ruler and the ruled. However, it is very hard to theorize with any confidence what human society would look like without any religion at all, as it is such a broad category to begin with, and even defining its boundaries is difficult.

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1 minute ago, Osrik said:

As to the inequalities that religion created in ancient civilizations, I tend to think that if the religious priesthood (and later rulers) had not risen to prominence with the the justification of religion, then something else likely would have been used as justification for the inequality between the ruler and the ruled.

I have a feeling it would have resembled religion, but it is hard not to call just about anything religion.

3 minutes ago, Osrik said:

However, it is very hard to theorize with any confidence what human society would look like without any religion at all, as it is such a broad category to begin with, and even defining its boundaries is difficult.

100% that. I can't think of a clearly-evidenced civilization that arose without religion, so I'd just read up on what anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, sociologists, and psychologists all tend towards agreement on or are really interested in if one really wishes to know.

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3 hours ago, MalletFace said:

If there had been no incentive to address the conflict arising from the birth of civilization, I would suggest that means there was no inequality, which means there was likely no civilization

Inequality can be as simple as being more talented at hunting or knowing better farming techniques, thus leading to greater materialistic possessions. You don't need religion for that. To further demonstrate, chimps have been observed to show signs of greed much like us

I do agree that a degree of inequality is required to form complex societies but the behavioral patterns of acting selfishly (and greedily) has been imprinted in our very genetic  code

3 hours ago, MalletFace said:

I suggest religion was used to justify the order created in these unequal societies, but not the reason for the order or inequality.

Perhaps that is true but I will still remain in my point that all this would be possible without a religion. Religion is an alternative. 

E.g members in a society that are in a high hierarchical position due to certain practical skills could demonstrate their usage of practical skills to the lower class members, thus earning their respect (or even make them fear) much like how priests demonstrated their understanding of the god(s) which seemed to make the most sense at the time in the absence of scientific progress

3 hours ago, MalletFace said:

As that is as it is, I would attribute early laws - and, by extension, morality, justice, and reason - being so closely tied to religion to ancient peoples attempting to address the inequality that existed in early societies. Those laws inherently benefit those that created them and the society they developed.

Because it is exactly what happened in history throughout the globe, thus we have no proof of what could have happened if we simply (or some of us) weren't religious

However, I do not claim to be right by myself either because I sort of shot my own ankle with that statement; There is no proof what could have happened in non-religious societies due to religion being so integral part of us, even today for most

---

As for Hammurabi's law, it was mixed with religious and practical elements to make it more easily understandable for the common folk and to give them further incentives to obey the law for the god(s) will reward a good person and punishes baddies. Perhaps at the time the ruling class (aristocracy) couldn't have possibly enforced the laws efficiently enough, leading to smaller tightly knit communities where it is easier to monitor each others' activities with your own eyes. The codifying of the laws themselves were for practical reasons and benefited everyone for what is there to stop your neighbour killing you for the sake of killing without a law in place? 

I do confess religion could have helped to enforce the corporeal laws and our civilization could be technologically and socially hundreds of years back due to lack of large empires with communication networks where exchange of ideas is very difficult and discouraged (the most basic networks being dirt roads) 

But I am still uncertain if religion was absolute requisite for effective law and order enforcement. I do claim that the reason for law and order does exist without religion. The first society to become 100% atheist nowadays would still have its own set of rules

However, the said society still wouldn't give an answer to OP's question because they have the scientific concepts to explain things for them, whereas our long gone ancestors didn't have a whole lot of scientific knowledge, depending on how far you go back in history. Creating such circumstances in modern day would be very difficult and unethical. Even raising a children to be completely non-religious, away from the rest of the civilization and raised by wolves (or by parent(s) who have sworn to tell only facts about proven by science) would be nigh impossible simply due to to our nature. Some things kids don't understand are explained with their imagination, such as trying to figure out who is that mysterious figure who keeps bringing presents under a pine tree every Christmas day. Unless a child catches his/her parents straight on act, the chances are they will say "it was the Santa Claus" instead of saying the more likely option "It was probably my parents" so... shrug

 

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4 hours ago, Snagged Cub said:

Inequality can be as simple as being more talented at hunting or knowing better farming techniques, thus leading to greater materialistic possessions. You don't need religion for that. To further demonstrate, chimps have been observed to show signs of greed much like us

I do agree that a degree of inequality is required to form complex societies but the behavioral patterns of acting selfishly (and greedily) has been imprinted in our very genetic  code

Perhaps that is true but I will still remain in my point that all this would be possible without a religion. Religion is an alternative. 

E.g members in a society that are in a high hierarchical position due to certain practical skills could demonstrate their usage of practical skills to the lower class members, thus earning their respect (or even make them fear) much like how priests demonstrated their understanding of the god(s) which seemed to make the most sense at the time in the absence of scientific progress

Because it is exactly what happened in history throughout the globe, thus we have no proof of what could have happened if we simply (or some of us) weren't religious

 

Well the problem is meritocracy is fairly complex. At best you'd get civilizations arising from warrior-kings who come to the top because they are better at killing everyone else, ala orks from 40k. If you have a world without something to build a moral code on, and don't fundamentally change how humans also operate, then there's a large chance that a society that would support meritocracy and develop advanced, mostly atheistic philosophical moral codes (like classical greece) might not even form.

Then again one might pop up by accident, who knows!

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10 hours ago, LadyRadarEars said:

You should, they're interesting ^~^

I have a collection of them and a bunch of esoteric stuff, really helps with worldbuilding when you're making a campaign setting :V

Hmm they could indeed be useful for drawing inspiration for other stories.

 

9 hours ago, Feelwell the Rabbit said:

Actually Religion is the reason why many scientists began their careers. Motivation through religion, to understand their god or his ideas, or something from the bible/holy text.

Also Religion so massively impacted the human race that it's likely that a world where religion had never existed would be radically different.

Since people love images so much:

2367208700747211cfbf82d3acaecf04.jpg

54 minutes ago, LadyRadarEars said:

Well the problem is meritocracy is fairly complex. At best you'd get civilizations arising from warrior-kings who come to the top because they are better at killing everyone else, ala orks from 40k.

Scroll down to "Other Spending Priorities"; the report is from 1998 but it shows we're not so different ^^

http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending#Spendingforpeacevsspendingforwar

"

These issues have been of concern for a number of years. For example, consider this from 1998:

The illegal international drugs trade is estimated to be worth more than $400 billion, coming second only to military expenditure.

And consider the following, reflecting world priorities:

Global Priority$U.S. Billions

Cosmetics in the United States8

Ice cream in Europe11

Perfumes in Europe and the United States12

Pet foods in Europe and the United States17

Business entertainment in Japan35

Cigarettes in Europe50

Alcoholic drinks in Europe105

Narcotics drugs in the world400

Military spending in the world780

"

 

If anyone has more up-to-date statistics please post them.

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On 13/11/2016 at 2:14 AM, Sir Gibby said:

Religion is an inevitable result of being human. It's an expression of what sets us apart from animals, namely our ability to try and make sense of the world around us, both what is material and what is abstract. If you want the world to be rid of religion, I think you're going to have to change something fundamental in humans.

If you mean the abrahamic religions on their own I'd say that culture changes with the wind, and it has done for millenia and it will continue to be that way forever. Religion isn't just about deities, but it is about ideas -- the way people have faith in certain theories, figures, and even ideologies and philosophies. People often aren't wrong when they compare certain people and their worldviews to religious behaviour. I think the memes that different cultures uphold are an expression of something inherent in the kind of people that helped to create it, so no matter what, you will always have placid optimists, barbaric zealots, apathetic individualists, and slave morality, but all with different coatings.

Ritualistic and superstitious behaviour can be cultivated in animals, such as pigeons (in the famous 'superstitious pigeons experiment, whereby pigeons began to perform complex ritualistic dances because they erroneously thought it would cause the delivery of their food, which was actually delivered at intervals, regardless of the pigeons' actions): .

So maybe human religion isn't entirely peculiar to us, but is an elabouration of a seed of this behaviour, which already existed in other animals?

I agree with you that superstitious behaviour, if it really is fundamental to human -or perhaps more widely animal- cognition, is never really going to disappear in full.

 

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