First off I'm new here! Ok... Congratulate me later... I'm very amused at trying to figure out the exact origin of religion, and it's purpose. It seems to me that understanding its origin lends a bit to fully comprehending its function in societies. And as much as I know some of the more militant atheists would love to argue that religion serves no function, I'd have to point out that to the contrary because every major society has its own unique religion, it's served some purpose to the societies.
I've noticed about every form of religion, it does in fact seem to convey the society's morals. This really fascinates me, because religion I know is not a prerequisite for morality. In fact I think because most moral philosophy shares some commonalities, it may be more influenced more by human nature. As an example, most religions strictly advise against murder, a moral code that never seems to extend too far outside the society. I'd point out that both the Bible and the Q'uran have "though shalt not kill" laws. Two cultures that lived by this rule it seems would be bussom buddies. But history tells us this is a very poor assumption, as these "peaceful" cultures are actually bitter enemies at various points in time. Point being, these "moral" codes aren't taken literally. I think they that behaviorally, moral codes serve the function of strengthening group ties. These niceties aren't meant to be extended outside of tribes, and in reality and history they never have been. I think it can be exemplified by this quote from Pirates of the Caribbean as spoken by Captain Barbosa to Elizabeth Turner "First, you have to be a pirate to parley. Second, their not rules... Their more like guidelines." Now, on top of the society leaders dealing out punishment for undesirable behaviors, toss in an all seeing all powerful entity that deals punishment to individuals not only in this world but a theoretical next life as well.
Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.
Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.