Paul Vander Klay
August 11, 2011
Interesting. I'd never thought about the implications of "faith" coming before agriculture. Not sure this finding entirelyÂ substantiatesÂ that we are a worshipping animal, but it does raise some great questions.
To say that the "religious impulse" was THE foundation of civilization seems as speculative as any other offering on the subject. But why does everything we say or do have to imbue our specied with some evolutionary advantage? Maybe its a random side effect. Or, maybe we have a religious impulse because there is a God who made all that is, seen and unseen.
In a sort of parallel way, the work of Jonathan Haidt echoes this, particularly the work around <a href="http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/haidt11/haidt11_index.html" rel="nofollow">"tribal moral communities."</a> As he explains:<br><br><blockquote>We humans qualify as being ultrasocial. We live <br>together in very large groups of hundreds or thousands or millions, with<br> a massive division of labor and a willingness to sacrifice for the <br>group. But how do we do it? What's our trick? Clearly we don't suppress <br>breeding and concentrate it in one queen or one breeding couple.<br> Our trick is very different, Our evolved <br>trick is our ability to forge a team by circling around sacred objects <br>& principles.</blockquote><br><br>Religion -- the sacred -- links human society and causes it to flourish, both anthropologically, and as Haidt goes on to elaborate, in academic circles as well. In a social psychological sort of way he confirms Augustine's observation.
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