Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man. -- Saint Ignatius of Loyola

My guess at how religion started

Billboard Here's the problem religion solves:
You can get your kids to do what you want while you're watching but how do you get them to do what you want when you're not watching?
To solve this problem, you tell them that there's somebody else who's watching and knows what they do all the time and even knows what they think, someone who knows every move they make and will reward or punish them.

Well, if you think parents wouldn't make stuff up and tell their kids stuff when they know it isn't true, what about Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Boogie Man, Big Bad Wolf - aren't these all ways to control children? If that doesn't convince you, push a cart around a grocery store a while and listen to what people are telling their children.

Parents talk to each other sharing things like how to keep the kids in line. Kids talk to each other sharing things like what their parents told them and then they tell their parents what the other kids told them. Is it surprising that the various stories become the same over time? Is it surprising that some kids mature still believing the stories their parents told them? After all, there is no way for them to check it out. But, actually that has little to do with it. You see, the kids grow up and then they have kids and they want to be able to tell the same story. They want to believe it! Besides, they become parents before they are done being kids. There's never a time for their parent to say, "Now you are grown up. I have something to tell you".

Think about this: How many people do you know who started going to chuch when they had children?


We have a case of the deception being well documented and yet it works anyway. American slave-holders taught their slaves Christianity. It's no secret that this was done to make them better slaves. No, it was not to save their souls - slave-holders thought that slaves did not have souls. All of that is well understood, simply a part of our history. It was part of the mess all this caused that resulted in there being a separate "Southern" Baptist church. Now 200 years later, what is the most popular religion among descendants of those slaves? You guessed it - Christianity. Here are millions of Americans who can easily look at the origin of their religion and see that it's a sham. The Southern Baptist church even apologized a few years ago. How many black members did that cost them? Not even one, it seems.

But, wait! There's more! What about the slave-holders? How seriously do you think they took their religion if they told soulless animals to act out the rituals of worshiping their god. Apparently they didn't really believe. If they did, wouldn't they think their god would be angry at them for using fake acts of worship to control their slaves? - for lying to their slaves, telling them they could have life after death? Remember, they thought slaves did not have souls. That's what made it okay to treat them like animals. But, is it okay to lie to your dog, for example, to call him in for food and not give him food? So just like the first parent that ever told a child that somebody up there was watching, these slave-holders didn't believe.

There was even a Bible specially edited for slaves. It included the parts the slaveholders wanted the slaves to know about but not other parts that might give slaves ideas about fredom. Here is something about it and here is more.