In short, no. We don’t.
Since man (and women!) became aware and thoughtful, the desire to explain what we see has been ever-present. From a running river to the sun rising and setting, a constant need for knowledge has driven our success, not only as an apex predator and “ruler of the earth”, but a creator, a thinker and inventor and a lover. As time progressed, and our knowledge increased exponentially, the individual riddles for which we demanded explanation decreased in number – we now know why the sun sets in the west, why an apple falls to the earth, and that earthquakes, lightning and devastating floods are not the vengeful wrath of “God”.
Such questions would have pointed to a super-being in times past, an original designer who made the earth from scratch and carefully constructed every single beautiful living thing around us. Once an explanation, scientifically backed, is available, the need for this super-being is no more.
In the year 4011 (presuming we haven’t destroyed ourselves by then), the need for explanations will have reduced even further (unless space/time travel opens a whole new can of worms in this regard). We will, going by previous trends, have even less mysteries in our life to which we must attach some form of reasons, because we are loathe to admit “we don’t know”.
Traditionally, the default position when something is beyond human’s current ability to comprehend is “well, there must be a God – how else could this have happened?”. As we develop not only our mental capacity, but our scientific and technological abilities and understanding, there will, in my opinion, be no more questions regarding our existence, save the origin of the universe itself. This will most likely never be fully explained, as human nature is to destroy what it creates, and so the time and development necessary for such knowledge must be in the millennia – we simply won’t last that long. Either self destruction, or the inevitable death of the sun will bring about our end much sooner than we explain everything.
And anyway, do we really want to know everything? Is leaving some things a mystery not a vital part of enjoying life as it is, without worrying too far ahead?
Personally, I’ll leave what remains a mystery as is, and not fall into the traditional cycle of attributing all beauty and creation to a familiar face, simply because it has been thrust upon me by my social setting, and because it’s “nice” to feel there’s someone who’ll always forgive, always welcome me into heaven.
It sounds nice, but it doesn’t sound real.
This brings me on to organised religion as whole, the cause of more wars and deaths than any single event, disease or tragedy.
Far from being a qualified historian on the origins of religion, I still regard my opinions as well thought out, constructive, and not in any way designed to belittle or insult those who do “believe”.
Marx referred to religion, quite rightly, as the opium of the people. In order to claim power, a single man could never convince an entire population that his way is THE way.
“Follow me, worship me, and…eh…nothing will change really, I just want to be King”.
Try this one –
“Everyone, oy, listen!! God told me that earthquake last week, which killed all ya’ll parents, was sent by him because ya’ll were cussin’ and lounging about and partaking in the pleasures of the flesh, and drinking wine until vomitus, and not OBEYING ME, YOUR KING, while I do all of the above! Do ya’ll want another earthquake or flood or some shit??? Damn right you don’t – get to church and worship me! I mean GOD! Oh, here’s a book which explains all that, like, history or how the world was made n’ shit”
Better follow that book.
Before books, the bible, or even the magic Moses with his “Magic Sea Parting Kit”, there was still religion or sorts. Pagan religion, animalism and the likes. Because humans had yet to become truly creative – in essence the ability to make shit up hadn’t developed enough – they pointed to creatures and trees and the sea and the sky as the true Gods. This makes more sense I suppose, as there’s as least a tangible element to the tale. Still, it’s intent was to explain something which humans were simply unable to explain.
We don’t see animals worshipping. They neither have the ability to explain, nor the desire, nor the need.
Finally, a belief in “God”, in whatever format, shape, colour or creed, has uses in some situations. Desperate, heartbreaking, tragic situations. When there’s no hope left, or where there’s no help coming, when a loved one dies before their time – all these situations point to something which we cannot yet explain, and thus the instinctive desire for “God” – an explanation, a reason – a tradeoff.
Instinctive not biologically, but socially. There is no genetic code or segment of DNA which relates to which religion we will become, or which form of God originally designed us, or whether we will be religious in any way. It simply doesn’t exist inside humanity, only externally in the society around us.
To believe in God is no bad thing – the guidelines layed down by most religions are pretty synonymous with healthy, social, cooperative and friendly living. However, I’d rather put my money on humans being able to decipher for themselves the best way to live, and the most helpful, friendly and all around “sound” way to go about life each day. Don’t punch strangers, don’t be having sex with your neighbours wife while he’s in work, don’t steal shit etc etc. It doesn’t take a genius, nor a bible, to tell me these things.
Had we never developed religion, would we still be running around in deerskin blankets throwing rocks at each other? No, we wouldn’t. We’d be no less than we are right now.
Except fewer wars and less differences between east and west, north and south, black and white.
And who knows where that kind of world could be right now???
Sometimes, this makes me sad. How long have we limited ourselves, blamed God for both good and bad, instead of opening up to the possibility that we are just lucky to be here?
We’re not “the chosen ones”. We’re spacedust, just like everything else. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we focus on enjoying the time we have, which is painfully short, and making it slightly more pleasant for those that will follow.