The Evolution of Religion Essay

The Evolution of Religion Essay

Length: 894 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Evolution of Religion


Near the end of his novel, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel Dennett questions religion and contends that it was an evolutionary process to keep humans entertained. He says "they [religions] have kept Homo Sapiens civilized enough, for long enough, for us to have learned how to reflect more systematically and accurately on our position of the universe"(519). Dennett's position is a controversial one, and it is difficult to argue because it is such an abstract subject. Religion is associated with free will, and has been part of humans for thousands of years. Is religion as we know it useless now, have we arrived at the point in evolution where it is no longer necessary?

Dennett never completely dismisses current religion, but he does not support its perpetuation either. Dennett's view of religion is as function, something that humans need, like opposable thumbs. He claims that religion has become merely about the actions, and that soon they will die out and belong in museums and "zoos". Dennett elaborates this thought, "what,then, of all the glories of our religious traditions? They should certainly be preserved, as should the languages, the art, the costumes the rituals, the monuments"(519). Is this right? Should only the material aspects be saved? Have they served their only purpose. Dennett seems to say that humans no longer need religions, and that since they have existed for so long they are no longer needed, it is their time for extinction. Will religions disappear leaving only the materials and traditions as Dennett seems to suggest they will, or will they evolve, and change to meet our modern world.

In Karen Armstrong's History of God she says "for 4,000 years it [the idea of God] has cons...


... middle of paper ...


...sappeared, but they became infused into other religions. The ancient Hellenistic religion became infused into Christianity, and the Sumerian religion was an influence for the writers of the old testament (http://www.comparative-religion.com/ancient/). In that sense the ancient religions continue to exist, they have merely taken a different form.

Will the modern religions of today follow a path decreed by Dennett and Armstrong and disappear, or will they merely become influences in the next wave of religion? The major religions today have been in existence for thousands of years, but that does not mean that they will not evolve. As people and culture change, so will the worlds religions. People will always have faith, and humans have not achieved a point in evolution where religion is no longer needed, and it is highly unlikely that it will ever reach that point.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Epic of Evolution: Religion on the Rise? Essay

- The theory of Evolution introduced new possible truths to people in the world. For centuries, religion was the only truth that was known until the Scientific Revolution era. The makings of the universe and the multitudes of species that live within it have a more probable and possible origin through scientific study than the mystical workings of a mysterious higher being. Evolutionary ideas, similarly to other religions, come together to form basic ideas, beliefs, and ritual practices. For example, the tree/web of life is a diagram showing the theoretical evolution of all species and an inspiration for people to work together with our ecosystems in promotion of a healthy earth....   [tags: ideas, religion, earth, ecosystem]

Better Essays
589 words (1.7 pages)

The Evolution of Religion Essay example

- INTRODUCTION In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dorothy and her friends journey to the Emerald City in seek of Oz – the great and powerful wizard. Upon finally reaching him, Dorothy’s dog opens a curtain to reveal that the Wizard is merely an ordinary man speaking into a microphone while using various knobs and levers to create a smoke-and-mirrors effect. In many ways this story is similar to the creation and interpretation of religion by individuals within society. In the following pages I will discuss this metaphor, as well as Rudolf Otto and his theories on the creation of religion, Peter L....   [tags: Understanding Theories, Creation]

Better Essays
1331 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Evolution and Religion

- Religion has existed as the answer and life guidance for billions of people from essentially the dawn of intelligent human life as we know it. In the 1830’s, Charles Darwin revolutionized the field of science by researching and publishing his theory of evolution. This caused an immediate and volatile response, especially from people of a religious bent. From then up until now, scientists and creationists have fought bitterly over whether evolution actually occurred or if God created humans, as we know them....   [tags: answer, life guidance, Charles Darwin, science]

Better Essays
1196 words (3.4 pages)

The Evolution of Religion Essay

- The Evolution of Religion Near the end of his novel, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Daniel Dennett questions religion and contends that it was an evolutionary process to keep humans entertained. He says "they [religions] have kept Homo Sapiens civilized enough, for long enough, for us to have learned how to reflect more systematically and accurately on our position of the universe"(519). Dennett's position is a controversial one, and it is difficult to argue because it is such an abstract subject. Religion is associated with free will, and has been part of humans for thousands of years....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]

Better Essays
894 words (2.6 pages)

Evolution Of Religion Throughout World History Essay

- The evolution of religion in world history has been a fascinating journey to say the least. So many profess to be a part of a certain religion, yet do not understand how it came to be. By unraveling the beginnings of today’s major religions, one can gain a better understanding and appreciation of religions around the world. Just as everyone is special and unique - so too are the various religions. It is important to understand and respect whatever beliefs others may have - no matter if one agrees with them or not....   [tags: Islam, Religion, God, Christianity]

Better Essays
799 words (2.3 pages)

Evolution : A Refuted Religion Essay

- Evolution: A Refuted Religion The great debate between evolutionary theory and creation has spanned over about two centuries. Soon after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, several scientists began studying the theory, and since then have tried piecing together a world that created itself. Big name atheists today like Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins argue against the intelligent design of God, and ultimately the existence of such a powerful being. On the other hand, there is the Biblical Christian, who believes in the truth of the Bible, and that scripture is supposed to be inerrant....   [tags: Evolution, Charles Darwin, Intelligent design]

Better Essays
848 words (2.4 pages)

Religion and Evolution Essay

- Religion is a multifaceted-facetted progression, which is defined and understood in many ways; however the basic fundamental concepts of religion are shared emotional responses within a community of shared-value and likeminded members. Religion is a methodical dance involving history, message, faith, as well as reconciliation with natural science. The last step of that dance, reconciliation, is the perpetual stumbling block for many followers of many different religions. For many Christians, the biggest perpetual stumbling block for reconciliation is the theory of and proof for evolution....   [tags: Progression, Religion Concepts]

Better Essays
1412 words (4 pages)

The Evolution of Religion Essay

- The Evolution of Religion As long as humans have walked the Earth, we have sought out answers. Answers for questions like: "Why are we here. Where do we go when we die. Where did we come from. and What's that?" How different people answered these questions is important to study because it shows us the spiritual side of human nature. Especially now, a time of conflict between Islam and Western Civilization, it is important to look back and trace the evolution of religion. To see where we started and perhaps, gain some perspective into what is happening now and what may happen in the future....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
954 words (2.7 pages)

The Evolution Of Human Religion Essay

- Our textbook introduces us to the major developments in the history of human religion by acknowledging most “religion seems to grow out of human experiences” (4), and that within these experience we can see an outline of universal patterned growth when it comes to the creation or emergence of religious practices and structure. That is not to say that all regions follow a set path in their development; however, it is with that in mind we can see the evolution seems to follow a pattern or wave of growth in concepts and complexity of thought....   [tags: Religion, Hinduism, Vedas, Human]

Better Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

Evolution: Science and Religion Essay

- Evolution: Science and Religion In 1895 Charles Darwin published a book describing his theory of evolution, and his theory of the natural selection process. This theory caused much uproar in the religious community because Darwin’s theory went against the story of creation portrayed in the Holy Bible. His theory claimed that all life currently in place had evolved and adapted from a single organism in the beginning. Over time and by process of natural selection only the dominant species were left over while the other, less dominant species, went extinct....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Better Essays
2022 words (5.8 pages)