Origin Of Religion Essay

2160 Words 9 Pages
There are various explanations for why humans turn to religion; these include revelation as an origin, the natural knowledge-of-god, anthropological and psychological explanations. These explanations look to where the concept of religion originated. Why do people believe in a higher being and why do individuals act according to the values and practices related to their beliefs? These theories and explanations look to find the reasoning. Revelation as origin is the idea that religion originated through revelation of God through his intervention (via prophet’s visions, personal contact, etc.). As evidenced by Johnstone, “God himself was directly at work instructing his people, and in the process was creating religion through the process of revelation” …show more content…
It is through the lens of social scientists that that explanation looks through which anthropologists examined religion. They concluded that religion was invented in response to the events that were witnessed in nature – whether they were “awesome, mysterious, and even terrifying” events, they wanted to understand what caused these things (Johnstone 24). Some differences include Max Muller’s observation of physical acts of nature. He noted that prehistoric people saw other people being the cause of events and so they thought that people, or people-like things, caused everything. From this, the idea of spirits arose, that these spirits were the cause of these natural events according to prehistoric people. There is also a belief that everything, including inanimate objects, posses a soul. This belief is termed animism. Robert Lowie looked at the emotional needs of individuals and how religion arose during times of mystery regarding spirits. Many anthropologists observed at religion’s origin having a part in society’s focus on spirits and their belief in them and a need to rationalize natural events. According to social scientists this deals with the cognitive need, “that is, people want to know and understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the goings on around them” (Johnstone

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