Why do so many people believe in religion? Because we can think we try to find out why things happen. Now we have science which explains just about all of what we run into. A long time ago if there was even a form of science, it was very primitive. Imagine living back there. Think of a movie with cavemen if you need a hint on what to think. Think of what life was like for them. Some things that happen are very big, like earthquakes, forest fires, lightning, volcanoes, and people you love dying. You would wonder about things like: Why is the moon so different from the sun even though it’s the same size and goes across the sky? What is the sun made of  and why doesn’t it burn out? Were we always here or did someone make us? I’ll bet you can think of questions you wonder about that are like those questions. Science has answers for these questions but people way back in caveman days didn’t have science. They couldn’t even write things down because they didn’t know how to write or read. They would have stories that passed from parents to children but these were just guesses and almost always wrong. Think about what you would say if someone asked you what made lightning come down from the sky. Would you say that something must have thrown it down? Lots of people would if they didn’t know  better. Then you think that whatever threw the lightning down must be really powerful to not get hurt by it. Calling these powerful beings gods answered a lot of questions back then. Early people thought they had to feed the gods. They thought gods did about everything that was greater than a person could do. This meant things like send storms, ride the sun across the sky, make the crops grow, make women pregnant, and so on. That takes a lot of strength so feeding them was important. They used to burn things so the smoke would take the food to the gods. Sometimes someone would claim to be able to talk to the gods and they were respected and feared by the early people. They set up a tradition of priests and holy men that we still see today. Religions have a lot of other purposes. Sometimes these purposes are good. They bring people together as friends. A lot of art and music was made for religions. They give people answers to questions people have even today but most of those questions could be answered without religion. They sometimes have bad purposes too like making some people better than others. Sometimes they make people live in a way that the person involved wouldn’t do if they weren’t made to. This is a very simple explanation of how religions developed. It is fairly complete though. I hope you noticed that I never really said if there really were gods back then only they didn’t throw lightning and all those other things. Many humanists don’t think that there had to be a god. Others think that a god might have started everything and just rested ever since. Perhaps this god just watches what is going on like it’s the best television show ever. So why are there still so many religious people when we know what makes lightning and all those other events? There are a number of reasons: 1. For many years churches brought people together like nothing else did. People remember how important the church was at those past times. 2. Religions give answers to life’s questions in a way that even children understand. Science can be rather difficult to understand so people look to the easier answer. 3. Religious leaders are fairly busy telling people to be religious. Usually they do it by talking about good things but they also tell people that they will suffer forever if they aren’t religious. 4. It takes a whole new way of thinking to give up being religious. People don’t like to make big changes like that. 5. Often religious beliefs are passed down from parent to child. This means that making a change not only means changing how you think but it also means that you are saying your parents and family are wrong. 6. Believing in religion is even built into our language. We say “Bless you” when someone sneezes. Another thing we way is that we are ‘grateful’ when good things happen to us. Who are we grateful to for things like good weather? A god? It is just as easy to say you are happy about something happening. Then there is no one to be thankful to. If you have other reasons, send them to me and I might add them to the list.