Many times our own paradigms may fight between them. If you grew up in a home with religious values, or at least with a strong belief in God, contact with current scientific theories about origin of humanity could be a big shock.
I think religion and science don’t have to be in struggle, since both try to explain reality under their own paradigms. Problem comes when there is no respect, and everyone claims their own truth as the only one and consequently all other “truths” are wrong.
In nineteenth century science and religion clashed, with science wining most of the battles. Armed with “unquestionable” facts, Scientist did not hesitate to destroy the creationist theory. Of course no one thought that sacred books were written in a lost language, language of symbols.
After science victory, a very interesting process happened. Many people went from religious dogmatism to scientific dogmatism; they were quick to say that their own assessments about facts that science had provided, were the only possible truth.
In this context I have to talk about famous sociologist Michael Mann, who in his book “The Sources of Social Power” summarizes
current scientific beliefs about origin of civilizations, and specifically, about origin of religions.
These theories follow the lead of evolutionists. Starts from the moment when human beings changes from been primarily hunters, gatherers and scavengers, to farmers; the moment of agricultural revolution or Neolithic revolution.
From Agricultural Revolution, around 10,000 years ago, social relations of human beings would become very complex. Crops have provided incredible feed possibilities to humanity.
First human settlements will come with distribution and specialization of work. Weakest group elements, such as elders, may preserve.
The division of work have led to arise of hierarchies and first chiefs. In this context would emerge first religion with the purpose of dominate and manipulate people. Mr Mann says that religions are ideologies and in first city-states context like Jericho, would have established a social order.
Consequences of this theory are that beliefs as God, soul, and spiritual develops, would be only inventions from a remote past, in order to control us and manipulate us.
I can’t deny that throughout history, there have been great manipulations in context of one religion or another, but that doesn’t deny experiences of thousands of people who benefited and grew in them. German psychologist Karlfried Graff Durkheim in his book “The Center of Being” gives many examples.
However, in 1995, this scientific paradigm would receive a severe shock. In this year excavations in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe hill began, leads by German Archaeological Institute. First investigations show that this site belonged to the Neolithic period, specifically over 11,000 years ago.
As excavation progressed, it was clear that structure was built for religious purposes, divided into several layers belonging to different periods.
What is the importance of this discovery?
Science itself has discovered a religious site older than Neolithic revolution, so whole theory proposed by Mr Mann would be invalidated.
Of course, facts so far are: The location of a religious site older than Neolithic revolution or Agricultural Revolution.
So chances I see are two:
a) Agricultural revolution would happen more than 11,000 years ago and we just don’t have been able to find traces to prove it.
b) Religions are older than agricultural revolution, so all the background presented by Mr Mann, in which religions have emerged as a form of manipulation would be impossible.
I don’t want to deny any possibility because if I did, I would be becoming an advocate for my own exclusive truth, and this post makes no sense.
In our world there are no absolute truths, don’t close our eyes to the infinite possibilities that surround us.