Belief in God Led To Creation of Human Societies

Belief in God Led To Creation of Human Societies

Since a very long time, it has been believed by anthropologists and archaeologists that the emergence of agriculture was the primary reason for large communities to work in cooperation, which gave rise to cooperative societies.

However, since last few years, it has been debated by archaeologists that the construction of large ceremonial monuments is likely to have emerged before the large agricultural societies came into picture. Communities with same belief system would have come together to construct these monuments.

A new research undertaken by Oxford and the University of British Columbia has found evidence that people belonging to same religious group are expected to work in higher cooperation since they believe that their activities are being supervised by a supreme idol’s watchful eye. The team revealed that the success of humanity primarily occurred due to the 'hands of the gods - whether they are real or not.'

"In the modern world we rely on government's courts and the police to deter and punish those who would otherwise undermine social coordination. But how did human societies achieve and sustain cooperation before these institutes existed. One possibility is religion," said Prof Dominic Johnson from the Politics and International Relations Department at Oxford.

The outcome of the research matches with the belief that individuals in larger societies might have cooperated with each other due to the fear of moralistic, punitive, all-knowing gods, according to Dr. Emma Cohen of the University of Oxford. The research involved 600 participants playing economic games. These participants belonged to many religions like Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, along with animism and ancestor worship prevailing in Brazil, Mauritius, the Tyva Republic (Siberia) Russia, Tanzania and islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

The research discovered that the possibility of a participant to offer monetary assistance to a stranger increased with the level at which they considered their god is in terms of morality, knowledge and punishment, according to Benjamin Grant Purzycki, from the University of British Columbia and the study’s lead author.

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