Other than the fear of mortality or to control others are there reasons we would have invented gods?
Yes, there are other reasons.
The idea that "divine intervention" can change one's circumstances.
One comedian once said: "God is Santa Claus for adults!"
A lot of people turn to God for help or guidance during difficult times. Others love the idea of never being "alone". Last but not least mankind has a need to believe there is life after death.
Firstly fear and control have never been motivators for religion. So your premise is non sequitur (may I say "as usual "?). Such tactics of fear and control fall under the heading of politics. Although politics has nothing to do with religion it is true to say that fanatics such as Hitler posed as quasi religious figures to manipulate politics. This phenomenon has nothing to do with religion.
Awe inspiring nature, common sense, direct experirnce, the urgent need for human advancement, law and ethics are all motivators for religion.
The earliest versions of religion date back more than 50,000 years. They seem to be more about explaining natural phenomena than anything else. These ideas come from things like petroglyphs, pictoglyphs, and archaeological investigations of ancient sites, so it could be open to interpretation. Later religions like ancient Egyptian religious beliefs give us some more understanding since they had a written language. Proto-religious beliefs helped explain where the sun went at night and why natural disasters occurred. These were probably the first forms of religion. These evolved into creating gods to rule over these events then finding ways to appease these gods to prevent the natural disasters.
Over time these religious beliefs became more organized into the morality based religions that we have today. Religion has been maintained because it helped bind people together into larger and more successful communities.
John, rarely do I meet people as insightful as yourself. I often argue the point you stated in your final paragraph with people who think religion has no place in society. I am an atheist but I see clearly the value religion has had on humankind.
It seems that the main reason for the invention of religion was IGNORANCE.
Ancient pre-historic humans had little understanding of how nature really worked, and it caused elevated levels of anxiety. To assuage this anxiety, they used their imaginations to concoct how nature works, and it all came down to the creation of a superhuman or superhumans in the sky or oceans or earth...who manipulated nature to its/their will.
To paraphrase the "Game of Thrones" series, to explain to kids why the world is the way it is.
Our own mortality forces us to. Indeed even 'control' is a part of this. We are wearing a veil with many colours: Ego, attachment; greed, lust, anger and those we know by other names: fear, insecurity, loneliness, jealousy....
They make us do the negative things we do, and again it is when we feel or become helpless, dependent, that we truly begin to think of God. True prayer begins when human capacity ends, when we realise that there is no such thing as free will, only a limited freedom. When we realise that it is God's world, and that He is always in charge. Alas! Some see this, only when they are lying on a hospital bed, and even then, some don't.
So we return to seeking/longing/knocking/yearning for the Absolute, when we are truly helpless and desperate. But again, even this relies on the Divine Will. Nothing is haphazard in Creation, and we cannot move faster than Grace. Much Love, Michael.
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