Evolutionists have long wondered what made us humans such uniquely intelligent and social creatures. Well, according to a new idea, religion did it. Apparently humans are capable of making and forming relationships and social ties because we developed religion through evolution. Is this the right interpretation of the evidence?
The research found that activities we often associate with religion, such as singing or doing things in a synchronized fashion, produce endorphins, which bond people to one another. Religion also “create[s] the sense that we’re all one family” to stop people from “killing everybody else out of just crossness.”
Based on this, the researchers suggest perhaps religion is the key to human evolution. But the observable evidence (e.g., the production of endorphins) says nothing about an evolutionary development of humans—that’s an interpretation applied to the observable evidence. They start with a belief in evolution and apply that belief when they interpret the evidence.
After all, we were created to join with others in the body of Christ, bringing praise and glory to the Creator.
When we start with God’s Word, we know that God created us and knows how we’re wired, so it’s no surprise that religious activities are good for knitting us together. After all, we were created to join with others in the body of Christ, bringing praise and glory to the Creator.
But ever since the time of the Tower of Babel (when mankind rebelled against God—again—and He divided up their languages, forcing them to fill the earth, which resulted in different people groups and cultures), the truth of who the Creator is has been warped. You see, the newly formed language groups took the knowledge of God with them when they moved across the globe, but many perverted this knowledge, and false religions began replacing the truth. With these false religions, mankind bands together to suppress the truth and reject the true God, their Creator (Romans 1). There aren’t many different religions because of some evolutionary origin of religion but because mankind is actively suppressing the truth about God and living in rebellion, making gods in their own image. Ultimately, humans want to be their own god—just as Satan deceived Eve in Genesis 3.
Included in the summary article about the research was this quote from a sociologist who studies religion:
For most of Western intellectual history since the Enlightenment, religion has been thought of as ignorant and strange and an aberration and something that gets in the way of reason. . . . In the last 10 or 20 years on many fronts, there’s been a change in thinking about religion, where a lot of neuroscientists have been saying religion is totally natural. It totally makes sense that we’re religious. Religion has served a lot of important functions in developing societies.
Well, they’re right about one thing. Religion is natural! We were created to fear God and keep His commandments—that’s the chief end of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13). And Romans chapter 1 is clear that God has made it evident to all that He is the Creator God. Despite claims to the contrary, a belief in God and in His Word isn’t “ignorant and strange and an aberration and something that gets in the way of reason.” It’s the proper starting point, and it’s confirmed by what we see in the world.
But in one way they’re right: religion is key to evolution. It’s because of the religious ideas of Darwin and others that evolution was accepted as the prevailing explanation for the origins of the various life-forms.
Darwin and others had already rejected the truth of the Bible and the existence of the God described in Scripture. Yes, they all may not have been atheists, but they certainly didn’t believe in the God who spoke all things into being, as it says in Genesis, and who came and died and rose again for them. They had already rejected Him and His Word and replaced Him with a god they’d made themselves—a god who isn’t involved in the universe. Because of their religious assumptions, they looked to explain life and the universe naturalistically, apart from the revelation of God’s Word.
Scientists continue to do this today. They accept evolution because they’ve already rejected God’s Word as the source of truth, turning instead to naturalistic ideas about the origin of life and the universe. Atheists, with their belief in naturalism, aren’t somehow religiously neutral by token of being scientists—they have a religion, and they impose that religion on the evidence.
Religion wasn’t the key to human evolution because we didn’t evolve. We were created uniquely in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), separate from the animal kingdom, to worship and glorify our Creator.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.