1. If you really wish for a saner reply, you must do away with the divinity that’s often ascribed to any religion. There’s surely nothing divine in any faith, the success of religions is a direct product of social evolution of humanity something similar to the famed theory of evolution.
2. Now, why’d we need religion? If you were a bit lax in analysis then, surely you run the risk believing that religion offers no any tangible benefit.
3. But, things are far from being so simple. To be able to draw compelling arguments we’d need to delve deeper. Back in the days when people were still hunter- gatherers, when the world was still full of things unknown & when survival was the only credo of life (it’s ironic, today survival surely is no more a luxury on the contrary something which is often taken as granted!). In those days, people would live in small, compact & isolated groups with bare minimum contact with others. Fewer ideas would be exchanged between people as a result both social & technological progress was stunted. The result: every natural phenomenon from seemingly simpler ones like rain & lightning, to more intriguing questions of birth & death could be explained convincingly by ascribing them to some higher spirit controlling everything; even the smallest of trivialities included, this would surely give emotional & psychological strength to people in an age where almost everything was so arbitrary ( you eat something new; chances are you’d easily die of poisoning or worse on a hunting expedition you could easily become the hunted ).
4. Again, it’s spontaneous that each of these natural phenomenon would be seen as manifestations of the power of a higher spirit & hence, the concept of polytheism (a myriad of phenomenon requiring a multitude of Gods).
I’ll tell you a story, It goes on like this: back in the dark ages, Vikings & other Germanic tribes were wrecking havoc across Europe (8th to 10th century). They were often regarded as savages lacking culture & religion ( or this is what the Papacy & their charlatans were fanning throughout Europe). They had this practice of beating war drums & weapons whenever there was a solar-eclipse; they believed that their war-cries protected sun & could exorcise evil. Once they had ostracized evil they’d jump into revelry & debauchery.
Do we believe in things as such? Obviously not .Again, I’ve deliberately stressed on ‘not’, If you’d chose to ponder a bit you’d surely realize that there’s little difference between what we believe today & what would arouse passion in the past. Another one, how’s the book of dead different from any of the scriptures of organized religion?
Overtime, religion transitioned from tribalism to paganism & finally to organized religion.
5. Throughout written history, once civilizations began to mushroom; religion & empires would work in concert almost seamlessly:
Empires need religion to act as glue between distinct (& sometimes competing) demotic groups & religion requires an empire for protection.
It surely doesn’t need any rocket-science to understand why many empires in history always had a state-religion.
6. By the time medieval era was drawing to its close; the frenzy of religion had already swept entire globe. As a direct consequence, we today have religion & belief systems deeply entrenched within the psyche of society. However I must admit an underlying fact; religion is always a precursor of reason & rationality ( although it sounds paradoxical but, still it was religion which first aided humanity understand the world & its mysteries later during renaissance; the quest for ancient culture triggered sciences & reasoning).
7. Summing this up, religion isn’t such a big enigma as many would think. There are ample evidences to support the theory that religion is a result of social evolution; many millennia of human development & experiences with the unknown concomitantly led to the ascension of religion as a central theme in society.
( Photo Source:http://www.ancient.eu/uploads/images/3691.jpg?v=1431034579)