The concept of prayer, too, is beyond me as to someone who is in constant need to be praised and acknowledged doesn’t seem to be God. The purpose of prayer, is according to its supporters, to be one with God, feel closer to Him. It’s not Him but us who need Him. That does make sense except, what if I do not want to pray. What about the times when I am not in a crisis? I might pray only it remains the last option. Does that make me selfish? Isn’t God, by nature, transcendental and hence, would appreciate me praying only when I feel like. When I am enjoying good food, am in great company; why would I stop and thank God for it? Wouldn’t He want me to take Him for granted? If I am His design, why would He want me to stop playing the role that He assigned to me and acknowledge His presence? Would a movie director like it if the actors stopped acting and looked at the camera and thanked him for the wonderful direction?
The origin of religion is more convenience-based than divine. You can realize that with the multiplicity of religions existing and the differences in their preachings. Origin of new cults, sects and even religions shows that it is a human created concept. How did religion emerge then? Did the power-hungry ones create it? Or was it due to fear and awe of nature? (Naturalism) Or did the seekers of those times- the intrigued ones (animaism) design it? Sacredness and Profanity do explain the reverence but yet, the perpetuation of that reverence; why no one would ever question the ‘faith’ throughout the history of mankind until the modern days is something to ponder upon; or am I overestimating human intellect?
I do not think the seekers of power created religion. That is something a conspiracy-theorist would argue but in Indian context, I think the Brahmins did believe in what they preached and the power its corruptions came later. The “varna system” was uniform in terms of status at the outset and later turned to be hierachy-based. Fear does seem to play a role in emergence of believers but then, the non-believers should have also continued to exist since the very beginnning. Because, where there is fear, we also have courage and bravery; rejecting a proposition and forming own hypothesis is a very human trait. The “mass hysteria” nature of relgion still demands some explanation, Mr Max Mueller.
Now, as all these questions remain unanswered, and to sleep well, every human needs to know what really happened, I too have my own theory to believe in. I think the non-believers always existed and there were varying degrees of penetration of religion in different societies and among different individuals. But as crowd has an IQ of zero and all the voices of dissent had no other, better option to explain natural phenomena; plus religion had the advantage of solidarity and control, it perpetuated and percolated through generations.
Through decades of such reaffirmation, now it has clear-cut norms and a definite following. I am sure, I am not stating anything novel and it might already have been a discussed theory, it is my official viewpoint. As to whether God exists or not, I don’t know but even if he does, he loves randomness and chaos over order. So, I prefer to be random. Microwave!