Evolution of religions

Nothing in religion makes sense except in the light of imagination.

I posted this graphic on Flickr in 2006, but thought I’d re-post here since I’d long ago stopped using Flickr.  It shows how religions might have evolved from pre-existing religions, which in turn evolved from the early myths of our prehuman ancestors.  If you are a religion buff, you are no doubt frothing at the mouth because of all the mistakes I’ve made … in my defense, it was just a quick sketch because I needed an “evolution of religions” slide for a talk and I couldn’t locate one on the internet thingy.

Evolution of religions

If you’re interested in the evolution of religions among primates, check this out:

McClenon, J.  1997.  Shamanic healing, human evolution, and the origin of religion.  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36:345-354. JSTOR

By the way, my lead sentence is just a riffing on the phrase and article by Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

About Colin Purrington

PhD in evolutionary biology • twitterinstagram
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2 Responses to Evolution of religions

  1. prive360 says:

    why do two religions end up in flower-like shapes and the rest doesn’t?

    • Those were religions that were really just dreamed up to be different … so they “poofed” into existence. I know, it’s not a great way to represent that, but it was all I could come with at the moment and I needed the graphic for a talk the next day.

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