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.
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.”