And we need it. There is an argument that proposes that humanity would have achieved its ethical constructs without religion. However, even a cursory look at the primate male recognises that, as this creature evolves higher and higher powers, he beomes more and more dangerous to other males and the children of other males. The primate male is designed to be the usurper of all other males, or to be usurped. There is ample evidence from the behaviour of modern human males to suggest that, unfettered, such behaviour would have stalled the civilising processes that have occurred over the last 200,000 years, and, presumable started before that. If human males were advanced primates without the ability to take on a religious viewpoint, the inter-male behaviour would have prevented enough stability of the tribal unit from creating an adequate hunter-gather paradigm, let alone develop agriculture. It is only by the institution of a system that allows males all equal ‘rights’ to sex with females and progeny, could inter-male cooperation be established. I have no doubt that the institution of marriage, advanced with the fears and rewards of the after-life, has enabled the management of male urge so that the more intelligent males and females could find a handhold by which to begin investigations of their environment.
To be sure, those primate behaviours haven’t gone away. The lurk well out in the open, today. Males beat their chest, none more so than those who control nations and engage with bared teeth and rattling prions.
As to female primate behaviour I have little to say, except that it might do all of us some good if some among us temper their primate instincts with a little more thought.
But where to now? I will suggest that the primate behaviour that prompts much of the agony we humans endure, is only tenuously under management. Therefore, it is not for human society to delude themselves that their power over their own selves permits them to do away with religion. Rather I would suggest that even more than ever, the moderations, temperances, and disciplines demanded by religions is of paramount importance in human society.