So, is religion just something that we made up? Are the Atheists correct, do we invent “spiritual” things to make us feel better?
There is a story here, and it’s worth knowing:
Jupiter by Jove.
Here are some other god words: deity, dios, dieu, Zeus; or some very old names like Deva, Deywos, and Dyo. We also have Jupiter and Jove, and a very old form Dyo Pitr. That last one, from India, is an old form of Jupiter.
We also have a related word “day” meaning the time when the sky is lighted. Those god words, in many languages, refer to a God in the sky, or heaven.
“Pitr” or “Ju … piter” refers to a father, and we can see how our word “father” is related to “piter.”
If you are wondering, our English word “God” comes from an ancient word “gudan” which means to call on, or to pray to.
In history, and before history was recorded, tribal people lived on the grasslands of southern Russia, with herds of animals. They had cows and sheep, and horses to pull wheeled wagons. They were the experts on wheeled vehicles, and one group is credited with designing and building the best war chariots and spreading the idea to the Middle East and India.
For example, do you remember the story of Moses and the Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea? Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, with his army in chariots, chased them but then drowned in the Red Sea. The Egyptians had learned the idea of chariots from those Asian nomads.
All of our modern horses are descended from the herds of those ancient Asian people, and they mostly used horses to pull wagons and chariots. Horses for riding, with saddles, reins, and stirrups, came later.
Nomads, people who travel for their whole lives, could spread easily from the prairies of southern Russia, and we can trace the language of these ancient people. They spread south into Persia, now called Iran, and they turned left and spread into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, and Bangladesh. They also pushed to the borders of China, and into Europe.
Where they travelled, they stayed with their language, which became a family of related languages. Eventually, they spread to India and across Europe, and we call them Indo-Europeans. One of the modern “Indo-European” languages is English.
It’s everywhere, and it started with people herding livestock in southern Russia.
History is interesting.
Our biggest problem with history is that we forget it so easily.
Experts know that other language families have similar patterns for the name, and names of God, and not just the Indo-Europeans. The whole world seems to have one very old idea; our ancestors all believed in one great God, in heaven.
“Jupiter” the high God of the Romans, has a name that translates to “sky-god father.” Another word for “sky” is heaven.
There is one other variation in the story of the God who rescued the Israelites from Pharaoh and his chariot army. Shortly after the rescue, Moses climbed to the top of Mount Sinai, and eventually, he came down with the laws of God, for the people. What Moses saw, when he came down to the people, made him so angry that he smashed the stone tablets with God’s law written on them.
The people, at the foot of the mountain, had given up on Moses and started a new religion, sort of. They built a golden calf and worshiped it.
Many believe the calf was not a god, it was meant to be the vehicle that God rode on. Those people did not abandon God, they just modified him to suit their tastes. The problem was erosion and not a whole new invented idea.
They did it their way. They modified God to suit themselves and mounted him on a golden calf.
We may have lost many ideas in history, but two thousand years ago, I think people were more aware of these ancient roots. That was when a preacher named Jesus told us how to pray “After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6: 9) That is the beginning of the “Lord’s Prayer” which we have all heard many times. This was a foundation for every believer, how to pray to “Gudan” the one we pray to.
Do you get that Jesus said “Jupiter” when he said our father in heaven? There were temples of the Roman high god Jupiter, so was Jesus us to pray there, to a stone statue? If Jesus told ancient Jewish believers to pray to a statue of a Roman god, or Zeus of the Greeks, He would have been stoned to death by a mob.
What the Lord really said was to get past all of the modifications and adaptations that people had made over the centuries, and pray to the original high God; “our Father which art in Heaven.” That God was the God of our ancestors, the one they all prayed to.
Jesus directed us back to the place where we all started. I’m sure the audience understood; this was not a new religion, from Jesus, and it was not a message for only the Jews. We were all directed back to the original, unmodified starting place.
So yes, religion is made up, and invented. The preacher Jesus directed us to the truth that is older and higher than all of our modifications. He sent us back to our ancestors.
The Bible explains this
For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore, God gave them over … (Romans 1: 21 to 24)