Religion and Civilization
It is simple, they would think so. "Life is once. I must enjoy it while I am alive. To enjoy life, I need money. But if I take care of the poor neighbors, I cannot earn much money for myself. I have to neglect them. Life is once. I have to enjoy it!"
If all the mankind think this way, there would be always conflicts and wars. Then people would just fight one another for money, attacking, abusing, and sacrificing others. Human beings would all go down together.
However, human beings have wisdom. They found value in order and law. They also found value in love for family members and fellow men. But most importantly they found value in religion. In this way, human societies were established. Then people learnt value of peace for prosperity, though still they resorted to war if big profits were expected.
Historically, the love for family members and fellow men could make people sometimes refrain from unlimited greedy acts. But along with development of civilization, the scope of social and economic activities was expanded, including unfamiliar members and strangers in society. Furthermore, people came to encounter with other tribes and races who came to be included in society. Then, laws and regulations became means to make people refrain from unlimited greedy acts.
In due course, concepts of justice, respect, courtesy, loyalty, the sense of duty and responsibility came to develop. But more effectively, religion worked well for this purpose among people in society or a nation.
Every great ancient civilization had explicitly religion. Without religion, the Mesopotamia civilization and the Egyptian civilization could not evolve to the level enough to become bases of later civilizations such as the Greek civilization. Ancient Chinese had one that grew to Taoism and ancient Hindus had one that grew to Hinduism. Even native Americans in the Central and South Americas had their own religions.
Now in this context, it is clear why the Empire the Alexander the Great established could not last long. It had not religion suitable for the scale of the Empire. But, the Roman Empire was established and thrived without unique religion till it adopted Christianity as its state religion in the late 4th century. And, ironically, the Western Roman Empire collapsed in just one century after its adoption of Christianity.
Romans found that they needed a sole great religion to maintain the great scale of their Empire. So, they adopted Christianity. But this religion consisted of something that was totally opposite to the philosophy of old Romans who had founded and expanded the Empire. Christianity had something that denied the paradigm of old Romans. Accordingly, Romans who came to have faith in Christianity became unable to bolster and sustain the Empire when barbarians started to invade the Empire in full scale and the climate changed drastically.
And, Europe today was produced through the process of the fall of the Roman Empire and the formation of various states of various tribes with the religious center, the Vatican.
More interestingly, the US was established with a faction of Christianity different from Catholicism. The most important factor that assures existence of the US is this faction of Christianity that is however split into many denominations.
Finally, as mankind has come to have very advanced civilization as a whole in the 21st century, we might reflect on the history of religion, since we might not yet have a religion suitable for the level and scale of current civilization.
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Joh 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
Joh 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.