What are the sources of various human religions?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Religion in some form seems to be characteristic of all human societies. SInce religions originated long before human writing, any treatment of the earliest human religious impulses must be based on speculation. Archeologists have found what appear to be religious artifacts in all areas of the world, but without written texts, it is difficult to ascertain what those artifacts signify or their precise role in religious ritual. For example, the Cycladic figurines seem to represent stylized female figures. The portrayal of the -pelvic regions of these figures suggests that they had some connection with fertility and were part of a religious system that might have included some form of ritual to ensure fertility of women, animals, or crops, but beyond that, as the makers of the figurines existed in pre-literate society, we must rely on comparative data.

SInce human being all originated in Africa and gradually migrated across the world, it is possible that all religions descend from one ur-religion, though parallel developments in different societies are just as probable as divergence from a common origin.

Although we do know a great deal about how various modern religions such as Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Christianity, and Islam originated, these are all quite late developments in the history of religion, and all contain many elements of earlier traditions, e.g. Islam, Christianity, and Mormonism evolving from Judaism and Buddhism from Hinduism.