The Function of Religion

When individuals engage in collaborative endeavors, whether constructing structures or preparing meals, they must establish a shared foundation of meaning. This includes a common language as well as agreed-upon measures, scales, and quantities. People function more effectively when they possess a greater vocabulary and insight within a specific domain.

Productivity levels increase when individuals possess similar or complementary ways of thinking about a subject. The greater the consensus among individuals, the more harmoniously they can collaborate.

Now for a moment, consider the case of the three major religions, which revolve around the concept of God. The word “God” represents the ultimate idea, surpassing all other ideas and physical concepts, including human life. It serves as a meta-idea atop the hierarchical structure, shared by all subordinate ideas. God is a three-letter word that indicates the meaning “the idea of the idea of the idea of the idea …. at infinitum”, which then serves as a seed for attaching a whole corpus of meaning, stories, values, and visions for the present and future.

The Idea Beyond All Ideas – by MidJourney

Going back to the core message of this writing – a question arises: how can people collaborate effectively if they differ in their priorities, whether related to their craft, family, or business? Consider this in a historical context, where there was no internet yet to connect humans.

One approach is to introduce a religion—a collection of writings, stories, and teachings—to act as a hidden force field fostering harmony among individuals. In case of conflicts, religion provides a means of resolution. Moreover, it grants certain humans the authority to make definitive judgments. This is possible because the people of a Religion agree on a single seed meta-idea, as mentioned earlier.

In essence, if human interaction can be likened to particle physics, there exists inherent friction among individuals until they acquire a shared agreement and understanding of life on Earth. As their shared understanding increases, their collaboration eases and thus it allows them to start working together, further co-creating (or co-manifesting) reality.

The function of religion thus serves as a refined form of lubrication between human minds, facilitating cooperation through shared values, iconography, stories, and succinct conclusions about Nature and Reality.

Lastly, if the above is the essential function of Religion, then we ought to ask ourselves if there’s a more essential function of Religion and if not, then God remains dead.

God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us?


To simplify Nietzsche’s words: if there’s no agreed-upon meta-idea, how will We, humanity, forgive each other, and cooperate despite our deeds of the past?

Also published on Medium.



Total posts created: 24
After having worked for over 6 years as a Data Scientist, Adam is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Physics at the University of Hasselt. To finance his studies he is active as a freelance app developer and enterprise architect. His dream is to combine the fields of computer science, physics, and psychology, and create quantifiable models for the mechanics of consciousness.

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