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Home » The Roots of Religion: Genevieve Von Petzinger at TEDxVictoria (Transcript)

The Roots of Religion: Genevieve Von Petzinger at TEDxVictoria (Transcript)

Genevieve Von Petzinger at TEDxVictoria

Genevieve Von Petzinger – TRANSCRIPT

We live in a world that is absolutely infused with religion and spirituality, sometimes even to the point where maybe we don’t recognize it. It affects everything from something as simple as the holidays we celebrate, to the names that we give our children, to something much more really saddening and sort of disheartening, which is finding a conflict on the other side of the world somewhere.

I mean, any given day, somewhere somebody is fighting about spirituality and religion. So, let’s take a look at how this all plays out then on a global scale. Depending on whom you talk to, there’s about 20 major world religions – so, these are ones that are in more than one country, more than one continent. Add to that hundreds of belief systems, and out of the 7 billion people who live on this planet at this point in time, just under 6 billion profess to follow some sort of faith.

Now, I want you to try and imagine a world with no religion. What would it look like? Because that is the reality, is if we go far enough back into our own deep history, there was a time, maybe not with Homo sapiens, maybe further back, where we didn’t have any religion. So, as you can see in the slide behind me, that’s a very simplified evolutionary chart, but it’s a question that people in my field, palaeoanthropology, have asked: How far back does the religious impulse go? And how would you get at that? It’s incredibly subjective, right? So, obviously Homo sapiens at the top. We know that Homo sapiens have religion, that’s us. But, what about heidelbergensis before us, and erectus, and all the way back to Homo hails. You know, Homo habilis 25 million years ago, they’re considered to be a good candidate for the original toolmakers.

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