Following the Evidence of Man-Made Religion

When people ask why I'm an atheist, I often say it's because there is no evidence for the existence of a supernatural god or gods. But that really only tells half the story. The other important piece of my reasoning is that the evidence we do have about religion shows that it is man-made.

Early religions filled a void

From our earliest ancestors, evidence shows that human beings have used religion as a way to make sense of the world around them. Creation myths tell the story of how the world (life, universe, etc.) began, while other stories explain various natural "mysteries" such as the movement of tides, solar eclipses, foodborne diseases, droughts, illnesses, and successful or failed crop production. Things that we can now easily explain through science.

There are still questions we cannot answer (and answers usually bring more questions), but the more we learn through science, the more we see that earlier "mysteries" are actually not that mysterious at all.

Religious leaders hold power over others

Early religious stories were often used to create or maintain power over other people. Religious leaders were (and are) revered for their knowledge and for being the chosen emissaries of their gods. In earlier times it was easy for them to withhold religious knowledge, keeping their followers ignorant and dependent on them. These were (and still are) strong incentives to create or maintain a man-made religion.

In turn, religious followers would also hold themselves above those of different faiths. Particularly when belonging to the most popular religion. They would demonize, persecute or even exile those who did not share their belief. Of course, they may offer to change their behavior if the others would convert (i.e. submit). Sadly, that same behavior continues to show up in many religious people today.

Religions fade and emerge over time

What is the difference between modern religions and ancient mythology? It's that people today still believe modern religions to be true. Yet it's important to remember that there was a time when these ancient religions were not dismissed as mythology. People then believed in them just as strongly as modern people now believe in their own religions.

In most cases, new religions emerge or evolve from earlier ones. For example, Islam grew out of Christianity, just as Christianity is rooted in Judaism. Tracking these changes makes it easy to see how these new religions were created by men, though founders often claim to have been divinely inspired by a prophet or savior deity.

There are thousands of religions

There have been thousands of known religions throughout human existence. Literally. Some which have transitioned to the status of mythology and others still being practiced today. While the exact number of religions being practiced today is unknown, some estimates put the number as high as 4,200.

Why are there so many religions? Because there are 7 billion people on the planet, spread across thousands of cultural and social backgrounds, making it logical that subsets would create their own religions.

But what if man-made religion points to a universal god?

Some people claim that organized religions may have it all wrong, but they are simply different ways of reaching out for a universal god that we cannot know. That is a possibility (which is why I am an agnostic atheist), but I still believe that the existence of any supernatural god is highly unlikely.

If I'm wrong, if there is a god that we cannot know because of some supernatural divide, then I'll probably never know anyway. Because there's a supernatural divide.

Until we cross that divide and find real evidence of a higher power, I'll stick to treating others with respect and kindness. And to calling myself an atheist.


  1. ah, man-made? ok, lets talk about the Qur'an. According to you it is man-man because the quran is part of the religion of Islam. If it was man-made (by people over 1400 years ago), You try writing something thats even close, you are a 'man'(or women) right? So you can also 'man-made' it, but why is it that 1400 year on (today), where we have more knowledge, no one can even come close to writing something like the Qur'an. Many have tried and failed. So im challenging you not to write over 6500 verses (30 chapters), just 1 chapter like the Quran. (No one has done so).

  2. well, ok... please watch this..., this may the answers you are looking for,