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The day religion triumphs over evolution

In Game Of Thrones, when Queen Margaery is imprisoned, Cersei tries to tell Tommen that she will burn down cities for his happiness. When he says that he knows, she tells him that he doesn't. And that he won't know it until he has his own children and feels that he is willing to do anything at all for their happiness.

This is a common sentiment that you will hear from most parents. That they are willing to do anything in their power to ensure that their children are happy and prosperous, even if it means turning on others of our tribe, practicing nepotism, or even committing a crime.

This is a trait that evolution has reinforced in not just our species, but in many others, primarily those that take longer to fend for themselves once they are born - like mammals and birds.

Homo Sapiens used to live in tribes of fifty to hundred hunter gatherers, and they fiercely protected one another against other tribes and other species. This way, they ensured territorial dominance that brought with it guarantees on food supply and shelter. And they shared actively to ensure all members of the tribe prospered because those that didn't failed to stand together as a tribe when faced with harsh circumstances (war against other tribes, harsh weather with little food, etc) and perished.

Thus, this trait of doing whatever it takes to protect and make our own kind prosper and live happier is something that has been reinforced in us for tens of thousands of years. And it is a widely prevalent trait amongst most of the people on this planet even today.

However, in the past few thousand years, there has been an addition to our lives that has grown in prominence over time - religion.

Now, some religious fanatics take certain religious scriptures and mythological stories all too literally and discredit altogether. But, enough has been said and written to refute creationists and there is unequivocal scientific evidence for the theory of evolution. So, that is not the subject of this post for me.

Instead, it is another aspect in which every single religion (including the Enlightenment ideals of humanity, fraternity, liberty and equality which I'm calling a religion) is up against evolution.

As I stated above, evolution has favoured traits that involved favouring our children and our tribe over other tribes and other species and this is a widely prevalent trait in all parts of the world.

But, what all religions vouch for at their core is to give up this thinking where we are at the centre of the Universe and to indulge in helping and serving those around us, irrespective of who they are (and what they are - a.k.a plants and animals).

This is contrary to tens of thousands of years of evolution that is ingrained in us.

You could argue that we have made tremendous progress in treating every human equally and point to the reduced tendencies of institutional and individual racism and other forms of discriminations. But, the people we associate with and call our tribe hasn't really changed all that much. From race and religion, there has been a shift to economic and intellectual classes, staying true to that old evolutionary tendency of tribes that we are all born with.

The real fight that religion has is against this evolutionary tendency of siding with our tribe.

But, in the millions of years to come, if we are to survive as a species and spread our footprint to the rest of the Universe, religion has to win against evolution in leading us to think that we are all one and take actions that are for the collective good.

In the face of global warming, energy and water crises, widespread famines and extreme natural disasters (which are all forecasted to be just around the corner), if we are to triumph against them and thrive as a species, religion has to triumph over our evolutionary tendencies. We need to start thinking of our entire species as one.

And the path to that starts with removing competition for survival, which involves some versions of universal basic income, universal free healthcare, universal free housing and education.

So, I wait for that day when religion triumphs over evolution.

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