I read somewhere years ago that RELIGION and PATRIOTISM are part parcel of this same survival mechanism.
Maybe there is hope we can evolve beyond these destructive traits.
The first humans did not worship a god of any kind. Animism was the religion of hunters and gatherers, that, and they worshiped their ancestors who passed on information of food and water sources. Their religion was completely naturalistic. When we moved to horticultural societies there were beliefs in ghosts of ancestors, but again, there was no real god or god-like figure.
I would contend that religion in general is based on fear. In early Hindu societies, the entire social structure was based on the caste system ruled by Brahmans, or priests. They shaped the entire society and all of its social relationships. People followed the rules of their caste because they believed they would move up the social ladder in the next life. If they disobeyed the priests, they could move down. Of course we know how fear plays a role in Christianity. I get the "what if you're wrong" question quite often...
I think it is natural for humans to be curious, ask questions, and seek information. For most people, Christianity answers questions of how they were created, how they are to live, and what is going to happen to them when they die. Having answers to these questions takes away those fears. Is it natural? No. The only natural elements are the curiosity and the fear. The rest is a brilliant hoax.