The existence of religion among humans can be traced back tens of thousands of years. It is a belief set present in all mutually exclusive human societies, even back when different groups did not and could not communicate. Humans developed spiritual, religious beliefs on their own.
What is the evolutionary or psychological purpose or reason for the existence of religion? Why does it even exist?
Best evidence from cognitive science and anthropology right now says it's the by-product of several (but primarily 3) of our evolved cognitive mechanisms. I can expand this into an explanation or provide a suggested reading list. Let me know if you'd like either or both.
Hmm this is a very interesting question. I'm also very curious to know if there is an evolutionary purpose to religion.
Personally, I always thought it was just something older civilizations used to explain all the things they could not discover on their own at the time.
There's several good books on this subject. Especially Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained. He explains that anthropology shows that this explanation doesn't work.
Thank you, I will definitely try to get my hands on that
No problem whatsoever.
It's a fascinating subject. By the way, a much shorter introduction to the topic, though without the demonstration of why the traditional explanations for religious thought don't work, is Justin Barrett's Why Would Anyone Believe in God?