Religion Established Trust

“Religion, in its increasingly articulated and orchestrated forms, for the first time allowed large numbers of human beings to inhabit a single shared culture, encoded in sacred stories, rehearsed in choreographed rituals, supervised by priests, worshipped in sacrifice and prayer. What religion represented was a moral structure on a cosmic scale, in which the gods ensured the implementation of justice. The good would be rewarded and the bad punished, whether in this world or in the next. The world out there in the cosmos, and the world in here in the soul, came together to unite human beings in a single moral enterprise: the society-wide maintenance of order. That, then, is the first point: by establishing moral communities on a large scale through shared beliefs and rituals rather than by frequent face-to-face interaction, religion solved the problem of establishing trust between strangers. Without this, it is doubtful that humanity would ever have left the hunter gatherer stage.”

Morality, Chapter 21, p. 291