Artist’s rendition of the construction of Gobekli Tepe (c. 12,500 to 10,000 B.C.E)
By Fernando G. Baptista/National Geographic Creative
Photo Credit: National Geographic Magazine
The second of my three-part series covers “Part Two: The Humanized God” of Reza Aslan’s book, God: A Human History. The author traces the development of organized religion with its pantheon of humanized gods from its birthplace in the Ancient Near East to Egypt, Greece, and Iran.
For almost two and a half million years, we were hunters-gatherers. Then, some 12,000 to 10,000 years ago, we settled down, built villages, and began growing our own food and rearing animals. The discovery of the temple at Gobekli Tepe (Potbellied Hill) in eastern Turkey, widely recognized as the earliest religious temple, suggests that the birth of organized religion may have precipitated this dramatic shift. Based on archeological records, we know that the first domesticated animals appeared in this region around the same time the temple was under construction. What better way to feed a large workforce over several years?