This question may need some work, but I'll do my best..

I remember hearing a while back that much of the history of India occurred in isolation. Without knowing whether this is strictly true, it got me to thinking about parallel social traits that have arisen independently in different regions of the world.

One of the more interesting social traits is religion. We know that religion is ever evolving, breaking into further sects and so on, and we know that most people throughout history have had a tendency to ask 'why'. So my assumption is that if you take all of the religions which exist today and trace their lineage backwards, you'll find a set of ancestors of 'religious families' which came to be independently of each other.

So what I wonder is:

  1. Moving backwards in time, can all of the religious families be isolated to their own common ancestor?
  2. If so, what are the religious ancestors, and in what regions did they arise?
  • Down-vote explanation? Too broad? – Canadian Coder Jun 7 '15 at 2:42
  • Seems like every question that 'doesn't look like the other questions' gets down-voted. – Canadian Coder Jun 7 '15 at 2:50
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    Here is my guess ( I have not up- or down-voted you yet... ) You don't show what research you yourself have done. You don't indicate any reasoning behind your assumptions to show that they are right, or correct. (Most people throughout history ...ask 'why'; says who? I firmly believe that most people, throughout history were more concerned with surviving (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) than asking philosophical questions) – CGCampbell Jun 7 '15 at 3:27
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    False assumption - there are huge discontinuities when we move from hunter gatherer to agriculture and again when we move to urban civilization. Joseph Campbell's history of mythology may be helpful. – Mark C. Wallace Jun 7 '15 at 3:57

The major 'families' are generally equated with language families- so it was theorized that there was Proto Indo European Religion which differentiated into Indo-Iranian, Greek, Celtic and so on. Similarly a Semitic, Ural Altaic, Munda etc family of Religions was believed to exist.

More recently Michael Witzel of Harvard University has published a 'family' type theory of Myths. He thinks myths are very ancient and represent the 'ancestors' of the 'religious families' you refer to. Essentially he makes a sharp distinction between Gondwanan (with a Sub Saharan origin) and Laurentian (Eurasian) families of myths.

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Religions are basically psycological manifestations, which aquire a social code due to generational continuity.

Now how do religions develop? Well, people observe things, they want to ascribe it to something, as is the nature of human mind. Additions keep coming, and discourses develop. This is how belief systems are formed. Religion is a social trait, because social trait is sort of mass psycology.

But your speculation, that they have to have a common origin is quite inconsistent. Groups of people living anywhere, could form belief systems independently. Even a group of people living on a 30 sq km. isolated island, living thier for say 400 500 years, or even 50 years, without any previous legacy or further contact can have their own belief system.

And human groups dispersed a very long time ago, to have continued contact and legacy to build a common religion on. Places where there was not significant contact with other human cultures, can't be said to carry a common base with other human religions. Examples can be , Myriads of polynesian tribes, or south american tribes.

And guys, don't ask me source this. :)

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    "And guys, don't ask me source this." well then, it's your opinion. It so happens that I agree with it, but still.... :) – CGCampbell Jun 7 '15 at 12:04
  • @CGCampbell all theories, and interpretations on History are someone's perspective afterall :) – Rohit Jun 9 '15 at 7:09
  • Reading your answer again, you seem to have misunderstood the question. I'm not assuming a single origin, I'm assuming an origin of each distinct 'family'. Which after a little more reading can probably be traced in a linear fashion with the development of various civilizations/cultures. So I think you could get something of a distinct answer here. – Canadian Coder Apr 6 '17 at 18:56

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