Before we start
This is part 2 of a series. The Anunnaki is somewhat related to this. Stick around for the follow ups.
I'd like to tell you in advance that this is mostly (logical) speculation, so it may not be fact, but it'll make you reconsider our religious history and your opinion on the church.
Do you really believe prophets wrote the Bible to offer you a source of comfort and guidance to lead a better life? It may have been written for those reasons, but I'm sure it has been corrupted ever since.
The oldest written texts that we have found are the Sumerian tablets, dating back to 3.000 BCE. But since the translations are very controversial and there is no definite consensus on what they say exactly, I won't count them as a religion.
The most ancient religious texts are, arguably, the Hindu Vedas. They were written in Sanskrit and could be up to 7.000 years old. Although the only tangible evidence of them exists as two books called the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, dating from 400 BCE and 500 BCE respectively.
After that come the Torah and the Tanakh, the Hebrew texts, supposedly told to Moses by God around 1.300 BCE.
Then, a century later, the old testament makes its appearance on the stage in 450 CE.
Finally, in 632 CE the Qur'an is written.
One that stands out for the period in which it was written is the Bible. It lines up pretty nicely with the fall of the Roman Empire. The old testament was written in 450 CE. In 410 CE the Visigoths, a Germanic barbarian tribe, breached the walls of Rome for the first time. After that wave after wave of barbarians ravaged the Roman empire until eventually Emperor Romulus fell in 476 CE. If you can clearly see this coming, and you have noticed your empire starting to degrade over the last few decades, then how do you maintain control over the people? Easy, you start a religion. You start the Roman Catholic Church.
It's all about control
If you are running the biggest empire in the world, and you see it crumble, then just do something else to hold onto that rule. Preferably make people think you're doing it for their best interests. I am convinced that that is why the Romans created the Bible when they did. They were losing their grasp and had to innovate to maintain it. And for about a millenium it existed, but it wasn't really a big hit. What would you expect? The Romans were in a very public feud with the Jews for 500 years before the Romans decided to make their own version of the story. So, all of a sudden, people were told that the religion they weren't supposed to believe in is now what they should tell their children about. These people weren't stupid, they were living in a dictatorship where, if you broke the law, you'd be sent to the mines as a slave. But I imagine people saying they were Christian, but not really paying it too much attention in their daily lives.
Use the force, pope
If people won't join and become religious fanatics voluntarily, then violence might entice them more easily. Bring on the dark ages. This may have been even more brilliant than writing the Bible itself. It started with the inquisitions and witchhunts, together with the first baby steps of modern medicine, the church jumped on the boat and started their bloody quest for world domination. Witchcraft is the derogatory name for general practitioner before the rise of modern medicine. Witches were the midwives, psychiatrists, doctors, and relationship therapists of all small towns. People knew them, they were familiar, they were regular visitors to people's homes.
The church will take care of you
Imagine living during this period. You're used to a friendly woman you've known your entire life taking care of you and your family. She usually was able to help with your ailments and always told you how she'd do it and which herbs she'd use. Suddenly, something new emerges and you hear rumor of doctors cutting people open to operate, weird concoctions with unknown ingredients, and tales of deadly side effects. Screw that, right?
So the church teams up with the new medical practitioners and starts eradicating these witches and destroy their knowledge. Now your trusted caretaker is dead, and you have no other choice but to go to the new doctors. Your priest tell you that you should trust them instead of the evil witches, and the doctors tell you you should visit the church for your mental health. Brilliant!
They even look alike.
Priest have a black habit, doctors wear a long white coat. The stethoscope for doctors is comparable to the rosary for priests. You go to a big weird smelling building to pray, you go to a big weird smelling building to heal. Holy water for your soul, ointments for your scars. Doctors and nurses, priests and nuns. And let's not forget the cross and the caduceus.
They work together really nicely too. You are born in a hospital, baptized in the church. Then you get married in front of the church, and assistance with marital problems from doctors and psychiatrists. Finally, you get sick and spend your final days in hospital, then you get shipped to a church to be buried.
Whether you like it or not, Rome is still in control of every aspect of your life to this day. Only now it's not called the Empire, instead it's called the Vatican. They own everything that makes up our daily lives. Religion, education, health. And there's really no way out. Sure, you can be an atheist, but you will still need to get that weird bump checked out some day. and even if you never got sick, I'm pretty sure you've been to school. And a big part of schools all start with the word 'saint', don't they?
I'm going to drag the Illuminati into this too, and I haven't even talked about the Conquistadors and missionaries, but thats for future posts. Don't forget, all of this is just speculation on my part. But it sure does make sense. Question everything!