It may come as a surprise, but atheism (the absence of a belief in deities) is the oldest worldview of modern humans and predates the first religion by 190,000 years. It developed in Africa some 200,000 years ago and spread wherever human beings went to live. The first group of Homo sapiens, some time during the Middle Stone Age, probably lives on roots and carrion and has primitive stone tools. They know they have only themselves to thank for, and possibly their ancestors who showed them how to make and use them. None of them asks where they come from. They'd need a more complex language for that, anyway.

And once they improve the ability to articulate themselves, they have more important things to discuss. Coordinating hunts, for example, and agreeing on rules to live by to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the group.

As the millennia go by, they might become curious about their origins. We don't know whether they already start asking where they come from, but we know for certain that they don't come up with any nonsensical pseudo-answers. Not just yet.

A lot of humans leave Africa and start populating the rest of the world. Many of them are burying their dead. They're still atheists, though, and the burial is not a ritual but a way to remove a decomposing body from the community for hygienic reasons. Cremations serve the same purpose.

Men start making figurines of naked women. They still don't believe that those women have superpowers, they just like naked women.

People start painting caves. They still haven't invented the supernatural, they just enjoy painting pictures, each to their own taste and ability: some paint buffalo, some paint spirals, and some just do a handprint.

The first hard evidence of the existence of religion comes from the first written documents from about 5,000 years ago, such as the Kesh Temple Hymn, the Legend of Etana and the Pyramid Texts, all of which indicate that society at that time had been entirely religionised.

Film Duration: 54 min