Thanks for clarifying, here are some references to help:
"Why Does Man Need religion?" http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/wiebe041105.html
(See: "What is Civilization," in The History Guide. Cited in:
Religion in the Ancient World -
It is fascinating to note that many of the archetypal myths that have been handed down from culture to culture seem to have sprung from the Ancient World. All civilizations have a creation story, a flood story, stories to help explain the unpredictability of the universe, and stories to guide the moral and ethical values of a civilization in a way that perpetuates itself. Some scholars have even theorized that all humans may share the same cultural mythos because of either the universality of the human mind and condition or the commonality of experience.
(See: Joseph Campbell works, for instance: http://mythosandlogos.com/Campbell.html)
Religion is a way for humans to do several things: it organizes our thoughts and allows us to feel a commonality with others; it helps us understand the unknowable; it provides a reason for the unexplainable; it controls and organizes our lives; it allows the hierarchy to often control the underclass; and it provides comfort in this world knowing that there might be a place better after death.
Great reference for different philosophies: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/DicHist/analytic/anaVI.html
(See: "Ancient Religions," in http://www.religion-cults.com/ancient.htm)
Now, to start tying this together, I have attached a brief matrix outlining some of the major thoughts and priciples surrounding the study of "knowing," which seems to be what you are searching for in your inquiry.
Descartes will help you with "how do humans know what they know. For instance: read one of my essays on Cartesian relalism:
Rationalism, in philosophy, shares a number of principles of Empiricism: both say that humans do not know things directly but only by their impressions on what they observe or attempt to understand. Rationalism is more concerned with what impressions are made upon the mind (intellect), whereas Empiricism focuses on the senses. In essence, then, the critical question becomes: Can humans be certain of the existence of known objects, and if so, to what extend can humans be certain of this relationship? In the modern world then, rationalism has become "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge of justification (Lacey 286). This, of course, has engendered numerous interpretations of the methodology of acquiring verifiable knowledge, and can be traced back to the Socratic life of inquiry, through hundreds of years of asking - how do we know what we know? Is the "unique path to knowledge... that reason has precedence over other ways of acquiring knowledge?" (Audi 771). And, it the task of exploring rationalism changed somehow by the actual study and interpretation of that knowledge. While we know that this basic question has been debated for centuries, it was Rene' Descartes who focused more that only the discovery of reasonable knowledge and eternal truths were found by reason alone. These truths, for Descartes, included the basic language of the universe for him - mathematics, as well as the epistemological and metaphysical foundations of the sciences as a whole. Other knowledge, for example the knowledge required by utilizing one's experiences within the world, were aided by epistemological study (Markie). Decorates, too, found that the pursuit of truth was the foundation and reason for being and for the precise center of the individual road towards actualization. This resulted in Descartes deducing that this pursuit should include a sense of doubt about every belief - question everything and the answers will arise. Thus, one of the main contributions of Descartes to the philosophical discourse was that as a result of his method of rationalization, reason alone determines knowledge - completely independent of other senses. To more fully understand and flesh out the basis of Cartesian Rationalism, though, it is necessary to examine his quest for knowledge, his method, his ideas on metaphysics, his view on the divine and cosmology, his thoughts on dualism and ethics, and then the culmination of his basis of rationalism. Descartes the man lived from 1596 to 1650. He is known as the "Father of Modern Philosophy," and was also influential in changing the manner in which mathematics and most particularly analytical geometry were formulated during the Scientific Revolution. When he was eleven, he entered a Jesuit School then moved on to the University of Poitiers where he received what would now be termed his J.D. During military service between 1618 and 1620, Descartes became interesting in the geometrical properties of a heavy object and the physic of weaponry. Luckily for him, he made a few wise investments, and was able to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Descartes live in the Dutch Republic (modern day Holland) until 1649, where he continued to study mathematics and astronomy. Because of the problems with Galileo and the Catholic Church, Descartes decided against publishing some of his material in the early 1630s but continued to write for the rest of his life. His work remained controversial, and in 1663, Pope Alexander VII placed all available copies of Descartes' works on the infamous "Index of Prohibited Books" (Grayling, 2006). From an early age, Descartes was critical of many of the current philosophies of his time. Turning regularly to the Ancient Greeks for inspiration, he sought to find a more practical use and methodology for philosophy in general. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Descartes was gifted in mathematics and geometry, and used those gifts to emphasize a system of thinking that combined the clear certainty of mathematical theory with observable fact - all independent of the theological dogma so popular in his time. Descartes was an omnivorous reader - so many things interested him it was often hard to focus. However, it was his rabid interest in metaphysics and mathematical knowledge caused him to develop what is known as the Cartesian Method. This metrology focuses on mathematical deductions but combines metaphysics and continual self-observation to find the truth. For Descartes, mathematics proceeds from principles (called axioms), which, in turn, form the beginning of all deduction. From the deduction then ...
Various worldviews are discussed.
Understanding the Conscious Life
Accepting the assumption that something is there rather than that nothing is there is said to be the beginning of conscious life. What is meant by this statement and why is it important to the meaning of life?
See p. 19