In the beginning of our current instance of space-time, a big bang occurred. There is evidence for this. Out of the chaos of the initial energy and matter-antimatter annihilation, the remnants formed simple atoms of protons, neutrons, electrons, etc., which were mostly hydrogen and helium. As matter coalesced and compacted, space-time curved into pockets of gravity wells which drew in even more matter into its cores. Giant spinning clouds enabled smaller spinning clouds to compact and form stars. Larger stars formed heavier elements through ever-increasing pressures, and supernovae distributed this amongst the galactic neighborhood. Rocky planets began forming out of the stellar accretion disk while the stars formed. Some of these planets happened to be positioned in orbits that were close enough to the star to have liquid water, and they were massive enough to retain an atmosphere.
One of these planets, orbiting an ordinary star about halfway out from the center of an ordinary galaxy, later became known as Earth. An unusually large natural satellite helped the evolution of life by adding to the sun's tidal forces which allowed marine animals to interact and adapt with the atmosphere and sunlight in tide pools. Marine life began producing oxygen as a by product of photo-synthesis and an ozone layer was formed, helping to shield the surface from too much ultraviolet radiation. The oxygen in the atmosphere combined with the surface rocks to form granite layers of the earth's crust which floated above the molten heavier magma underneath. The earth, having a spinning core of iron and nickel, produced a magnetic field which helps to shield the earth from dangerous outbursts of solar particles whenever the sun behaves violently. Through many ages of geologic time with meteor bombardments, ice ages, plate tectonic shifting, radioactivity, water cycles, and the burgeoning of diverse life, eventually humans evolved large brains and dexterous hands and curious minds.
Humans have developed highly flexible brains that can invent various methods of dealing with the world around them. It is easy to assign agency to unknown behaviors in nature or anthropomorphize animals. Some called the wind the 'breath of life'. Some believed that volcanoes had gods controlling them and that whenever the volcano erupted and destroyed a village, the god was angry with the people in the village. Events in nature that displayed more power than humans had were attributed to mythical godlike beings that could appear as human, but had wondrous powers.
These beings had stories associated with them which the people would pass on from generation to generation, slightly altering the details every time. Some people came to fear these gods, to adore them, and to worship them. They tried to communicate with these invisible beings with fervent prayer. But no clear reply came back. To satisfy this need, some invented the godly responses, told them to others, and even believed it themselves. A few of these learned that there was power in bringing the words of the gods to others. Common folk would revere these gifted men and treat them royally as they were the conduit from which godly words flowed both to and from the god. This ecclesiastical jurisdiction afforded priests the same powerful influence over the masses as did the ruling classes and government. Religion is man-made.
THE HUMANIST TEN COMMANDMENTS (strongly-worded suggestions for living, the kinds of ideas that, if everyone followed them, might make the world a better place all around)
1) You should strive to promote the greater good of humanity before all selfish desires.
2) You should be curious, for asking questions is the only way to find answers.
3) Harm to your fellow human is harm to humanity. Therefore, you should not kill, rape, rob, or otherwise victimize anyone.
4) You should treat all humans as equals, regardless of race, gender, age, creed, identity, orientation, physical ability, or status.
5) You should use reason as your guide. Science, knowledge, observation, and rational analysis are the best ways to determine any course of action.
6) You should not force your beliefs onto others, nor insist that yours be the only and correct way to live happily.
7) If you govern, you should govern with reason, not with superstition. Religion should have no place in any government which represents all people and beliefs.
8) You should act for the betterment of your fellow humans, and be, whenever possible, altruistic in your deeds.
9) You should be good to the Earth and its bounties, for without it, humankind is lost.
10) You should impart your knowledge and wisdom gained in your lifetime to the next generation, so that with each passing century, humanity will grow wiser and more humane.
There is no evidence for an afterlife. Don't live your life expecting a second chance at the end. Wanting to live forever is a foolish notion. Billions of people may disagree with these words, but many younger people may see the truth in them.
Slavery, terrorism, religious extremism, and genocide should not be tolerated. The Christian bible promotes these behaviors. I abhor them. It is NOT a good book.
Someday, far in the future, mankind may have grown up, putting away its childish ways. Churches still standing will be museums for ancient dogma and belief systems long-discarded. Or, they may be put to good use for humanitarian causes. You can believe whatever you want, but I encourage you to think more than you believe; understand more than you criticize; plan more than you hope, and love more than you thought was possible.