Many in history have pointed to the comforting nature of religion as a way of explaining its existence.

It is argued that religion emerged in human society as some sort of metaphysical coping mechanism to help deal with the inevitable hardships of every-day existence. Belief in the existence of a loving caretaker of humanity, predestination, and a kingdom of paradise after death all act to assuage the fear and sadness that define a large portion of our lives. It is likely that a happier, more content individual will be more likely to live a successful life and reproduce than his despondent counterpart, and thus being comforted by religion produces a net increase in evolutionary fitness. However, while many of the faithful may well find great comfort in their belief, the comfort hypothesis fails in the one facet that matters the most to [our] empirical investigation– the ability to explain religion as an evolutionary adaptation. For this theory to work, it would have to be a basic tenant of human cognition to find comfort in beliefs that are obviously not true. Humans are not generally easily deluded creatures [cite? explain? expand?]; why should this be any different in the case of religion? [For example: If I drop a hammer on your toe, but tell you it was only a feather, your toe is still going to hurt; and asserting that you are tucked into your nice warm bed when you are actually immersed in the freezing North Atlantic won’t do much to warm your bones.] There appears to be no significant [ontological] difference between the cases just presented and those that arise as a result of religious belief, and thus there is no evidence that the former should have evolved into the latter. Regardless of any benefit produced by such belief, evolution requires that there be a clear increase in reproductive fitness due to this trait prior to the transformation of prereligious self-delusion into the structured delusions of a religious society. As this is not the case for comforting delusions, comfort as an adaptation in and of itself is ruled out. [But perhaps there is more separating empirical delusion from metaphysical delusion than a casual glance would suggest. While one can easily determine the validity of an [existential] claim such as one pertaining to ones physical state, it is much more difficult, if not truly impossible to determine the validity of religious claims that attempt to address facets of existence beyond the reach of human inquiry. One can not prove that there is a god overlooking the affairs of humanity, but neither can they make evidentiary claims otherwise. It is a fundamental aspect of religious belief to blindly accept assertions of supernatural [existence] despite evidence to the contrary, but what about the nature of human psychology could explain this as an evolutionary adaptation? Nowhere else in human experience do we find such blind acceptance. This being the case, it is unlikely at best that such a trait would exist solely in the presence of religious belief and not in pre-religious society, and thus an adaptationist examination of the trait would suggest that it is likely resultant of other evolutionary adaptations or social pressure, rather than an adaptation [in and of itself.]]