If you go to any place within our culture and ask them "Do you know how to be saved?" You will be universally understood. Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all religions that teach that there is fundamentally something wrong with every one of us, and that the most important thing in this life, is the need to be saved. This is something that noone else can do for you, and your salvation is what matters most to you.
But if you go to the remaining .1% of our population that lives in a different culture and ask them the same question you'll get a very different response. "What? What do I need to be saved from?" If you talk to missionaries who originally went to some of these cultures, you'll hear that they recieved the same responses. The people of other cultures don't feel that there is anything inherently wrong with them. In order for someone to want to be saved, you have to convince them that there is something wrong. This is one of the biggest problems missionaries face.
Why is it that evolutionary scientists don't need to read Darwin's book daily, and physicists don't need to read Newton's Laws daily, but hundreds of millions of people need to read their respective Holy Books daily? For the exact same reason that missionaries have difficulty spreading their religions to different cultures. People need to be convinced, and constantly reminded that there is something inherently wrong with them, and that the most important thing in their life is salvation.
What caused us to believe that their is something wrong with humans? For hundreds of thousands of years humans existed without giving this idea a second thought. Something did go wrong, but it wasn't the nature of humans. It was our culture.
The Agricultural Revolution is one of the most overlooked and amazing developments in the history of the human race. The traditional reason that people give for the birth of this development is that it was a response to famine. But hungry people don't plant a seed, especially during a famine. Hungry people go find food.
There are many types of agriculture. But the Agricultural Revolution gave birth to a very specific type of agriculture: totalitarian agriculture. And with this new type of agriculture came a new vision. For hundreds of thousands of years hundreds and thousands of differnet human cultures shared a similar vision: "the world is sacred, and so are we." But in the Fertile Cresent, with the development of totalitarian agriculture, this singular culture developed a new vision: "the world was made to be conquered, and man was made to conquer it."
This new vision alone was not what lead to the almost universal culture we see today. For out of one thousand differenet cultures, a singular radical and destructive one, does not pose a great threat to the world. What was needed for this new culture to explode was the desire to expand.
For hundreds of thousands of years various tribes and cultures would periodically be at war with each other. One year tribe X would attack tribe Y, inflcit some damage, and then leave. For the following three years there would be virtual peace between the two cultures. Then the next year tribe Y would attack tribe X. To infinity. They did not fight for land, they did not desire to and had no interest in spreading their culture. Why then did they fight?
None of these cultures believed that their culture was the only right culture. They simply did what worked best for them. War was their way of saying "my culture is here, and I can defend it if I need to." Violence is not a destructive thing for all species. It is a control that leads to diversity, and ultimately better chances of survival for the species and individual as a whole. The vast majority of violence exhibited in nature is intraspecies for precisely this reason. Among ten thousand cultures, one destructive culture dosen't pose much of a threat to the survival of the human race as a whole.
But this new culture that was evolving in the Fertile Cresent alongside the introduction of totalitarian agriculture believed something that no human culture had ever believed for hundreds of thousands of years. And that was that their culture was the only right culture. Mixed together with totalitarian agriculture, and their new vision, this third ingredient created a very flamable gunpowder that ignited and swept across the entire globe. Like gunpower, all three indregients need to be present in order for the mixture to have an explosive effect. And ignite the world it did. This singular culture is ten thousand years old, and in that relatively short time has managed to engulf the entire Earth in flames.
Totalitarian agriculture does not bring an end to famine. It dosen't make a more secure food source than hunting and gathering. Totalitarian agriculture is the most labourious source of food production ever invented. Study after study has shown that the more calories you intake, the harder you have to work for your food. Why then would people turn away from a lifestyle that only required a couple hours a day to find and consume ample amounts of food, to accept a lifestyle that required 12 hours of some of the most labourious and back breaking work ever invented and that provided less food than before?
Because in a culture that has totalitarian agriculture, food is power. What you do not consume, you can sell. Alongside this new form of food production, the earliest forms of what we call a true economy developed. Before this culture arrived, there had never been a single crime commited in the hundreds of thousands of years that proceeded it. Before this new era discrepencies were handled in the same way you might handle someone making you angry. There were no invented laws. There were no police, judges, or politicians. The community would deal with situations in whatever way best suited the entire community.
As we all know and are seeing more and more everyday, making something illegal and punishing offenders does not help the victim, does not help the accused, and does not help the community. What laws are is a source of power. And as people began to taste the power that wealth brought them, they decided to manufacture laws to gain even more power and protect their interests. For hundreads of thousands of years previous to this new culture, their is not one record of a single law ever being in existence. People lived in cultures with no crimes and they accomplished this without ever making any laws.
As the years went by people became wealthier and wealthier, and simultaneously people became poorer and poorer. This is what caused the first ever crime in human history to be committed. And as people became wealthier and poorer crimes grew in number and size. Before this event, noone felt they needed to be saved because they never saw anything that lead them to believe that there was something wrong with them. But as this new culture and totalitarian agriculture spread, people began to see the murders, rapes, theiveries, and other horrific crimes that came with it. No longer were their mutually benificial wars that increased diversity in the human population. This was a new breed of war. One whose sole purpose was to gain new land for agriculture, spread the one right culture, and gain more and more wealth. This is when people began to ask that question in the back of their mind: "What's wrong with us?"