Cultural historian, Christopher Dawson, long argued in his many writings that religion is central to culture, and that it is impossible to understand any civilization without a close and respectful examination of the essential role religion plays within the formation and continuation of human civilization.
A recent story in the National Geographic may cause atheists and "cultured despisers of religion" to lose a little sleep. It may also cause some standard assumptions in most textbooks that start with culture giving birth to religion to be adjusted.
Göbekli Tepe is where history about the interplay between religion and culture is being rewritten. One key paragraph highlights the significance, Archaeologists are still excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about our species' deep past. Just 20 years ago most researchers believed they knew the time, place, and rough sequence of the Neolithic Revolution—the critical transition that resulted in the birth of agriculture, taking Homo sapiens from scattered groups of hunter-gatherers to farming villages and from there to technologically sophisticated societies with great temples and towers and kings and priests who directed the labor of their subjects and recorded their feats in written form. But in recent years multiple new discoveries, Göbekli Tepe preeminent among them, have begun forcing archaeologists to reconsider.
After you read this article, make sure you purchase and read Dawson's Religion and the Rise of Western Culture which demonstrates that the Christian religion was a dominate maker and shaper of Western civilization and Enquiries into Religion and Culture for greater insight into what is at stake when the essential role religion has in human civilization and culture is ignored.