1 – as to any ‘beginning’ to the universe, the central question is whether time has any meaning at the extremes. We simply do not know the answer. But we know enough to know, that we do not know the answer. Ergo, any argument to ad-infinitum is no more likely than any argument to singularity because we don’t know if there is a difference.
Note that I think in terms of persistence. And so whether there is a beginning to the universe is not as material as whether we persist (survive) the behavior of the universe.
2 – As long as the set of forces that constitute mass-radiation-space-time are constant, there is no reason that the universe or universes do not simply pulse indefinitely, although it is very difficult to say whether they follow in sequence or repeat the same time over and over again. We just don’t know.
3 – there are deep psychological reasons that cause us to seek the psychological safety of the pack in various group activities – and they are chiefly the result of living in large numbers rather than consanguineous bands and tribes. This need exists at the personal subconscious level, the group level(community), and the tribal (regional) level. And religions evolved to assist us in establishing normative expectations of one another on the one hand, and reducing the burden of uncertainty and fear of outsiders and being outside on the other.
4 – As we have seen people seek replacement for talking around the campfire, being read to, watching a play or movie, listening to talking in church, listinening to lectures in university, watching people talk on television. The phenomenon is always the same.
5 – We have seen people able to obtain the feeling of submission of reason to the pack (which is what feels good about religion) by many possible means: disciplined ritual, disciplined though (stoicism’s virtues), disciplined internal conversation (prayer), and disciplined quietude (buddhist meditation).
6 – We have seen people use music and dancing, group runs and walks, organized sports, hunting, festival, holiday, and feast – even parade and war.
7 – Each of these dimensions provides increasing safety of the pack in a world where – since agrarianism – we have existed uncomfortably as individuals. This allows us to ‘rest’ our minds from teh constant effort of reason and our constant battle with uncertainty whenever modernity’s comforting consumptions are insufficient for us to counter alienation that it produces.
8 – The question remains why we must rely on lies (supernatural) rather than myths, legends, and aspirations. There is no reason to rely upon lies, superstitions, and falsehoods – because they are, just like alcohol and drugs, methods of escape and deceit, and self harm. The wonder of being human, of what we have done in our short time, and what we may yet do, is enough for us.