Religion in primitive form is probably as old as humanity, but so is primitive science and the primitive manipulating of light. Each of these human activities is used to form meaning out of the stuff that makes up our universe. As different as each of these human activities seems to be at first sight, each has that ultimate aim of making the world more comprehensible and thus more useful to us humans. It is because of these things that we understand our reality better and thus we are able to live longer, healthier and more contented lives.
Religion provides acceptable answers to ultimately unknowable aspects of our reality. It is known that some questions can not be answered in a definitive way before the event passes, but because some things torment us at times it is comforting to believe a beautiful well wrought myth rather than to float about in a cloud of unknowing and painful confusion. Grabbing hold of a random piece of flotsam in a maelstrom of confusion immediately gives a sense of relationships and purpose.
Science provides testable answers to knowable things, and provides comprehensible laws that function as working guides for how things in the physical world actually will function given known conditions. Some of these relationships are based in mathematics and that is also part of reality; in a sense they are more real than tangible reality because the relationships mathematics can portray are independent of physical being.
Photography is the closest of the art forms to revealing reality directly, and when the object being photographed is flat it can give a nearly indistinguishable copy of the original. Even in three dimensions and even with a flow of time photography can duplicate some original realities remarkably well. In a generalized way all physical visual art forms are manipulating light; they are writing with light, but the exact method of doing this writing varies greatly with the materials being used.
Writing with light supplies the manifestations for people to see things and their relationships, but it is science which provides the technical reality so those things will work in a useful way, and it’s religion that creates a direction for people to quest after when their mundane lives have insufficient emotional charge to motivate them.
Our world is a maelstrom in which we help each other find our way to our ultimate.