I was surprised with this great little book: “Civilization Before Greece and Rome” c. 1989, H. W. F. Saggs. The last chapter is entitled: “Ancient Religion” and deals with the “religious phenomena that united ancient society, rather than details that set them apart.”
He begins with how “Western man tends to see religion in terms of doctrines or ethical systems, or even social programmes. Unreformed* religions of the ancient world had nothing of this. There were no doctrines in the sense of definitions of required belief, and accepted standards of conduct were not explicitly linked to religion. Good behavior was more a matter of conforming to age-old custom than of framing one’s conduct in the light of a devine decree.” (p.268)
We still have a lot of that “conforming to age-old custom” in us. We can’t help it, even if raised by wolves, we’d learn some behavior, at least some of those behaviors that wolves would consider good. You can be a little “pagan” and still learn what is acceptable and what is not.
The greatest change in believers and non-believers in the past fifty or so years was the changes that occurred in the R. Catholic Church (RCC). Not afterlife or anything that (IMHO) central to the RCC but the changes de-mystified (Is that a good word?) the Mass, the change from Latin to local language, reversing the altar, greater participation by the members during the Mass and I don’t know what all else.
Oh, I’m gonna keep using these #%@&* codes 'til I get 'em right.