The problem of the origin of religion is shown to be equivalent to the problem of the origin of the notion of a higher or transcendent power. For the sake of generality, this issue can be characterized as the problem of the origin of ultimate concern for ultimate meaning. Past perspectives have linked the origin of religious processes to evolutionary mechanisms, others to sociological processes, and still others to psychological functions. Each position has interest and sheds a different light on a necessarily complex process. Existing perspectives, however, fail to resolve four critical issues. The paper sketches a new, synthetic perspective which resolves these issues through the integration of critical theological, sociological, psychological, evolutionary, and neurophysiological concepts.