Did religion give an advantage to pre-industrial revolution societies?
Not religion per se, but the church. Church hierarchy foreshadowed the organization of civic government, introduced the concept of an office in which the power and responsibility was vested, and the person exercising it changed when the office holder did (vs. strict line of succession monarchies and fealty fiefdoms). By the time the industrial revolution rolled around, these ideas were already internalized in government structures.
If you have ever seen the incredible amounts of gold & silver in even modest old-world churches, and taken a moment to think about how it was squeezed from people who ate turnips 365 days a year, if they ate at all, all other questions including the suppression of medicine & science, pointless warfare/bloodshed of myriad kinds, torture/witch burning or anything else religion was solely responsible for, fades away. I could hear the screaming of the downtrodden, bamboozled & exploited for....NOTHING.
Since many governments, even the ones that claimed they didn't, created obvious disadvantages for the non religious, or for religions they deemed the "wrong" ones, then of course religion was an advantage for those who practiced it correctly in the eyes of their respective governments and societies. This was the case both before and after the industrial revolution. In fact, the industrial revolution had very little to do with it, beyond creating more jobs for the poor. Nobody cared all that much about how the poor observed their spirituality unless they were caught committing a crime.
The industrial revolution occurred relatively recently. I think religion probably had a unifying quality that likely served as a survival advantage in a much earlier time. It may well have served as a government system setting laws and standards in the abscence of any other system functioning in that capacity.
What came first, the religion or the society?
Did society create religion after attaining a certain level of success? Or did having religion give the society the strength, possible cohesiveness to succeed?
OR like two of the Abrahamic religions, did they simply glob onto successful societies (Rome, Middle East) and like a leech, sucked it's life blood, lived off the fat of the land & technology, until the religions could take over? Like what is happening here. Right now.
I am thinking there are as many answers as there religions and societies
Some religions may have, some may have been harmful and a few may have totally destroyed their societies. Societies, states and cultures, in the past especially, were many and varied, as were religions.
Some say that for example, ( It is debatable. ) the ecology of Easter Island was destroyed, and with it the means to support a large population, by the addiction to making spirit statues of the ancestors, causing too much tree felling. That the Inca religious belief that their empire would only last ninety years, and that it would end with a visit from the gods, made them easy victims for the conquistadors. While on the opposite side, it is said that complex Buddhist marriage laws, may have helped restrict population growth among some cultures in the Himalayas, and thus made for a sustainable way of life. And certainly many early empires only survived because of the belief in holy god kings. It is all very complex.
You can only really ask the question with the qualifier, "overall" and I am not sure that you can even give a good answer to that, without a lot of subjective value judgments, or that the answer would be useful if you could.
Sorry to be a bummer.
Not so much religion, but the weekly community gatherings at places of worship. There people's voices were heard and amplified, those who spoke out against whatever was in charge. So in that way, yes, which is why I voted that. Many revolutions gained ground in this way.
Remember pre-industrial, the only communication was spoken word of mouth really. Printing was not existent or rare and only for the privileged few who could read.
Those willing to look at the science, as opposed to retreating to the comfort of their personal mythologies, will see that religion did in the past, does in the present, and will continue to in the future, give Homo sapiens an adaptive advantage. This is necessarily at the expense of some personal freedoms, but for social species like H. sapiens, the group advantage outweighs the individual costs.