Before looking at how perceptions were formulated in others, I think it only fair I use myself as an example. Having searched for a plausible solution to the enigma of human origins for several decades, I may not in establishment terms be deemed an expert but I feel it at least qualifies me to give a reasonably informed opinion. So this is how I see it.....
For some reason we are of the opinion that life is pretty rare, maybe non-existent outside of our own little planet. To believe this is incredibly short-sighted or extremely arrogant. Life is just a series of chemical reactions producing energy, energy is life. It is going on all over the universe, at all different levels. If the universe was 'created' it wouldn't have been done so to specifically produce mankind.
Evolution may have been responsible for life on this planet but something just doesn't add up. The transition from Neanderthal to Modern Man is too severe. Scientists have been looking for the missing link for as long as I can remember, but there isn't one. With there being no signs of genocide found on Neanderthals it only leaves two options. They mysteriously died out maybe by some disease Modern Man was immune to, is one tenuous possibility, but I think they simply integrated.
I read quite recently scientists found some Neanderthal DNA in our species but cannot remember exactly the details. It just reinforced the view I've always held. The answer to the question of why we aren't more like Neanderthals if they are our ancestors, is due to neoteny. Evolution is merely adaptation. Our genes were just stronger than those of Neanderthals. Our comparative 'child-like' appearance is a by-product. An alternate argument is that Neanderthals evolved into modern man after the ice-age to adapt to the warmer climes.
The problem with that is the ice-age only finished 10,000 years ago and Neanderthals seemed to vanish 30,000 years ago. The biggest problem with the believe we evolved from Neanderthals is with brain structure. From a brain geared up to sight, sound and instinct, we were suddenly bestowed with an analytical brain, separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom. There is only one way this can be explained...... a creator.
Now before you religious folk go all cock-a-whoop with the 'I told you so's', it's not exactly the creator you have in mind. It's certainly not any creator of the universe. I doubt even we were created, we were adapted. It is safe to assume there is life outside our solar system, it's also safe to assume that since our star is merely middle-aged there will be life at a more advanced stage than our own. The crux of the matter is whether any life visited us.
The adverse affects of their interference now leaves them with a moral dilemma. Interfere again and perhaps make a bad situation worse or leave us to our own devices and hope we can sort it out ourselves. Maybe they just left after they saw what self-destructive savages we are. Who knows? The point is, whether you want to call them Gods or just interstellar busy-bodies, their existence is certain.
Perhaps they interacted with us, maybe they still do to a lesser degree, but far from us praying for their forgiveness, I think they should be issuing us with a massive apology.
Okay so that is a synopsis of my overall perception, some will agree with it in part, some will disagree completely, and no doubt a few will want to kill me, but that is just my opinion. The real issue is how I formulated that opinion and that began at a very early age.
I came from a mixed family. My mother was Catholic and my father atheist. My father didn't really express views on religion, he didn't care one way or the other so wasn't put out when I was baptised or went to a Catholic primary school. By then I was already a fan of Santa so welcomed this God person into my life. I became an altar boy and had a healthy respect for the church. The priests were beyond reproach although one or two nuns who taught us were sadists.
By the time I was losing my teeth I had sort of latched on to the Tooth-Fairy being fake but went along with it for the cash (I was even known to become a little impatient and prise one or two stubborn teeth out). The news Santa wasn't real was a huge body blow (don't worry kids I found out later he was Santa) and it was shortly before I went to 'big school'. This made me question things and sparked my research.
Initially I dismissed the Bible as total twaddle. Things were just too incredible to be true. Santa visiting all the children in one night, a flood that covered the whole planet, parting the Red Sea, resurrecting people, complete bollocks! However, I wanted to be objective and I needed to look into things more before dismissing them. My research took me in many directions and something weird started to happen. The impossibilities not only became possibilities but probabilities.
One thing I noticed early on was the problem in looking at ancient events with a modern perception. It simply doesn't work, yet it is on this basis the vast majority of people formulate their opinions. This is how things get twisted and how evil people with an agenda manipulate those unable to think for themselves.