Did the Indo-European people actually view the gods as physical or meta-physical beings beyond the view as archetypes?
If so, does this mean that the Indo-European people were, technically, atheists? Of course, I make no connection to the current wave of atheism, that is a whole other discussion that I want to avoid!
My thinking is that ceremonies and sacrifices alone don't constitute as "religious" activities if your gods are closer to you (not transcendental) than just floating in the sky. Does this make sense or should I explain more?
Edit 1 - Upon the request of Others
I mention Indo-European because it does, in fact, encompass a wide variety of people.
I wanted to start this discussion here because I don't want philosophy to be the main impetus. If the European people thought of their gods as more physical than transcendental, it would imply that the people would consider it to be a way of life rather than religious behavior. Similar situations can be found in the military with "warrior ethos" when young warriors are expected to attend special ceremonies and other abstract forms of sacrifice for the common way of life.
Edit 2 - Interesting Point
The reason I felt necessary to bring it up was that of the idea that the gods and goddesses of old could have been real people or aliens, I don't know. Essentially, it could have been a group of people that were highly influencial in their times to have deserved to stay on peoples lips beyond their deaths. Of course, as all things passed down vocally, stories change and it would have to be our job to not necessarily take stories like the Eleusinian Mysteries too seriously. I liken it to how some of the Japanese, when first laid eyes upon a train, decided to call it a fire-breathing dragon or whatever name they could come up with at the time. The choices of words are made by individual people. However, it doesn't seem to me to point, as evidence, that the Europeans were really religious in the forms that we are used to today with the Abrahamic religions.
The appearance of a god or goddess, as I see it, are representations or real events that have been distorted unintentionally and intentionally, depending on the tongue that spoke. So ceremonies that came forth out of the stories could have just been a social event in remembrance of these gods and goddesses, or significant leaders.