Religion has always been known to bring with it the satisfying and spontaneous experience and factual feeling that one is constantly in intimate communication with a loving Supreme entity unconditionally. Religion simply provides law to human life. Psalm 19 , from the Bible is sheer evidence of this notion and as simply quoted , ‘ The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky recites the works of His hands’.
Religion, in its own essence, has no absolute definition as most of its teachings are derived from personal perspective and thus its estimation in terms of strengths and weaknesses vary greatly. The ways of doing or practicing religion may be uncountable and this leads to its vast explanations as well as diversification. There are basically six major classes of religion that make it enthusiastic and pleasurable to pursue namely, (a) experiential religious experience -this simply refers to being confronted by the numinous ( holy/sacred) or coming into contact with reality, (b) the doctrinal dimension –which is the un substituted formal systematic teachings of a given religious tradition for instance the Holy Trinity in Christianity, (c) the ethical dimension –which emphasizes on how an ideal human being should live, (d) the ritual dimension which virtually relates to ways in which doctrines and values are acted out mainly in the form of sacrifices or initiatory rites ( e.g. prayers, offerings , sacraments, rites of passage),and (e) the final dimension is the social one which deals with the ways in which religions organize and situate themselves in the society.
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The overall strangeness and mystery about religion is the fact that its so much connected to the inner attitudes involving human acts such as believing , trusting , dependence and faith. All above intertwined result in the creation of confidence , courage and ultimate hope.
The aforesaid beliefs also facilitate to bring about the binding stance one takes towards the mystery of life and death.
Additionally, there exists three significant questions that human beings always query much about in their endless search for the meaning of life and which arise mostly after thorough soul searching for oneself. These outrageous but important questions tend to bring humanity closer to religion and are as follows, (i) where did I come from/ origin , (ii)where will I end or destiny and meaning , and (iii) what’s the purpose of the life I now live?. When these questions cross over any one’s mind, the need and realization of religion crops up and individuals thus seek membership in any suitable religion.
Religion has always been embraced and seen by many as a proven and renowned effective methodology of bringing about changes in peoples lives in way of seeking answers and meanings - religion is very much interconnected with the compelling human tendency to find answers for ultimate questions like to discover the meaning of life and death.
Religious beliefs have been known to be a major player in the desire for a good relationship and experience. This human desire for a relationship with an experience of ultimate reality like the transcendent and the sacred , makes the need for religion to naturally grow out of emphasis which in turn create religious experiences like spiritual birth etc. Activity issues like mediation and prayer have also been derived from this fact and act as an enhancement to this kind relationship and experience with the supreme.
Valuing is also a vital phenomenon as far as religion is concerned. This is because it ( religion) acts as a facilitator and connector of doing what is good thus enabling a human being to want to follow only that which is superior and hence the derivation of such societal phrases like , family values etc.
Being religious also calls for a need and desire self transformation in the form of salvation, liberation and the carrying out of activities that are acceptable to the Supreme and other individuals as well. As a way of demonstrating the aforesaid effect, an individual features prominently on becoming a better person either by their behavior, quality of life as well as morally.
As adversely mentioned , religion comes in may ways and forms and all these are somehow represented and viewed in various applications and aspects of life like the ancient view, which is biblical though not uniquely. This is a belief that everything earthly has a heavenly counterpart and vice versa. Then comes the spiritual view which literally divides the human beings into souls and body and which claims that the soul is usually trapped in the body until it eventually finds its way back to heaven where it came from. The third ideology is the materialistic view which states that there is no God, heaven or even soul but only the material existence, which are represented by the five senses like , hear , feel, touch and taste. This scientific religious view adds that humans cease to exist except as chemicals and atoms that once constituted them. However, the theological view claims of a supernatural realm not known by the senses while the integral view sees everything from an outer and inner aspect. Among all the above descriptions of religion, only the ancient biblical and the integral views are the more popular than the rest.
Effects of religious beliefs have constantly and widely been referred to as a way to show people that they can be changed, liberated and reborn. This claim therefore pre-supposes that people can become better and different from what they were before such transformation began. Incidentally, a need for community arises with the realization of the human need for support and encouragement and this brings the religion aspect about relationships with the ultimate reality into a glance as religion is not concerned with the former only but considers as equally desirable, the relationships with other human beings.
The most desirable truth in religion is that the moral element is highly impacted and religions without moral teachings are quite often very rare and mostly non-existent. For instance, the western religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam , emphatically consider morality and religion to be inseparable. They greatly regard and refer to God’s commands and direction often and strongly rely on them for moral control and practices. This is evident for example in the Jewish Bible, where the prophetic writings illustratively consider , ‘ God is holy and just and thus people covenanted with God are expected to be the same with one another and the way they treat each other’, from the Christian perspective however, the same is truly evidence by the fact the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ , was known to be more of a moral teacher than a religious leader and as quoted from the Christian Bible , Mathew 22:36-40, Jesus taught that the greatest commandments of all were , (i) To love God and (ii) to love one’s neighbor as thyself. There is substance in the fact that the Islamic religion includes many insights from Christianity and Jewish and as its founder, Prophet Mohammed taught, ‘Allah / God expects true believers to walk a straight path’ , clearly and precisely illustrates the moral commitment fact derived and expected from being religious.
Whether true or not, religious beliefs have more often been believed and openly known to shape the way people behave and this fact has always motivated and driven human beings to view morality as intrinsically religious and ethical. This intertwined but un-conditional imperative gives ultimate seriousness to culture and religion which are both crucial determinants of our daily lives. The religious rules and regulations, which are adherent to, act as stimulants in changing a human beings way of life and also double as the governing protocol to those who neglect or ignore them. Most religious people have always been known to relate and view some religious beliefs as an aspect of undermined morals if such beliefs are not securely based on a belief in God and would therefore deliberately and purposefully tend to ignore or keep off anything of such nature or origin.
Since the quest for knowledge, friendship and appreciation for beauty are the greatest known sources of human pleasure, the various religions have incorporated them in their beliefs so as to bring out the true meaning of life, happiness and the satisfaction that religion exerts on the lives of those who would otherwise be empty in their souls.
Possessions and pleasures have always been regarded as supplemental agents in making life more enjoyable as well as enabling possibility of positive things. Religion , plays a big role in facilitating this kind of elusive dream turn into reality in that by following the laid out statutes in the various religions, people tend to become more careful with their life-styles and by doing so become more organized both financially, economically and spiritually. This responsible behavior , which culminates from good religious teachings and follow-ups motivate people into working hard and in turn they become financially stable and able as well.
Religious groupings are also very crucial as far as being of good financial standing is concerned. This is because people of the same religious category tend to boost one another in their activities and consequently promote harmony, team-work , spiritual well being as well as their economic status. Funds usually contributed by the members of the various religious groups contribute greatly in the growth and advancement of a country’s economy in that it’s usually utilized in a strategic and constructive manner to build facilities like hospitals, theatres, charitable homes for the destitute and many others. Such funds have also on several occasions been donated as charity to help the poor and the less privileged in the society in clearing say hospital bills as well as to provide the basic amenities of life like houses , which would otherwise remain an illusion to many leave alone getting near to them ( basic amenities). Good religious beliefs should not only be strongly recommended and encouraged but should equivocally be upheld as they are the only significant root as well as backbone to a healthy and ethical society at large. Apart from the medical way of bringing sanity to humanity, nothing else has been proven resilient enough as to tame the human mind like religion.
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