Why do we have religions?

@Pose123 (21671)
Canada
July 22, 2008 9:53am CST
Is there any need for organized religion? That is a question which more and more people appear to be pondering in today's world. A friend told me recently that he felt religion was a business whereby people are promised a reward in an afterlife. Should religion be about an afterlife, or should it be concerned with this life and leave tomorrow to take care of itself? Is the idea of a God who wants to be worshipped nothing more than a human creation? The great teachers of the past and present all seem to be telling us about the importance of living this life in peace, of treating others the way we would want to be treated, of making this world a better place for everyone. On the other hand, it is our nature to hope for something more when this life is over. There are very few who would not want to see again those we have loved and lost from human sight, but does this mean that we need religion? There are many who say that it is because of religion, that we have law and order in our society, that there would be complete anarchy without it. While I believe that the teachings of Jesus Christ and others have had a great affect on our way of life, there have been times when religion has actually hurt us. I am not saying that we should not believe in God or life after death, that has to be a choice for everyone, but shouldn't we be most concerned with how we live today, how we treat our neighbour today, isn't this moment really the only time we have or will ever have? Please let's have a good discussion here without bashing each other for our beliefs.
7 people like this
19 responses
• United States
23 Jul 08
I recently read somewhere that all religions would thrive if they would just mind their own business. People can believe what ever they want to believe. It's when they start killing and condemning every body else that the trouble starts. Hehehe, there is a Mennonite preacher who lives down the road from me. He was sitting on my mother's porch one day trying to interest us in his religion. My mother told him she was not into organized religion. He laughed and said "You should come to our church then, we are very disorganized. I thought that was pretty funny. Anyway, I think organized religion is totally unnecessary as each of us is equipped with our own inner guidance - which is infinitely superior to artificially preserved guidance that was intended for an entirely different culture and civilization. We are all of us extensions of the God force and if we go within to where the physical aspect connects to spirit aspect, and keep that connection clear and open then the essence of God is You, joyously thrilling in the physical expression of itself. And if all of us cultivated that connection there would be no need for government or religion. Why would All That Is need to make rules for itself to mindlessly follow and rigidly try to keep itself controlled and confined? The idea is ridiculous!
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
24 Jul 08
Hi zigzagbuddha, Thank you for commenting. We think very much alike. Blessings.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Jul 08
The response I posted to your discussion was hardly a comment. I am only just now getting around to commenting. I appreciate that you take the time to acknowledge everybody who replies to your discussions. I really do. And I don't want to hurt your feelings or anything, because I like you, but if the only thing you are ever going to say to me is 'Thank you for commenting' I am going to have to assume that I absolutely bore you and find some other way to waste my time.
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Jul 08
I commented on another discussion of your Pose and then I saw this one. ZigZag's responses are always a great read and I could not resist keeping her thread going...including the last one. I have also noticed that you do respond to every response...but in the same way with almost everyone. Why is that? Zigzag put some great concepts on the table...and there was up uptake to them. I love exchanging ideas with you...but miss the lack of follow-through as well. Zigzag I agree that any religion that diminishes our ability to think outside the box and beyond the parameters of any man-made doctrine or ideology is...RIDICULOUS! Raia
@justinus (1112)
• Karawaci, Indonesia
23 Jul 08
Hello, AGREED ! Christ didn't make religion but taught a good HABITUAL for peoples, pls review John Lenon's lyric in IMAGINE :" ...if there was no country/and no religion too/etc...." I quoted at my early post here at my Lot and got much opponents .... I think John's is really, really pure and christian ... ceer !!!
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
23 Jul 08
Hi justinus, Thank you for commenting and you're right Christ didn't start a religion. Jesus Christ was not a Christian! Blessings.
1 person likes this
@justinus (1112)
• Karawaci, Indonesia
23 Jul 08
You are very well come. I saw religions much be exploited as politics mixed to business etc... although they don't realize or don't aware of it ... see you !
1 person likes this
@Harley009 (1420)
• India
23 Jul 08
USA is not a nation, they made some boarders to Canada and Mexico to identify the limits and set some rules for the well fare of people, and some leaders to manage it :D
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Jul 08
In my view we do not "need" religions...but they can, and often do provide guidelines for spiritual living when they are based on love, respect, honor, compassion, and accountability. To me there are many religious people who are not spiritual and many spiritual people who do not follow any particular religion. Those who operate from a center of love and acceptance rather than hate and judgment and strive to "Know God" and be a conduit for love and light do not need a guru or religious leader dictating the "right" and "wrong" way to live...because they are guided through their connection to Source. If people are seeking answers I truly believe they come from Within. In my view we are spiritual beings going through human experiences on a soul path of discovery and eventual enlightenment. When we slow down and listen to that Still Small Voice Within...all that we need to know will be given...if we allow ourselves to hear. At least that is my experience. Raia
2 people like this
• United States
29 Jul 08
One day, not too long ago, I commented to my sister that I was getting much better at recognizing that 'Still Small Voice Within' (excellent description!) amid the clamor of all the other louder and more aggressive voices in my head. I was making curtains for my son at the time, and it was only a few short minutes after I had 'bragged' to my sister about my 'hearing' that a very small, quiet voice in the back of my mind said "Measure twice, sew once". I ignored it. About 20 minutes later I was back at the table removing the double row of tight stitching that had taken me only a few minutes to do but about 3 hours to undo... I had got the measurements wrong. So, not only is it important to be able to hear and recognize the voice, it is also important to act on it. Hehehehe.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
29 Jul 08
Hi Raia, Thanks for your comment, You have stated it perfectly. Blessings.
22 Jul 08
Power corrupts and this has never been more true than with many of the organised religions, the Roman Catholic church and it's offspring being the worst example of this. Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but ORGANISED religion is dangerous and wrong. Organised religion means indoctrinating children in to a belief that they have no defence against. They are given no option to make up their own mind and by the time they have the mental faculties to do so, most already have spent a lifetime buying in to the belief system and/or feel pressured to conform (this is especially true in Christian and Muslim) faiths. Even IF one of these belief systems happens to be true. Indoctrinating children like this is WRONG, both morally and ethically. Unfortunately though, the alternatives leave us with very little room to move. Despite ORGANISED religion being bad, there is nothing wrong with believing in anything you want, so long as it's a choice the individual (and the individual alone) has made, free from influence or coercion (which is exactly what it is to be brought up under a religious faith). But what does that leave us? By the same token we can't BAN religion. If only religious organisations stopped pretending they had the answers,and being so stubborn. If we had a society that values questions more than answers, and operated on the basis that we may never have the answer and the journey for it is more important anyway, we would have a more peaceful and enlightened society.
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
22 Jul 08
Hi crazeedood, Thank you for responding, and I enjoyed your comments very much. You have obviously given it much thought. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@uath13 (8227)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Thanks, your response left me absolutely NOTHING to say . Great response, you nailed it!
1 person likes this
@Ravenladyj (22992)
• United States
23 Jul 08
The great teachers of the past and present all seem to be telling us about the importance of living this life in peace, of treating others the way we would want to be treated, of making this world a better place for everyone. On the other hand, it is our nature to hope for something more when this life is over I personally think that living in the now is what REALLY matters...yes we'd all love to believe in the "something after" whatever that something may be to each of us personally BUT IMO what we do with our lives NOW is whats important..how we treat others, how we treat our world, our children and ourselves is what really matters at this point in time..
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
23 Jul 08
Hi Ravenladyj, Thank your for responding. I agree that living in the now is what's important. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@Mirita (2668)
• United States
22 Jul 08
Well, to me Christianity is the most beautiful religion there is if we really apply all the principles and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Most people wish to believe that there is something beyond our physical world ,and religion gives hope and brings unity among people. On the other hand, some people misunderstand the real meaning of Christianity and behave in an irrational way ,and instead of unity they create anger and separation. Going to church doesn't make you better since everything depends on who we are as individuals. Sister Theresa was extraordinary because of who she was as a person and she demonstrated how a real christian should behave.
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
22 Jul 08
Hi Mirita, Thank you for responding. Your comments are appreciated. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@II2aTee (2560)
• United States
22 Jul 08
This is a very good question and I'm not so sure there is a deffinative answer. I personaly shy away from modern day organized religion because I see it causeing more pain than not. The most recent example is the war in the Middle East. Although political at first glance, anyone with insight can easily see religious differences are at its core. Many Muslims view the war as a war on Islam, which is part of the reason resistance is so fierce. Personaly, I have never seen a need to declare a religion for myself. Many religious people will say that religion is needed as a moral compass for humaity to follw, however, those same religions often claim ownership over morality. I do not need a religion to know that killing someone is wrong. I dont need a book to tell me that stealing is bad. Anyone with reverance for human life, and a respect for diversity only need search thier feelings to be able to tell right from wrong. I also think in most relgions, although founded on the betterment of human kind, have warped into institutions where people put all thier faith into having eternal salvation. They focas on getting into heaven more than living good, peacfull lives.
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
22 Jul 08
Hi Tee, Thank you for responding and for your usual common sense approach to the subject. It is a difficult question and I suppose comes down to the fast that we are all different. Blessings.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jul 08
People have always been superstitious. People didn't understand how the world worked so they needed to believe that someone was in control, thus the Gods were born. Over time this mythology was morphed into present religions. I think a lot of it was a way to keep people on the right path. "If you don't behave today, you will suffer hereafter" type of deal. Some people need an incentive to do the right thing. I also believe it helped the rulers to claim divine rights. After all, who is going to dethrone a king the Gods chose? Like anything else religion evolves over time. Take the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) for instance: They all splintered from the same group. The basis of all three are the same, but they went their own ways over time. Rather than embrace their common ground, they fight wars with one another. How did this come about? Because man started interpreting each religion to suit his own agenda. As soon as people seek spiritual guidance they give other power to decide what is right and what is wrong. Power corrupts. I believe most organized religions are pure business nowadays, myself. Nothing more than snake oil salesmen selling salvation. True spirituality comes from within and is not something you get in a two hour Sunday session. A good person will do the right thing without the threat of eternal damnation. They will also do it everyday not just on Sunday. Having said that, I also feel religion is necessary. Faith breeds hope. Some people do need an incentive to stay on the straight and narrow. Others need faith to make it through the challenges life throws at us. I just wish people would realize spirituality comes from within, not from a corporation. The world would be a better place.
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
22 Jul 08
Hi vicneedscoffee, Thank you for responding and your well thought out comments. I agree that many of us need faith to face the challenges of life, and most of us need hope. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@heartonfire (4133)
• Denmark
22 Jul 08
I have been asking some questions myself, and religion seems to be a way of controling people,by fear ... people are afraid of god,and of what will happen to them after they die.. and it starts to bother me, why should i be afraid of god?he is supposed to be good,and forgiving and peace and harmony...and now he is a punisher?a watcher?a what?... i don't know,religion has so much taken control over people's lifes, and i wonder what we really believe in and why do we believe only what was written in a book 2 000 years ago, and why some of them strongly refuse to accept other theories aswell,or tot try and analyse things a bit. I recently saw a movie,documentary over religion and it brough a bible's explanation that sounds quite logic to me.. i posted a discussion on it but of course,nobody was interested.. any question or doubt that we have about god is badly seen,and it's a sin..lol.. i rather be a sinner and try to understand what this world and universe is all about,rather than a blindly believer,who chooses to live in ignorance.. i will post the link to the movie here,you can watch it online, it has 3 parts,but just the first one is about religion and i am sure you will be interested in it http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
22 Jul 08
Hi heartonfire, Thank you for responding, and for you comments which I liked a lot. The movie does makes sense, thank you for posting the link. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@salonga (27838)
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
True religion is not based on rules or rituals. True religion is a relationship with God. But your post is talking about 'organized religion” which most of the times are deviating from the intent of God. However, the Bible speaks of organized Christians that are part of His plan. He calls them churches. The descriptions from the Book of Acts and the Epistles provide direction that the church is to be organized and interdependent. The church is organized for the main purpose of worshipping God and glorifying His name. For the Christians to organize so that they could work together to perform the great commission of spreading the good news and lead lost souls to Christ. The organization also leads to protection, productivity, and outreach. It does not hurt its members but rather help each other, encourage each other, bless each other all for the sake of the name of Jesus. Indeed there are false religion and in fact there are so many of them in our world and your friend must be talking about these because there are really those hiding in the idea of religion in order to amass wealth. So if there are religions as you say that actually hurt you and other people then I am sure those are false religions. And we must be sharp in discerning which is true and which is false. True religion, which is Biblical Christianity, has rules to obey (do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not lie, etc.) and rituals to observe (water baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper / Communion). Observance of these rules and rituals is not what makes a person right with God. Rather, these rules and rituals are the results of the relationship with God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone as the Savior. False religion is doing rules and rituals in order to try to earn God’s favor. True religion is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and thereby having a right relationship with God – and then performing rules and rituals out of love for God and desire to grow closer to Him. False religion would put as front that they worship God but in reality their rituals would show they worship other gods. The idea of a God who wants to be worshipped is not just a human creation. Worship means “to give honor, homage, reverence, respect, adoration, praise, or glory to a superior being.” God demands worship because He and He alone is worthy of it. He is the only being that truly deserves worship. He requests that we acknowledge His greatness, His power and His glory. Revelation 4:11 tells us, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” God expects us to worship Him as an expression of reverence and thanksgiving to Him. But God wants even more than that. God also expects us to be obedient to Him. He wants not only for us to love Him; He wants us to act justly towards each other, to show love and compassion to others. True religion teaches the word of God correctly without addition without subtraction. True religion will teach you how to live the godly way and therefore indeed we become concerned on how we should live righteously in this world and how we treat our neighbors. Going back to your question. Is there a need for organized religion? I would say YES, but it must be for the original purpose God meant it to be. We do not need others who are for selfish motives, and for glorification of other gods.
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
exactly!you're right,religion is not important it is the relationship between God and you.A true religion is a Bible based and they should obey God to glorify him in whatever we do becuase he deserves that,without him we are not in this worl.Only God knows what will happen in the future.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
24 Jul 08
Hi salonga, Thank you for commenting. Blessings.
@efc872 (1078)
• Jamaica
2 Aug 08
This is moment we are sure of, anything else is plain gambling.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
2 Aug 08
Hi efc872, Thank you for commenting. There is no way that I can disagree with you on this one. Blessings.
@vera5d (3958)
• United States
30 Jul 08
I am a very spiritual person but I am not religious at all. I belonged to a church, but I do not go there anymore because of all the hypocrisy and values that just don't seem to be "good" to me. I think you can be very spiritual - and maybe even more spiritual - without religion, so I don't really think it is necessary. But it is good to share your views with others & be connected to people, so it would be good to do that, I just never experienced that positively at a church...
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
30 Jul 08
Hi vera5d, Thank you for responding. I agree with you as it is much like I feel myself. Being religious and being Spiritual are two completely different things. Blessings.
• India
30 Jul 08
I think you are talking about the organised religion, and not for religion in general sense. The question,therefore, is between organised religion and disorganised religion. If that is the choice then I would say there is a need or organised religion. You say that religion has hurt us. True. But if we have more religions and every week we have people 'inventing' new religion then I think the religions could do more harm. But I think we need to first define religion. There are religions like Buddhism and Jainism which have nothing to do with God, but others like Christianity and Islam have all to do with God. So if we say that religion has something to do with 'god' then Jainism and Buddhism are not religion.However, no one will say they are not religion. Therefore I would like to understand religion as that which tries to answer man's quest for meaning for life and the reasons for being moral etc. But if we define this way religion is very very important.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
30 Jul 08
Hi headhunter, Thank you for commenting. I agree that man's quest for meaning in life and the reasons for being moral are very important. Blessings.
@Wolfechu (1193)
• United States
23 Jul 08
I'd have to agree with your friend, although expand a little. Religion is a form of social control, not unlike the legal system: Do this and you'll get a reward in the next life, but don't do this or you'll go to hell. I'd also agree it's a business, but that's a side-issue. You only need to look at the Vatican to realise it's a rather profitable one. The main issue is the control aspect, classic carrot and stick methodology. I personally don't believe in God; I don't feel the need to, I'm unimpressed by the religious texts I've read (and I've read quite a few; not being religious isn't the same as having an interest in theology), and I've yet to see anything that needs a theist god to explain it happening. On the whole, I'd say there's really no need for religion, organised or other nowadays. At best, it's a viewpoint, a place to stand to observe and explain the things around us. This worked well in the days when there wasn't an alternative viewpoint (mostly because of the rigid control of the Church during the dark ages, but that's a whole other issue). Since the Renaissance, though, we've been coming up with better explanations, more accurate viewpoints. The good that religion does nowadays is far outweighed by the harm it causes, both on a personal and international level. People talk about how it sets an example and gives us a moral code to live by. I don't know about you, but I'd hate to live my life so blissfully ignorant of what's right and wrong that it has to actually be spelled out to be in a fairly hefty book, and then reinforced at a series of weekly lectures. Maybe I'm exceptional in inherently knowing such things. Short answer: They've outlived their use. If we all grew up a little and started taking some responsibility for what happens in the world, instead of palming it off to some ethereal father-figure, the world would be a much better place.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
23 Jul 08
Hi wolfechu, Thank you for your response. We do agree on a lot of things. Blessings
@nengs10 (3189)
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
As I see it, religions exist because people accept their weaknesses. With that, they're looking up to someone Almighty and powerful to help them when trouble comes. It just gives people hope in every downfall they experience. It's also good since they are motivated and inspired to do their duties on earth as someone up there always guide them.
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
23 Jul 08
Hi nengs, Thank you for commenting. Blessings.
• United States
23 Jul 08
Some people are gulible and in need of "saving" so they turn to religion to hopefully be saved. Some people think that they need rules in their life in order to be whole, sometimes these rules include losing one's own humanity, or changing into a completely different person, or hopefully being a better person because far too often people do not always become better. Religion is a joke to me.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
24 Jul 08
Hi rogue13xmen13, Thank you for your comment. Blessings.
• United States
23 Jul 08
There are some people who have morals without religion. But for many religion does help control behavior. Sure religion is not needed in the present since we got science but it is used to give people hope. It seems to be easier to control human behavior using religion than logic. Religion should be used as an example for good morals not as a science. It seems many people see religion more as history than stories used to teach good morals. It is ok to believe in what ever you want but it should not influence you in making important decisions. Sometimes religion can hold people back. Other times it gives guidance. Some use religion for good while others use it for personal gain.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
24 Jul 08
Hi spiderlizard, Thank you for your comments. Blessings.
@pujiku (10)
• Indonesia
23 Jul 08
religion is something like food, water, and air. you cann't life without them. Religion is believing for god and our self. we need something to control our brain and heart.
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
23 Jul 08
Hi pujiku, Thank you for for comment. Blessings.
@reckon21 (3487)
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
[b][/b]We have religion because of our faith. We believed that there is one creator behind of all the things we saw in this world.We have it because he want us to be there in his kingdom when right time comes.
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
23 Jul 08
Hi reckon, Thank you for commenting. Blessings.