Religion Is Not Necessary

I suppose that for all intents and purposes you could say that I am Lutheran. At least, I was baptized by the Lutheran church. Though, I do not come from a religious family. Church has never been a big part of my life, and certainly growing up very little time was ever spent in any house of worship, let alone reading the Bible or even talking much about God or religion at all.

For me, the question of whether or not I believe in God is a difficult one. The honest answer is, I don't know. So far as I can tell, no one knows, despite many adamant proclamations to the contrary. Die-hard atheists cannot convince me that they know for sure that God does not exist any more than die-hard Christians can convince me that they know for sure that God does exist. My fault is an open mind. It is that, which makes it impossible for me to hold any one explanation from a religious context as being absolute. But I can say exactly the same thing for scientific explanation. Really, science has many set parameters to test theory, but it's really all just systematic guessing, isn't it? Nobody knows with any degree of certainty what the absolute truth is when it comes to the grand questions we have about who we are, why we are here, or how we got here. Those answers may, in fact, never be answered. Perhaps we're not supposed to know.

Religion offers some possibilities. So does science. But both have problems, and therein lies my dilemna with regard to the existence of God.

So I am not a Christian. Yet I am also not an atheist. Does any of that matter? Does it make me misguided? Amoral? How is it possible to lead a good and productive life without God in it? Without religion? Is it possible?

Despite my lack of religion I do hold very strong beliefs. My moral compass is intact and well defined. There are no cracks in my foundation. My judgement is fair, sound, compassionate, and thoughtful.

Marriage should be between a man and a woman. Abortion is wrong. Both of these beliefs are beliefs I have a very strong feeling about. They are also generally beliefs that have a religious context to them. I was married by a Reverend. My grandmother was buried by one. I believe in capital punishment, sort of a take on the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth bit from the Bible. Adultery is something I condemn.

Did religious influence make me believe this way? Was I born this way? I mean, you can be born into religion and still turn out to be bad.

The question is not, am I good? It is not, am I moral? It is, do I have to have religion in order to be good or to be moral? Is religion the basis for my goodness, or a deterrent for not being good?

I think the answer is no. The operative word here is, I think the answer is no. Because I have to accept the possibility that there may not be an absolute, definitive answer.

The fact is that I live in a society that is largely based on Judeo-Christian philosophy. In America our country was built on these fundamental beliefs and foundations which are inherently, and undeniably Christian in nature. The Bible is everywhere. So is the word God. We celebrate Christmas. All religious things. All things based on the premise of religion.

Albert Einstein made a great point in what he said about whether or not religion is necessary. I mean, it makes perfect sense that humans feel sympathy. It is true that we have the ability to learn, and to become educated. It's safe to say, as well, that humans seem to have always had a strong social bond with each other. We have always lived together in groups or tribes. We did then, and do now, protect one another from harm, pair up, and build families. We've done this throughout the ages. Religion, be it Christianity or Budhism, or having many Gods before us such as the Greeks did, or the Egyptians did, may not have ultimately had any influence whatsoever on the human being being good. It could well have been a way of simply putting a face on it all. A way of attributing a purpose for goodness.

Aside from our teachings and our societal influences, we feel. What we feel guides us, shapes us, and even deters us from doing bad things. We feel pride, guilt, happiness, sadness, love, hate, and shame, to name a few. If we kick a dog, the dog may cry, and we may feel sadness, guilt, or shame for having done that. We learn that this is an unpleasant feeling. It's a feeling that gives us pause before we take similar action. By that same token, when we love someone and are faithful to them, and when we are compassionate to our neighbors we may feel happiness, and we learn that this is something that feels good, and we may strive to do these things more often than not.

It is possible to conclude that human goodness may be mostly instinctual. It may be as simple as birds knowing when to fly south for the winter. You can't teach someone to feel a certain way. Can you?

The question is "is religion necessary?" Again, I think the answer is no. But like I cannot definitely say that there is or is not a God, I cannot definitely say that religion does not hold an important place in our lives, or even in my life. I cannot be absolutely certain that religion has had no influence whatsoever on my goodness. Had I not been baptized Lutheran, or raised in a land where God and the teachings of the Bible are ubiquitous, would my moral compass have been exactly the same? Or would it have existed at all?

I simply don't know.

Do you believe that it is possible for humans to be good without the influence of religion?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don't Know
See results without voting

More by this Author

  • Show Me Yours, And I'll Show You Mine
    98

    You heard me correctly. That's right. I want to see what you've got. Mr. Geithner, Mr. Kerry, and Mr. Rangel. If you show me yours, I'll gladly show you mine. The money, that is, of course. More specifically, the money...

  • How To Save Money On Toilet Paper
    32

    We've all seen those television shows portraying the cheapest of the cheap in our society. You know the ones I am talking about. The ones who cut up old clothes, or use old dish towels or rags, and then use those to...

  • It's Who You Know, And Who You Blow
    56

    Carolina Muscle said a mouthful For the past month or so I've been on a bandwagon about money, elitism, thieving corporate boards of directors, wayward politicians, and the just plain teeming arrogance from the top...


Comments 64 comments

satyam12 profile image

satyam12 6 years ago from india

very nice thinking spring board but one point is that a man can be good without religion, but religion is something deeper in all of us and we all believe in religion in consicious or sub concious, so we must follow the religion of humanity to avoid quarrels among us and believe in the divine god, we are first all humans first when we come to our dear planet earth and adopt the religion afterwards so we all are humans and we must think good and do good for our planet earth sake on all the mankind sake, so u believe in any religion u must be good first because our inner consious that is the almighty god tells us not to do bad things so the answer is in ur inner concious,


ehern33 profile image

ehern33 6 years ago

The thing that I admire is that you were truthful about what you believe. That in itself puts you ahead of the game since you are open to the possibilities. As for me, I do believe but it comes down to a matter of faith and choice. For me it is a clear decision but it is what fulfills my needs and wants. My past experiences have pointed me in this directions and I am grateful for it. Each of us will walk a path and discover what is best for them. I enjoyed reading your article.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I suppose everyone's journey is different and wherever it leads will be perfect for you. Great, truthful piece of writing.


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

We are losing religion, and the a lot of people are losing a lot of moral values. Is there a connection?

Keep on hubbing!


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

Is religion necessary..? It would seem that history would say yes...that man has always had some sort of religious affinity or other...The ancient Greeks and their multitude of gods for every human emotion and desire...the Romans, which copied much of the Greek traditions, the Eastern religions that focused on equilibrium and balance, and the Native American beliefs of animism and nature as god...every cultural experience of man throughout the world has had an entity that pontificated and instructed men in the controlled behavior needed to insure a moral and disciplined society...

So, yes, religion was a necessary adjunct for man to progress beyond the primitive...How you accept this mandate is entirely up to the individual...some are passionate, others are skeptical...there will always be the yin and the yang in human intercourse...Larry


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Some very good points raised thus far. Though I still don't know if I'm in the league of religion being directly tied to morality or the lack thereof. Again, I'm not denying the possibility of any religious aspect guiding the principles or morals that I, myself, hold today.

Religion, in the context that Einstein was describing it, seems to suggest that religion exists as a source for the rationale behind goodness, and as a deterrent from doing evil, or bad things in general. If I do good I am rewarded with Heaven. If I do bad, I am punished in Hell.

In my own case, the reason for me to do good is because it's what feels right based on the emotions my actions conjure, as well as based on what I know to be the common thread in a good, just society.

For me, my moral compass points in the direction of good irregardless of the fear of punishment or the hope for reward.

But again, I'm not certain how much of that moral compass would be present in the event of the absense of God in the culture I grew up in.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

If you were raised in a Muslim country, you would believe women are inferior, must be covered head to toe outside the home, and 4 wives quite proper.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Sheila—you raise a very interesting point. Even the term 'ethics' can be very broadly defined depending on what criteria you are basing the standard for what is good or bad.


lraposo profile image

lraposo 6 years ago from Portugal

Talking about religion is very complicated, complex!

I researched various religions, history, and so far nobody has been able to see GOD!

Only God knew, through the teachings, books, word of the priest, the pastor of the word, the word of a spirit and word of a single person!

Until today, I can not know who is really God, what is religion, faith

'm Asking myself: Does God really exist?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

As I believe others have said you have to find your own path. I am a Christian but very particular as to what church I attend. No fire and brimstone for me. I believe there is a loving God. I think if you want to know, Ask God to reveal himself to you. Maybe something will happen or maybe not, but as an agnostic you have little to lose by asking. I think people can be good without being Christians.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I certainly do ask every day. I think to have an open mind you have to. You have to keep in mind all of the possibilties. Accept nothing as absolute truth, but also deny nothing the benefit of possibility; be it science or religion, or some other force in nature or the cosmos. To deny anything absolutely, ultimately denies oneself the possibility of discovering the truth if it is to ever be discovered at all.

That would be the worst thing. :)


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

"In my own case, the reason for me to do good is because it's what feels right based on the emotions my actions conjure, as well as based on what I know to be the common thread in a good, just society."

I quoted from your comment which I thought summarized your whole story. I really admire this story and your candor. Something that a lot of people can relate to.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thank you. :)


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Very nice article springboard. I quite agree with you. To me also either way god exists or not looks like a belief. why should it matter much either way? I often see a similar irrelevant discussion about science and religion. I also wrote an article on it some days back

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/religions-...

Trying to understand this universe, life etc. is much more interesting. You quote Einstein. Let me end this comment with an interesting description from Einstein about belief in his childhood time in his own saintly and satirical style.

He was saying that in his family almost no one was religious but all were quite spiritual. Practically no one formally believed in god etc. or went to Synagogue. But one of his uncle did go some times. Once Einstein asked him,"does he believe in existence of god etc?" He said "not really". Then Einstein asked him " why does he go to temple". His uncle replied, "well! one never knows".


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

lol. I've had the old "just in case" thought cross my mind more than once or twice. "One never knows" is a quite funny way of putting it.


Bryan Peace 6 years ago

So many individuals will call you different types of names. Your not confused, your just using your common sense. If one believes in God(s), that's fine---but never disclose the religious theory that there is no god, and vice versa. So go ahead and believe, but religion isn't necessary one bit.

Though, each individual should have a limited, and non-strict code of life with simple ones like no killing, prevent lying, and immitate Jesus and Socrates.

RELIGION KILLS!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I simply think, Bryan, that we need to see all things through an open mind. Like I said in the article, I can't prove God exists any more than I can prove that He does not, and so to proclaim either as being absolute with any real conviction simply cannot be done.

In other words, I can't technically claim that a Christian held belief that God exists is wrong even if I BELIEVE that it's wrong, because the truth is I just don't know. It's all based on conjecture rather than on fact on both sides.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I agree with much you say here, Jim, and disagree with quite a lot as well! Well, we wouldn't be human if we agreed 100%, would we? But certainly your open mind is not a "fault" - indeed an open mind is a blessing.

Thanks for the honest sharing.

Love and peace

Tony


Timshapiro profile image

Timshapiro 6 years ago from USA

Your statement of "no one knows if god exists" may be what you see as being an honest answer and in a way... it's kinda true. But it's also a complete straw man . I'm amazed how many people fall for it. It's not a matter of if god exists or not. It's a matter of how well is the word "God" defined?

God has been defined as the universe, human emotions, human actions, a creator, us dreaming the universe up... etc. So if someone asks me if God exists I simply tell them the word lacks any meaning to give that question a meaningful response.

The thing is... we're better equipped to prove the existence of dragons and pixies when compared to "God". The reason for this is because every time someone researches what a pixie is or a dragon is, they come up with the same answer/definition. They're not told to settle on one definition of many based off of how you might feel about it. (Logical fallacy: Emotional appeal)

You say that your fault is an open mind. And I don't mean to be offensive, but how so? Having an open mind is, yes, being able to honestly say "I don't know" when you really don't. But it's not a position of neutrality towards every claim made. There's too many claims out there that would make neutrality a good excuse to sit in a vegetative state.

The burden of proof needs to be supplied by those making a claim. We can conceptualize a world where various claims might be true and how life would be IF it were true. But to entertain it as true when it lacks all definition and evidence... especially with religion... who've managed to sit in that same stagnant position for for thousands upon thousands of years is a little ridiculous.

You said the following: "Nobody knows with any degree of certainty what the absolute truth is when it comes to the grand questions we have about who we are, why we are here, or how we got here." Science is honest enough to endeavor to know the absolute truth. Religion just likes to claim it IS absolute truth with no credentials to back it up. Since it seems like you're specifically discussing Christianity. I'll address the "why are we here" question from there. Science never claimed there was a reason and won't claim to give a reason until there's some sort of evidence to indicate such... as to how they're going to find evidence of a philosophical concept is beyond me, but I suppose it might be able to happen. Christianity likes to say we live so that we can gain eternal life... oookay... what then? Why do we have eternal life? The question "Why are we here" is answered, but the question "Why be there" isn't answered. The question of existence is ignored by the Christian doctrine and replaced with a cop out...

How we got here is more than just a systematic guess... I don't know where you're getting that. There's a perfectly good fields of study on Evolution that answer that question quite definitively.

I do agree with many of your statements about morality. I kind of addressed a side point.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I agree with parts of what you say. I would only say that when I refer to an open mind, I'm not speaking about being in a vegetative state at all, as you suggest. Rather, when I speak of an open mind, I'm simply stating that BECAUSE of my open mind I am unable to accept any SINGLE answer as being the absolute truth without having an undeniable fact to close the books on the argument. Quite to the contrary, having an open mind means that one is consistently and constantly ACTIVE in the quest for the answer or the truth. My open mindedness makes me more interested and curious to learn more about what details and facts may actually lead me to the answer I'm seeking. It makes me more engaged, not less. And actually, I would have to say that it would be MORE akin to a vegetative state to have come to any single conclusion, be it scientific, thoelogical, or otherwiase. Now, I KNOW I'm going to get in trouble here, but by my thinking, a Christian is more in a vegetative state than someone with an open mind. They have stopped looking for the truth. In their eyes they've already FOUND it. It requires no further research or explanation. In using the vegetable reference, you can talk all day to someone who is in a vegetative state and they'll never respond, or acknowledge you. They can't see you. Christians cannot see the possibility that they may be wrong. Nor can they see the possibility of other truths.

Atheists are the same way. So are some scientists.

And as I pointed out about science, it's no more definitive than anything else is. Science is open to conjecture, open to further analysis, as much as anything is—especially when it comes to matters such as this. Speaking directly on science, and citing Einstein again, really Einstein's theories disputed many of Newton's theories which were held to be true, and currently we tend to hold Einstein's theories about space and time MORE acceptable than Newton's former conclusions about the same topic.

Newton could have been right. Einstein could have been right. Both of them may be dead wrong. If we do not have an open mind, we will not look further than what they've already said to be true.

I think it's ALL guesswork until we have something concrete that cannot be refuted by any measure, and that through that truth would be the only truth...like the properties of water.

What side am I on more than the other? I am on the side of Darwin's theory of evolution and on the Big Bang theory. But again, I cannot say with certainty that what I THINK might be the answer IS the answer, and so my leaning toward the theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory does not allow me to thereby conclude that God is non-existent, or that Christians are wrong. Nor does it make it impossible for me to acknowledge, that despite my leanings toward the scientific, that religion has not at least been a contributing factor societally to my moral compass.

So there again, whether or not religion is necessary continues to be a question I cannot definitively answer anymore than I can answer whether God exists or does not, no matter even HOW He may be defined.

It is, however, a question I find fascinating.


DwellingWithGod profile image

DwellingWithGod 6 years ago

Let me help you out. You know enough about God to suppress him and deny him. All you do is keep persuading yourself that God does not exist. The reasoning and the logic that you use to write this post is by the grace of God. Reason and logic must be based on logical laws. If there are no laws of logic. Then reasoning and truth do not exist. Laws come from a lawgiver. God is the creator of the laws. The laws of logic, science, and mathematics are all unchanging, universal, and immaterial. God is also unchanging, universal, and immaterial. Now repent and believe in Christ. The wrath of God is coming. And you will be judged. You have no excuses.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Springboard

I agree with you but I would take it one step further.

I would say the Religion is the global entity that society provides with governments on the local level. Religion is bigger than countries, so in countries we have civil law, but in the world we have religious laws. Both are designed to contain us and harness us.

They are both needed to keep the people from doing more damage than they could do without them.

I would also separate God and Creator. There could be a God, like a King that didn't create but is in charge, so to speak.

There could also be a creator that doesn't need or want to be a God. This woull be like our human scientists, they create things but they don't want these things to treat them like a God.

The world and the universe is imperfect like us. The believers of the Biblical God, believe that God is perfect, yet he created an imperfect basically everything. It can't be both ways, it is either a perfect God and a perfect universe, or it is neither.

As for religion being good, well in theory it is but in practice not so much. Holy wars have been fought for centuries, and that is religion versus religion.

Of course, each religion thinks that God is at the source of their religion. So far God has not chosen a religion, as religions still have these holy wars, Ironically, both religious sides in the war, pray to God to be victorious. No winner as of yet has been declared.

The point is the religion is man made, but it should have been made by God.

You don't have to go further than Genesis in the bible to realize that God didn't have anything to do with its writing. It is too vague and ambiguous, and it contains nothing that man didn't know on its own.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! Springboard

Just revisiting this hub. Found comments by Bryn, Timshapiro, OpinionDuck and your reactions to them quite interesting. After reading Timshapiro's comment I expected that you will say that being noncommittal (keeping open mind) makes you active. The energy you gain from it, to be active, is quite visible in the way you write.

Your observation that in the science world lot of things have been done because of basic idea of keeping one's set up, noncommittal is quite true. At the same time human behavior (even of scientist's) in general is opposite of this being noncommittal.

By the way in science (physics) one does not feel that Newton was wrong or Einstein was right etc. The general feeling is that Newton's theory answered a few questions and explained a few observations. But some others remained unanswered. Einstein's theory provided explanations to many more. Still some remained unanswered. Today's model which is followed is Quantum Physics, because it explains much more than Einstein's theory. There are research papers by physicists and mathematicians which show that Quantum Theory and Einstein's theory are not consistent logically at the same time.

But history of this development is quite interesting. It shows how even commitment within the world of noncommittal science and to be bold to say some thing which is completely opposite of what every body thinks beyond any doubt true, generated energy to do a lot more and created a lot of new knowledge and technology as well as religious thoughts.

After Newton's theory scientists were so impressed that they started feeling they can solve every thing by it. Lot of work was done and in 19th century the concept of eather ( a universal sort of liquid which is every where - almost god like hypothesis) played a central role. Maxwell's electromagnetic theory was developed. In Mathematics and Physics people understood that every thing they do is based on axioms and rational logical deductions. They started sort of expecting they will answer every question in Physics and prove every theorem in Mathematics. But then came Max Planck. Who made very simple observations on back body radiations which any body could have done but no one had patience like Max Planck to observe properly and courage like him to go in opposite direction. Hypothesis about Eather was proved wrong and in Mathematics Goedel came up with theorems implying "one can never prove all theorems".

Whole edifice practically crumbled in no time. All the confidence generated was gone. Then came Einstein. Again Physics was full of confidence. Interestingly just at that time Heisenberg's uncertainty principle came, which says that you can never measure both position and velocity of a particle accurately at the same time. Again confidence started crumbling. This generated probability arguments and principles of the type "a particle can be either wave or particle, it more depends on how you want to see it" (is it very far from god like statements?).

This gave rise to today's Qunatum Physics. Interestingly Einstein who himself suffered for decades due to old commitments which science set up was not ready to give up, never really felt happy about new quantum theory. His famous sentence is "God does not play dice".

I think you would surely ask "How does one know?" But at the same time Einstein's commitment made him write several good research papers which still play important role even in today's set up.

It seems this cycle of commitment and noncommitment continuously goes on. Just when you start feeling "oh! Now I understand quite a bit of whole lot", some thing happens and one feels "No! still one understands very little".

Same is the case with religeous development and history. Many temples, aesthetic pieces of art, kingdoms have been created out of commitments to religion and energy generated by it has kept many lives going. But just when you feel okey now it is a peaceful well developed society following one type of religious thought, violence starts with in the society (dark ages in Europe), or from outside attackers (Genghis Khan or other Muslim captures in different parts of world or christian crusaders etc. ). A big destruction place. (has today's spread of terrorism and disorder in whole world it has generated also not started just when every one was sort of feeling now world might remain in certain order?).

Do you notice that finally basic ideas or in what they do Science and religions are not too far. Though they are not that close together either.

Whether it is commitment or noncommitment both have been responsible for lot of construction and constructive inspirations as well as a whole lot of destruction and ideas to control other people's lives and thoughts. Perhaps it is an eternal cycle.

One aspect which is clear to me is once you accept it as a part of your life and a cycle which just continues you try to learn to live with it and enjoy it rather than getting disturbed by it.

This is sort of stage neither feeling committed nor noncommittal. You have to accept one more possibility about your basic question of god. Even if some body has seen or felt existence of god, it is quite possible that he may have no means or method to show it to you. In the domain of Science today one does not study such aspects. I am not sure whether even religious beliefs also accept such possibilities.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

I should have written ether and not eather.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

A few more errors in my long write up. It should have been black body radiation (and not back body). It should have been "electron is either a particle or wave, it depends on how you want to see it".

There are some other grammatical or spelling errors, I a sorry about it. But I hope the ideas of comments are clear.

Hope you enjoyed it.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Just wanted to let the last commenters know I should be back in a couple days to read more throughly and respond; grandfather died last week and had a hernia operation Monday morning...don't want to try and respond through my Percoset haze. ;)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I am sorry to hear about your grandfather. Regarding your Hub, I would say that Natural Law is written on your heart and you are well aware of it.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thanks, and great to hear from you James.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

DwellingwithGod, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Based on your response, however, I unfortunately believe you missed the point of my post.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

You bring up some very interesting points OpinionDuck. One thing that always troubles me is that whole thing with there being so many different religions and associations with God. There was that joke, or was it a thesis, I don't remember, that said that considering the current belief that there is only one God and one true religion, yet this is held by each of hundreds of religions, all who believe the other is condemned to hell, that by that measure NO ONE could ever possibly see their way to the gates of Heaven. It is a perplexing thing to be sure. One thing I would think would be obvious would be a universal image of God if He were to truly exist. Wouldn't the Almighty make it so?


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Jim, I really appreciate your honesty. I'm a Christian, but I don't attend church very often. I guess I'm not into organized religion, but God is a big part of my life. I think religion and spirituality are very personal, and I never try to force my beliefs on others. One of the best people I have ever known is an atheist, so you can certainly be a good person without religion.

To answer the last question in your last comment: If He did that, it would negate our free choice, I think.


Madame X 6 years ago

You have brought up so many interesting points I don't know where to begin. Yes, I believe that a person can be good without religion. What I think a lot of people have lost site of is that religion is not the goal. It is just a finger pointing the way. Some people don't need to be pointed in the right direction, they're already going that way. People are inherently good, although I understand that some need more direction than others, for whatever reason.

This is an excellent, well-written hub and especially beautiful because of the personal truths and experiences you relate. Bravo Springboard :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much for stopping by Madame X and sharing your thoughts. I too believe that most people are inherently good. I, for one, never have seen myself as being one who felt a need for an 'incentive' to be good other than that I like how it feels to be good.

Glad you enjoyed the hub. :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

sousmyasrajan—enjoyed your commentary very much, and you do raise very valid and good points. I think my take on science is that most of it starts with the word 'theory.' Einstein's 'theory' of relativity, for example, 'theory' of evolution. Science, unlike Christianity or atheism, just to put those two front and center, mostly understands that the answers they provide, while mathematically and scientifically sound based on set standards and principles, are still not definitive, and therefore remain theoretical, or are therefore, open to question and/or further analysis which may in turn provide contrary evidence disproving the theory or opening it up to yet more questions. Christians and atheists are very sure that no other explanations can exist for the conclusions they have drawn.

I guess in summary, while I stated that some scientists hold their analysis as irrefutable, the fact that new science is always surfacing allows one to conclude that science is still a more open-minded group than religious ones are, or that atheists are, and that there is a stronger willingness among the group to challenge what has been established to be fact.

More scientists are willing and/or able to concede that while the conclusions they've arrived at are able to be calculated and repeated through mathematical equations, their science is still relatively and ultimately inconclusive.


lyricsingray 6 years ago

Really enjoy your style of writing as I confess I don't know either what I believe.

Thank you for sharing this thought provoking and inspiring piece

Cheers

Kimberly


quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

An open mind really will not permit any conclusions because keeping the mind open will mean data is still being received and this makes it impossible to arrive at any conclusions. But who cares? It is most probable that nobody knows. Knowing will not change anything either. However the only important thing here is ethics.

Religion embedded with threats of punishment or promises of reward is purely to promote ethics. :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

lyricsingray—thanks for stopping in and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.

quicksand—absolutely. :)


BeatsMe profile image

BeatsMe 6 years ago

I think that while some people may not need religion to be good, it certainly does not apply for everyone. Besides, most of our beliefs of good and bad are taken from religious context. So, whether we believe in God or not, we'd still need religion for guidance.

Nice hub. :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I'm still not convinced religion is necessary, or to say that we need religion for guidance, though I cannot deny it is a strong influence even on the lives of those who are not believers. What kind of influence I do think greatly depends on the dominant religion in whatever society one is a part of...as sheila b. so rightly stated in her above comment, which I hadn't given much thought to prior, "If you were raised in a Muslim country, you would believe women are inferior, must be covered head to toe outside the home, and 4 wives quite proper," she was right on about what she said.

Again. Necessary? I'm not so sure. A powerful influence? I think it's at least evident.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting Hub Springboard. I think we will never really know the answer because whether we are religious or not we have all been brought up in societies that are suffused with religion and have been shaped by religion. Like you I prefer the uncertainties of not really knowing. I think that it is when people think in absolutes and do not allow any uncertainty in their beliefs that trouble starts, as they then have to vigoutously defend those beliefs.

Or as Voltaire famously said 'If god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him'.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I had forgotten about that quote. So, thanks for reminding me of it.


William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 6 years ago from Knoxville, TN

Nice hub Sprngboard. There's lots of evidence that altruism can be seen in babies and animals, so it's likely that "good" behavior is something instinctual, as you said, that helps us survive.

And there are plenty of examples of religious people committing atrocities - so religion does not in any way guarantee that people will do good.

So if goodness and altruism are instinctual, and religion does not prevent us from doing evil....


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

One example that comes to mind is the John List story. Great to see you, William. :)


Obscurely Diverse profile image

Obscurely Diverse 6 years ago from Tennessee, U.S., Earth, Milky Way via Cosmos

Hi, Springboard! It sounds like you're an open minded agnostic with good morals, which is great. Yeah, I totally agree, organized religion is definitely not necessary. In fact, religious strife needs to come to an end before it's too late.

It is crazy, how many different religions have been created on this planet, since the history of time. As the Greek philosopher, Xenophanes, said: "Men create the gods in their own image."

Nice hub... :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Agnosticism is something I would say I lean more toward, if I were to HAVE to pick something. I mean, science, Darwin...all my leanings, and I do think of the possibility of a strong force being responsible at some level for all of this...space, time, the universe, all of it. But if you were to ask me if there was a who to that, I'd probably say no. I think it's the whole that is the force.

But again, I'll have to draw no absolute conclusions. :)


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! Springboard

Visiting again your hub. Saw comments.

About your comments on my comment, I quite agree. Science is much more open to questions against their theories than many religions are or atheist are. Though I think this is not true for all religions.

But still current style of science has its own limitations. For example today in science (except for Mathematics - which is more like a language, so you can start with any assumptions and deduce logically all possible statements from them) what ever I do, I should be able to demonstrate to every one ( In other words it assumes that every one has the same capacity, style or urge for truth etc.).

I am not so sure that is true. As I mentioned one has to leave a possibility that there may be some truth which I may see but may not have means to show you in exactly the same way or you may not have means to accept it time being.

In this connection I like comments of Wilson R. Wilson and your reactions to it. Goodness, eagerness to accept truth or to enjoy truth and being good is perhaps quite a bit instinctual- may be even part of genes. Similar must be the case with regular evil intentions or urge to create a falsity, sadness or blur reality. It is also possible that many with second type of instinct perhaps may never see that there are people who are not like them. For them world is as they are.

These instincts may have very little to do with religion or science etc.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Very true.


poetlorraine 6 years ago

i read this yesterday, and now i come back to read all the comments...... hopefully god has a purpose for us, and he will bring about that purpose...... People are def. moving away from the bible and god, but still seem to need a leader, or some spiritual guidance, of some sort.


slock62 profile image

slock62 6 years ago from Florida

I just can't resist putting in my 2 cents worth. Getting back to the question of is religion really necessary, you seem to be of the mind that it is not necessary for you. You as is human, have set yourself up as judge over what is right and wrong and don't even seem sure where these opinions come from.

And the other question of does God really exist, well I guess you really aren't paying attention. The word God is of course just a label we give to the souce of our most prescious gift. You can call it whatever you choose. however the fact that you profess to be a good person and to possess a conscience tells me that you are on some level in touch with that power in you that is the Christ consciousnes.

From what I can tell you keep yourself so busy in your head that you don't take time to listen to the voice that tells you, you are precious you are a part of all that is, you are a spark in this wonderful universe and the spirit that open the door for you to receive your gifts. I use the term God for the lack of a more acceptable universally understood term.

The challenge we are faced with is an unlearning process if you will. The mistake we make is in thinking that we must understand it or that we need to figure something out. If we truly listen God will tell us everything we need to know.

Simply the fact that you have given this very important question considerable thought, serves to open the door that leads to consciousness on a higher level. All you need do is be open to humility and acceptance.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I can appreciate your assessments. However, I must point out that it's clear by your statements that you have clearly chosen the Christian version of God, and the Bible's explanation for creation and God. I only point out that there are many religions that offer explanations of a God, and many theories that offer explanations for something else. I simply am unable to choose just one as being the correct answer. For me it's just not that simple.

Truly being open to humility and acceptance means you must also be prepared to be open to the possibility that the answer you've chosen is incorrect.

By that theory, a person who has already chosen an answer cannot be open to humility and acceptance. They've already chosen. The door is closed.


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

Springboard. You have been very honest about something it is difficult to be honest about. I stand with you on this one; nobody can know for sure, at least not in this life. You can choose a faith, but the very word "faith" means you don't know for sure. I don't know what I am either, but I am certainly not either an atheist or someone who knows otherwise. People say you can "feel" God in your heart, but I have felt many things the same way, but don't know if it was an angel, demon, higher power, or harmon and/or chemical reaction. There are too many religions, most thinking everyone else is going to hell. A supreme being would have no reason to play these kinds of games. What is the deal? Lets play the price is right, and if you miss the answer you go to hell for all eternity. Sorry, I'm not buying it. Still, I'd like to believe something, but what???? I don't know. I have an athiest friend on here who tries to sell me on his belief just like the born agains. He can't do it. I'm with you, man, no one has convinced me either way yet. (: v


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Exactly. We all have to be driven by ourselves, our own ideas and perceptions...but again, we all also MUST be willing to accept the very real possibility that even the thing WE accept may not be correct.

For me it really is the ASSERTION that so many people have on BOTH sides of the fence that irks me the most. The absolution with which a person accepts their truth as TRUTH.

I'm of the idea that while I lean AGAINST the possibility of the existence of God, I cannot absolutely refute the existence of God. Both the existence of God or the non existence of God to me are possible regardless of what I actually believe to be true.

You're right about the word "faith" as well. Faith is merely an avenue by which someone affirms a belief. Great pointing that out, and thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Right now it seems there is a big fight between Christians and Muslims. Muslims are at least being blamed for raping and killing in Rhodesia.

Too many people are dead and suffering for religion.

I have friends that are atheist that uphold the Golden Rule. I see way too many Christains that do not uphold the Golden Rule. Any religion that does not endorse "Doing unto other as you would have done unto you" is a fake religion or one without merit. THE LAW of Christianity above believing that Jesus is God is that Golden Rule. Every religion has a form of the Golden Rule. Without it- we are not close to being civilized. Religious? Atheist? Doesn't matter. Upholding the Golden Rule? It definitely matters.


Chris Kwapich profile image

Chris Kwapich 6 years ago

The Golden Rule is nothing more than empathy. It is a trait we have picked up as we evolved and is a fantastic boon to social beings such as ourselves. Christianity is not the first nor the sole inventor of the "Golden Rule"- it is something in our DNA, just as our will to live and drive to procreate. We, as well as several other species have the ability to put ourselves in another's shoes. This is the concept of right and wrong on its most simplex and powerful level. We can understand that if we do not wish something done to us, then another would dislike it as well. Theists call this "objective morality", but it is actually a natural process. So, no, religion is not necessary for morality. I actually believe religiousity was a good tool for the socialisation of mankind at one time. But in this age of information, I honestly think that religion is a dead weight that can, and does, impede our progress as sentient beings.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I like the idea of the "golden rule," actually. I also like the idea of removing the golden rule from a religious context, generally. I, for one, wish to live in a world where people are thoughtful, compassionate, and respectful. It matters little to me what foundation one chooses to arrive at those things. But all of those things equally, would be able to allow for the acceptance of the beliefs of others—atheists could be thoughtful and respectful of a person's belief in God, and a Christian could be thoughtful and respectful of a person's not believing in God.

People have to find their own way in life, and I tend to believe that in the end, they do exactly that. The old saying stands that you can lead a horse to the water but you can't force him to drink. If the horse is thirsty, however, he will.

Atheists can lead a Christian to the waters of disbelief, but cannot convince the Christian to take the atheist view and vice versa.

Perhaps I'm thinking of a Utopia of sorts?

Very insightful comment Micky Dee. I very much enjoyed exploring it. Thanks for taking the time to share it. Got my brain working, and that's always a good thing IMO.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Chris, I tend to agree with you. I don't feel, personally, that I have to have a theological incentive to be good or a theological disincentive to be bad. I only have my conscience to be my incentive. If I wrong someone I feel terrible about it. If I do something right by someone, I feel happy about it.

For me, the fear of hell and the hope for Heaven are no where in my thoughts when it comes down to how I should act.

Perhaps the essence of my conscience is still a product of growing up in a Judeo-Christian society. Either way, IT is largely what guides me.

At least, I think so. ;)


Nera Woods profile image

Nera Woods 6 years ago

I admire the way you put your thoughts into words - a profound take on the nature versus nurture debate, at least, as I understand it. Unique, too, because you focused on religion, faith or unbelief. Anyway, in my case, growing up in a church-going family and believing in God have a big role in how I respond to a lot of things in life.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

This topic has sparked much conversation and as for me, I do believe religion is necessary. If you would like a more abundant life, read this article which I believe to be true:

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale...

My wish is for you to have the best life you can have and one with religion is better than one without IMHO.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Nera, I have just found it to be too simplistic to suggest that religion, by itself, is a necessary aspect to one's being good. I do believe there is an emotional component that drives us—we feel, therefore we are. Our conscience determines how we perceive the feelings we have.

Elayne, I certainly can appreciate and respect your opinion. For me, however, a more abundant life is one which allows me to see all things, rather than select things. I've got too short a time on this earth to close my eyes to discovery.


Anti-Dolt 6 years ago

Yeah, it definitely sounds like you're an open-minded agnostic with favorable morals and intentions, which is a good thing! I agree, religion isn't necessary - especially organized religions with silly labels...

One must remember, names & titles mean nothing; meanings & feelings are everything. With that being said, I tend to think about a possible theory of unity with various, infinite levels, as in an ultimate unity that stems from one form of consciousness and/or source of energy - that is obviously split into endless dividends of what we call "life." Hence forth the notion: It is all about the experience......


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Experience is certainly a large contributing factor.


Mikio profile image

Mikio 5 years ago

Springboard, I really enjoyed reading your hub. Very well written and organized. The question, "Is religion necessary?," is a compelling topic, and you presented your thesis very well. Thank you. However, I do think that your definition of religion is too narrow. Your Judeo-Christian background is such that you defined religion only in terms of 'an organized religion.' For me, religion points to "one's feeling of absolute dependence." It's not about choosing to join the organize church or not. It's really about being a human. So, the question, "Is religion necessary," is inadequate. Why? Because the question, "what kind of a human being I should become?", is always present. Some people address this question, while others don't. But the question is always there. My comment here is essentially the same as the one made by Anti-Dolt.


Thought-Provoking 5 years ago

Great Hub, and great way of putting some good answers out there about both Atheists, and the believers. I myself am christian, and I have read about lots of religion and lots of Philosophy, It has come to my way of understanding that all religions so long as at the fundamental levels, They preach love and acceptance, and peace, are all roads to God, but then again God is everything, every feeling, Ghandi once said Truth is God, and Ghandi didn't see the religions as being different at all, he saw them all as being the same, so when you find truth, you find peace, if you have found peace in your life i guess one could say you've found God, or whatever you want to call it. If the atheist has found peace and meaning in their lives, then they have found God, whether they want to accept it or not. People always think that their path is the only path. Jesus is the only way, or Islam is the only way, we are staring at the same thing, just with different perspectives, that's all it is, either way great Hub, and check out mine and leave some feedback if you can.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Mikio, thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. I suppose for me the underlying question to, "is religion necessary?" and your more refined question, "what kind of a human being do I want to become?" is what influences that ultimate choice? What gets factored into making that decision? Something inherent in all humans to strive to be good? Or is it something deeper than that, like the influence of religious upbringing?

Thought-Provoking, it would appear that your name is my response to your comment. You've shared a very interesting thought.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working