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Humans and Religion

Updated on November 9, 2015


The human race. Self-appointed masters of the world they live in. They claim independence and superiority. They claim to be their own lords. And they are. In all real sense, no human can be forced onto a path. They have to make the choice themselves. Whether coerced or independently, the final decision is solely theirs to make. No one can do it on another’s behalf. This brings to question religion. Why the different perceptions of deities? Are human beings truly religious?

Do People Need Religion?

What is religion? It is a belief, and not just any belief. It is the belief in the existence of a natural superpower- a higher being per se. This deity proceeds to create man; giving him a spiritual nature that continues in existence even after the death of the mortal body. Using this definition as a criterion, it is determined henceforth if humans are indeed religious. Do they believe in this higher power? To answer this one delves into the intricate psychology of the human mind, take a look in their history and scrutinise their present.

Why Humans Turn to Religion

It was previously common perception that humans took to religion due to fear of death. A true sentiment. It however does not cover for all. There are various human desires that draw humans to religion. Amongst them are curiosity, social contact, honour, family, power, status, tranquillity and many more. Take honour for instance. There are those who embrace religion to show loyalty be it to a cause, parents or ancestors.

Then there are those who do it out of curiosity. Intellectuals believing through reason while doers preferring revelation. Religion has been used to appeal to various personalities each with unique needs. Naturally, humans embrace aspects of religious imagery that express their strongest psychological needs and deepest personal values. The prophecy that the weak will inherit the earth appeals to those with a weak need for status while the concept that all people are equal before God draws those with a strong need for idealism. What of the person with a great need to socialize? Religion fulfils this via its ceremonies and festivals.

Understanding the Relationship between People and Religion

It is an irrefutable fact that nearly all human beings in every known culture believed in God or gods and accepted the customs, dogmas and institutional apparatus that go with the different religions. This belief is more often than not without evident and has gone on through the ages. Nearly every human being during recorded history has held religious beliefs.

Their ancestors in the Homeric and Pentateuchal era often spoke of events in which they had heard the gods speaking to them in their minds and sometimes thought they saw them in divine apparitions.

Of interesting note is that a great majority of believers through the times have neither seen nor heard such things. While many experienced at times a surge of feeling of being in touch with the divine, the rest saw not their gods but idols, symbols, relics, documentations that represented and told about their gods.

How Religion has Evolved through the Times

Religion has been part and parcel of the evolution of the human race, their development both socially and economically. In aeons passed belief was that success in a venture depended on the divine. Various gods were conceptualised to suit all needs. For instance, for the Roman wars there was the god Mars to give them victory while the Greek sailors sought Poseidon’s favours while on the seas. There were gods and goddesses of all times and tides.

Religious ceremonies were of great importance and relevance to the communities and cultures that partook of them. They brought them together and were used to teach values and traditions that the societies upheld. Religion was and is still is used to answer the unexplainable events in life and to enable humans make sense of these mystifying positive and negative everyday happenings.


The Face of Religion Today

Religion has changed through the times. Doctrines have been institutionalised and theses set that point out various methods of worship. Religious rituals have continued to be carried out to the modern age but in different forms.

They encompass a wide array of activities, but are a performance of similar actions and vocal expressions based on prescribed norms. Examples include the Christian Holy Eucharist, Muslim Salat and Hajj, Hindu Puja and Jewish Bar Mitzvah. These rituals have far reaching significance to the persons carrying them out. They indicate group commitment, emphasize moral values that serve as group norms and regulate societies and strengthen commitment to moral obligations set forth.

Why Society can’t do without Religion

Religion is upheld for those and more reasons, being the benefits it holds. As such is the correlation with physical health. For instance, research indicates that church attendees present with lower rates of alcohol consumption and improvement in mood, associated with better physical health. Religion conducts these functions both on a social and personal perspective.

In the modern day and time, the perception that there is a higher power is in control of events remains. The belief is deeply inculcated with there being testimonials to miracles witnessed. A common sign of religion is prayer, which is virtually a practice in all religions. This is carried out in different forms: meditative, which is the more spiritual and silent thinking kind, ritualistic in which reciting occurs, colloquial which is a general conversation with God and petitionery, by which requests are made of God. Religion is thus maintained and beliefs are bred.

It goes, then, without say that the human race is one adept in religion, given by the numerous religious groupings and beliefs.

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 22 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, I found this article very interesting and true. I really believe that church is a good thing for our children, to teach moral responsibility. I see this missing today. People seem to need religion to give them a peaceful life.