What are the Benefits of Being Religious?
World Religions by Percentage
Question - What do you find to be beneficial in your religion?
I recently asked this question in a couple of ways on the forums and in the question and answer section of HubPages.
These are the responses I have received. At the end of the hub I will make a personal commentary about these responses. I wish to thank everyone that participated in this short survey on how religion can be of benefit on a personal level.
Please feel free to comment at the end, but do not copy and paste responses from other sources. Do not include links to any other web site. Just state your original thoughts on the subject at hand. Thank you.
The Number One Benefit of Religion
"Having a Personal Relationship With God"
This benefit was expressed in various ways. "Knowing God", "Experiencing His amazing love", "He will someday explain the relationship between God and Man to me (personally)" and "Receiving God's grace" are all quotes from some of the responses.
I may have paraphrased some of the responses, but the intent is there. I understand this benefit to mean that religion brings with it a guarantee that God is a companion, a father figure, a real and present partner to them. He dwells within the religious believer as a real entity.
Religious Benefit Number Two
"Having your sins forgiven"
This response sounds like it came mostly from Christians, but they believe that "absolution of sins" is a huge benefit of being religious. This absolution comes from the main tenet of Christianity regarding the crucifixion story.
For non-christians, the story is that God sent his "only begotten son" to earth to spread the word about God's love for his creation (man). The son of God then became a target of the original Jewish religion which labeled Jesus (son of God) as a blasphemer and heretic for claiming to be the "savior" of all mankind. He was sentenced to die on a cross in a manner normally reserved for thieves and the like.
During his lifetime, God (in human form as Jesus), ostensibly performed many miracles, even bringing a dead man back to life. He was also "resurrected" after his own crucifixion and purportedly ascended to heaven.
Jesus had disciples that wrote of God's life on earth as a man. It's all in a book called The Bible. According to the book, Jesus once stated that those who believe in him and his promises will be "born again", "saved from original sin" and will live forever in the kingdom of heaven. During his execution, he forgave all of the world's believers for their sins against God and asked God to forgive all of mankind.
Religious Benefit Number Three
It appears that having the ability to pray, pray for others and have others pray for you is a religious benefit.
According to religious sources, prayer has the ability to heal the sick, serves as a communication conduit to God and calls for "God's Grace" upon the performer and recipient of prayer.
Some prayers are in the form of poetry and dissertations. Some prayers need to be memorized and repeated as a penance for less than God-like behavior. Some prayers are mandated five times per day facing the Holy Land.
Prayers may be spoken or whispered aloud, alone or in a group. They may be spoken in the dark inside a closet, but they are mostly performed in public. Prayers are spoken in time of peace, stress, fear and war or for no other reason than to keep a child safe at night while sleeping.
Prayers are generally requests for blessings of some kind. They are petitions directly to God. Religious groups believe they have a constitutional right to pray whenever and wherever they so choose, even in government run institutions (such as public schools) that mandate separation of church and state.
Religious Benefit Number Four
This benefit is nearly world wide and crosses the basic beliefs of all named religions. Spirituality is the concept of place in the universe. It attempts to answer the question, "Why are we here?".
Spirituality is the basis of all religions. We attempt to find a purpose or function for being born. For some, spirituality is found in a church or religion.
Religious Benefit Number Five
This benefit should not be confused with spirituality although it is similar. Inner peace is defined as the acceptance of one's place in the universe. A purpose has already been discovered via spirituality and the person achieves contentment with that purpose.
Inner Peace is also a release of stress. The inner self is in a state of calmness and satisfaction with the world and themselves.
Religious Benefit Number Six
Purpose and Good Deeds
Most religions bring practical ways to discover life's "purpose". They practice good deeds like feeding the poor, ministering to people in "spiritual" distress and organization of groups to spread the word of God.
Religions recognize the efforts of "saints" and those "filled with the holy spirit". Members of the religion generally praise the outstanding work of its believers. They have public ceremonies for awards and special titles. Recognition of one's deeds is indeed a tangible benefit of religion.
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Religious Benefit Number Seven
Visiting Like Minded Individuals
People who have the same types of personalities and beliefs enjoy the beneficial companionship that religion provides. Everyone wants to feel needed, wanted and appreciated. It is a basic human trait.
Many churches are very social with their members. They have even formed "teams" of like minded splinter groups. Generally, a person will always belong to the group they were raised with. It is rare to change religions during a lifetime.
Religious Benefit Number Eight
Accountability and Moral Guidance
Surprisingly this came up as a religious benefit. Presumably, this benefits religious followers in the same way our government and laws benefit non-religious people.
Religions have tenets, laws and guiding principles that they say come from God. These laws may supersede man's laws in various circumstances according to their beliefs about how the supreme being expects humans to act.
A great deal of these laws are incomprehensible in today's society, but religious followers continue to honor and obey some of the tenets put forth thousands of years ago. The laws guide their lives and therefore are a substantial benefit of their religion.
Religious Benefit Number Nine
Relieves the Fear of Dying
This may be the most substantial benefit of religion. Very few people have no fear of death. Those that are unafraid to die make fierce warriors and perhaps even heroes.
However, most mortals do indeed fear death. It is the singular most horrifying event in some people's minds. A person can be driven mad by dwelling on the means and manner of death. Grief is monumental when a loved one dies.
All religions of the world respect the process of death. All of us have to die. It is the great equalizer. No matter how rich or influential or powerful a human becomes in life, it is our destiny to die.
Organized religion greatly benefits the bereaved, the sick and the dying. It may even be the true purpose of religion in the first place.
Religious Benefit Number Ten
Although this benefit was never listed in any of the responses I received, I did get the impression that religious practitioners were quite confident in their religious beliefs. They truly believe that religion is the saving grace of their lives.
Religious tenets are ingrained from birth. Some people rebel against their religion, but other people become steadfast and extremely loyal. People aggressively defend their right to be religious and they have the added benefit of "God is on my side". Even if it means war with the "unbelievers".
By calling other religious people "infidels", it means those with a different religious view from their own. Confident that "their" religion is the "correct" religion, it is mandated in some religious books that we convert the "wrong" religions in a quest to educate and enlighten the "heathens" of that religion.
Confidence is the benefit that seems unbreakable.
Warning! The Following is a Personal Opinion of the Benefits of Religion
You may disagree with the way I have presented this hub. You may disagree with my views entirely. But please sit down and meditate on what you truly believe to be the benefits of being religious.
Most people tried desperately to convince me that their religion was great, wonderful and true. Answers were posted to try to explain their religious views to me. My question was about how ANY religion actually BENEFITS the practitioner, not preach to me about your particular sect.
I discarded all of the inappropriate answers - they were not benefits. A benefit is something extra that is derived from a common event. A benefit is something that adds value. A benefit is what makes one thing better than another thing.
It is my personal opinion that people have no clue as to what the actual benefits of their religion are. I was tasked to evaluate each and every post as to what benefit they were describing.
One person said that "God's Grace" was a benefit, but then went on to explain that God's Grace is available to everyone. Well, that is not an actual benefit then. It's not an "extra" advantageous feature of being religious if it is freely available to all.
So pick some or all of the benefits listed and meditate on them. Are they true benefits? Or are you confused as to what constitutes a real benefit from your religion?
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© 2012 Lela