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Why Religion is Needed

Updated on May 1, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

In conversations here on HubPages with a humanist, I debated the basis and need for religion. His secular view is that religion was the cause of many archaic ideas. These ideas are the reason for our sad state and the constant conflict. I will explain why he is wrong point by point.

- Apr. 2017

Background

The Bible is the Word of God. Even if you don't agree or believe, take it on face value. The lessons and wisdom within the scriptures is a guide for us humans to live a just and happy life.

Some have the erroneous notion that God and Religion are one and the same. Religion is not God. Religion is a construct created by man to propagate the faith. Think about it. Even if one person has the wisdom and knowledge of all that the Bible teaches, how can the other people profit from that. It takes an organization and a bureacracy to create an organization to teach followers and spread the knowledge.

Since it is a human construct, it is prone to all the failings and imperfections. It still serve the purpose. We will have to live with it until the day of the 2nd coming, where religion will not be needed any more as the scriptures stated.

Point By Point

  • Two sexes - God created humans, male and female. They are each given 23 genes which combine into 46 that will procreate the next generation. The genius of this is that the offspring is not an exact duplicate of the parent but a new person with some of the traits of each parent.
  • Family unit - the basic building block of society. Ideally, a father, and a mother and children. Not that other configuration is also possible but not ideal. Just like a single parent is not as good as having two parents. Each parent contribute in different ways to the development of the child.
  • Education - Part of religion and propagation of the faith involves education. In order to do that, schools and literacy are primary. That is why some of our most prestigious colleges like Harvard, Yale and Princeton were established by religious institutions.
  • Honor thy parents - it is the 4th commandment. Why is this important? This is how family stays close and take care of each other. This is not just a Christian belief but a main tenet of Confucius philosophy. Before there was social security and welfare, when people gets too old to work, they are taken care of by their children. It is the circle of life.
  • Killing - 5th commandment is obvious a sin. When taking another's life, it is the ultimate cime.
  • Adultery - 6th commandment is probably the one sin that is most harmful. It is harmful to the family and therefore affects every aspect of our lives and our children's development.
  • Stealing - 7th commandment should also be obvious. Taking something that does not belong to you creates conflict.
  • Lying and bear false witness is the 8th commandment. This is the source of so many bad scenarios. We make our daily decisions based on information. If the information we are given is false or incomplete or biased, we make either bad decisions or wrong decisions. Many of our interactions with people are based on trust. If we can't rely on truth, than all bets are off. That is why we are taught by our parents to not lie.
  • Coveting neighbor's wife - the 9th commandment is a unique one. In some theology, it is combined with the 10th. In Catholicism, it is treated separate because we made a distinction between people and things.
  • Coveting things - the last commandment is what separates us from the animal kingdom. It is natural for all to want things. We want food, and drinks and cloths and money... We are taught not to covet what others have. That is the source of all conflicts.
  • Resting on the sabbath - 3rd commandment is a common sense idea. Resting on the 7th day is beneficial to our body and mind. We need a day of rest to recuperate and reenergize. It is the same idea of the Shemitah, resting of the land every seventh year.
  • Hate the sin love the sinner - A Christian belief in forgiveness and not be judgmental. Why is this so mis-understood? By separating the act from the actor, we can do both. We can identify an act as wrong but forgive the actor or person commiting the act.
  • End justify the means - In communism, or Karl Marx's philosophy, as long as we get the results we want, anything is within our power including lying and cheating. This is in direct conflict with Christian belief.
  • Survival of the fittest - in Darwin's evolution theory, we are told that species survive because they have adapted or evolved a better trait which gives that species the advantage to survive. Is that true? Christians and humans do not follow that rule. It is why we don't kill babies that are born with defects. It is why we help our fellow man with charity.

What About Our Checkered Past?

Atheists and humanists will argue that religion and its rules are the causes of conflicts and wars down through the ages. They point to rules or laws that discriminate against women anf gays and minorities. They point to the fact that the bible speaks of slavery and male dominance and all kinds of inequities. Do they have a point?

If you believe that religion is the cause of these bad events, then, logically the lack of religion should be better for man. Is that statement true? Or false. One of the example cited is the American Indians. They were a peaceful tribes before the invasion of the whitemen. After Columbus discovered the New World, they brought disease and religion which caused their demise as a race. This is what is being taught in public schools today. The problem is, it is a false narrative. The indians were as violent against other tribes and competed for resources and survival. They mistreated their women and old people and left them to fend for themselves when they are too old to hunt or work. It was religion that brought compassion to the masses.

In South America, the Incas and Mayans had practiced human sacrifices to pay homage to their Gods. So, does this proof the point of atheists that all religion is bad? No, not at all. All it proofs is that some religion are misguided.

What about slavery? Didn't the bible condone such practices? Here is how we should treat the Bible as both the Word of God and a history of our past. The fact that we were given a set of instructions to follow, and yet disobeyed them, which let us to all sorts of problems... that is what the Bible teaches us. It is more a historical lesson of what transpired in our past and help guide us to the future which will lead us to salvation.

Two Very Different World Views

The bottom line is we are given two very different world views. On the one hand, the Humanists believe that man is in control of our destiny. Our progress through science and technology will bring forth equality and progress and lead to a better more equitable life for all. Our past is full of violence and conflicts and all caused by various religion which created conflict among various groups and nationalities. The UN is the answer that will allow all of us to work out our differences and create a peaceful planet.

The Christian world view is diametric opposite. We believe that the world was created by God for humans to live. We were given a set of instructions and a free will to guide us. Unfortunately, our nature was to sin and disobey God and his rules. This has lead us down to the current state. What may seem like progress in technology, though impressive, have not brought us any closer to perfection.

Let's examine some recent developments of the last 50 years. Our courts have given rulings that have changed our politics and our social order. In one Supreme Court ruling in 1973, abortion was legalized. Our courts has also interpreted the separation of Church and State as rmoving all aspects of religion from the public square.

These two rulings along with the great society of helping the poor through entitlements, have brought our country to the current crossroads.

  • high divorce rates
  • high incidents of single mothers
  • increased poverty and dependency
  • poor public education in inner cities
  • High crime and drug use
  • lack of morals and respect for authority
  • little respect for human life

A Humanist's 10 Commandments (a Satire)

  • There is no God except humans and humans are gods
  • Thou shall not take the lord's name in vain except when it is a curse.
  • Everyday can be a day of rest especially for people on welfare.
  • No need to honor your parents. They are no different than any other humans who are all equal.
  • Thou shall not kill except a fetus in a women's womb can be aborted any time.
  • Adultery is a natural human trait. If it feels good, do as you please.
  • Stealing is not a sin. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
  • The end justify the means. Anything including lying and deceipt is fine as long as the State is our salvation.
  • Lust is a normal human feeling. You are paying her a compliment when you lust after your neighbor's wife.
  • "Greed is good" in the word's of Gordon Gekko. He went on to make the point that greed is a clean drive that "captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind."

A Final Word

Here is something I often think about. Suppose I die and goes to meet our maker. I get to ask Him the big question on all our minds - What is the meaning of life?

What will be the answer?

I don't know the answer though I have some guesses. I address this topic in one of my other hubs.

Next, I will ask why did it have to be so difficult a struggle for humans?

His answer to this one I do know.

He will say, it did not have to be that way. I gave you all an instruction book. If you followed it, life would be much easier.

The moral of the story - we had the answers all along but chose not to listen. Because we were given free will.

Summary

In this hub, I try to make the case for religion and faith. With all things considered, religion had a positive influence on our society as a whole and on individuals. It is not perfect and can never be. It was created by man who is imperfect. We do our best to propagate the faith and teach the next generation what is right and wrong in the eyes of God. We look forward to the second coming of our Lord who will be the final judgement. We look to heaven with joy to the day man will reunite with the Father and live in blissful harmony.

© 2017 Jack Lee

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    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Alan, with all due respect, I am not evangelizing. I have written an essay that gives my opinion as contrary to others here on HubPages in forum discussions.

      My contention is that, overall, religion has played a positive role in the development of our society, though not perfect.

      In recent years, we have gone backwards, again in my view, when it comes to society and civil behavior.

      You may not see the connection but I do. When you have a big government mentality that promises to take care of people from cradle to grave... you will end up with many people that will accept this as the norm.

      Unfortunately, as we have found out in hind sight, that government cannot do it all. Look at Katrina and the aftermath. Why did those people stayed home and did not evacuate?

      The incidences of high single parent, unwed mothers, welfare dependency, food stamps and entitlements are all indicators to me that government is better when it is limited. All these programs though with intentions end up hurting the very people they try to help. When you are given everything and nothing is expected, you destroy the human spirit.

      My comments are not meant to be judgemental or superiority as you claim.

      It is a discourse on where we are and what is the proper path forward. It is meant to educate and act as a guide. I can't force anyone to believe. I can't force any one to comply. I can just present my case and let the chips fall. Good luck to you. I really mean that.

      I have nothing to gain here. I am retired and have done well in my life and had a great career with the grace of God. I am using my time left on this world to help others. I am volunteering my time at a local archives. I don't expect anything in return. My advices here on various topics including fiance, and travel and cooking and self help... and even religion and technology are just that- advice. Like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water...

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 months ago from Tasmania

      Jack, your reason for being here is to try and convert others to your religion.

      By saying "atheists and humanists..." you are making a judgement of them generally. That judgement is all in your mind, and it is your mind that is seeking control of other minds.

      By suggesting that others have a set of rules which is inferior to your set of rules, you display an arrogance, a superiority.

      You perceive the views of others as inferior to yours. That is bigotry. Maybe I am guilty of that as well, but it is not my intention or desire to "convert" you to atheism; your religion is your business, not mine. That religion does not belong in my life. It has gained a bad reputation because of pushy evangelism such as yours.

      I am living very well and happily without your religion, so if you were to knock on my door and start preaching to me, you would get a swift boot-up-the-butt. Most impolite on my part, I know, but the only effective response in the light of my experience.

      Now, I will leave the discussion to others who are much more capable at arguing.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Alan, I added a module to this hub to help you out. Atheists and humanists have a set of rules though they are not cast in stone. Their 10 commandments are in direct contrast to the 10 commandments given to Moses.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 months ago from Tasmania

      Unnecessary questions. Pointless discussion. Diversionary tactics.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Alan, let me ask you this. Even though you don't believe in a creator, what if you were given the power as a Creator? What commandments or instructions will you give your fellow man as a way to live their lives and reach contentment?

      I think you would have a hard time coming up with 10 rules better than what we have...

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 months ago from Tasmania

      Ok, so with your background in science and engineering, is either of these logical in your opinion? .... "Either man was created by God as the creation theory say or we were created by some alien race that came to earth a long time ago and manipulated our DNA to create the modern man."

      I can accept that the theory of evolution is only a theory. Yet in that there is always room for further conjecture, theories, ideas, open in each and every instance to more questions, confirmation or discrediting. This, I trust you will agree, is the nature of scientific inquiry.

      But a Creator? Along the lines that we humans can imagine, somehow constructing the physical world as we know it? Certainly not in terms of our finite understanding.

      Alien beings? I happily leave that to Hollywood.

      The best explanation I can accept for now is that for you, your DNA is driving your mental need to "believe" as you do. That surely is a logical possibility; which the other suggestions certainly are not - In my humble opinion.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Alan, I am not as close minded as you might think. In my 60 plus years of experience, and having both a science and engineering background, I have studied this subject for a long time. I am also a student of history. I have read quite a bit of past civilizations. My conclusions are based on knowledge. I also have insight into what human nature is. I have weighted all theories and have concluded that evolution theory does not explain our current condition. There are two viable alternatives. Either man was created by God as the creation theory say or we were created by some alien race that came to earth a long time ago and manipulated our DNA to create the modern man. In the second case, it still does not answer the question where did the aliens come from? How did they come about?

      Until these aliens make themselves known, I have to default to the creation story.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 months ago from Tasmania

      Jack, if you seriously consider those "failings" of humans and/or human societies as being a result of religious absence, then your mind is so niaive that I would not wish to argue with you.

      As you said, and I naturally agree, I am free to disagree with your assessments of reality. Thank you.

      I cannot change your mind and you obviously decline to open that mind to non-religious alternatives.

      My mind is always open to reasonable, logical ideas, based upon provable concepts. Your religion only presents ideas on the metaphysical which are not provable except by way of a belief system.

      So, have a good day. Bye.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      You are not interpreting the will of the people correctly.

      It is not force if the majority of the people agreed and voted for representatives that writes the laws. We are also free to change the law as society changes. That is what happened with prohibition. It was repealed when it was determined that it didn't work as intended.

      Our country was founded on Judeo Christian philosophy but we are not a theocracy. We do not impose our religious beliefs on others. That is up to the people in a democracy. If the people voted to celebrate Christmas as a national holiday, it is not forced. It is a practical matter. Just as in NYC, where many teachers are Jewish, they close the schools during High Jewish holy days. Not because we honor them but because you can't open the school when so many teachers are out.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Alan, it is what I believe and you are free to disagree. However, the results of a secular society is clear and have demonstrated a decline over the last 50 years. It is not only Christian religion but others as well. In China, under Communism, having no religion of any kind, even Buddhism were suppressed, the current state of the Chinese population is morally bankrupt. It is why they produce shoddy products and fillers in baby formula that harm kids. If there is no right or wrong, then anything goes. It has also lead to a divorce rate of 70% in Beijing, the Capitol. Why do you think that is?

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 months ago from Tasmania

      Jack, why don't you simply say, "This is what I believe," instead of stating things as adamant facts? You are entitled to your beliefs, as I am entitled to accept none of what you believe.

      It is in many cases the dogmatism which drives people away from your christianism.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 months ago from Tasmania

      "The Christian world view is diametric opposite. We believe that the world was created by God for humans to live. We were given a set of instructions and a free will to guide us. Unfortunately, our nature was to sin and disobey God and his rules. This has lead us down to the current state. What may seem like progress in technology, though impressive, have not brought us any closer to perfection."

      Lack Lee, this is your statement. In it you show precisely why I have abandoned ship from your religion of nonsense. Thank you.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      They suffer the consequences...

    • Castlepaloma profile image

      Castlepaloma 3 months ago from Saskatchewan, Canada

      People see what they want to see and do what they want to do.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 3 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      Re; different world views section: You're right in that there are two differing world views. The secular one is that we are all responsible for our own lives, and the only interference should be to allow groups or people to live together. The religious one is that personal interpretation of God is responsible for guidance and everyone shall bend knee to that interpretation. This is completely out of line and violates even Christian instruction and moral structures, but is still a cornerstone of that world view.

      Your list of evils in the world are interesting, mostly because you indicate a causal link between them and the removal of all religious faith from government and/or laws on removing bits of unwanted tissue (NOT babies or persons) from some women.

      It would be even MORE interesting if you could provide evidence of that causal link - perhaps showing that abortion laws cause divorce rates among Christians to soar. Or that taking religious beliefs out of government has resulted in decreasing morals, like the ones requiring gays not be discriminated against. Most of us find the old, barbaric notion that all gays are to be shunned by all right thinking folk to be quite immoral, but it is that very lack of religion in government that has shed of us of that and other similar barbaric notions.

      I might suggest as well that when it comes to religious beliefs, radical Islam has just as much hard evidence of being right as Christianity does. While I recognize that this will be found incorrect by all Christians, it remains true and is a large part of why Christianity (or most religions) cannot seem to understand that their own myths must NOT be allowed to control other people. Your personal beliefs hold no more water than any other.