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Why Religion is Needed

Updated on May 1, 2017
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Jack is retired. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.

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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