There is literally no more sensitive topic in this world than religion. And politics. And race issues. Alright, people are sensitive about pretty much everything. Why? Because we are alive and a lot of stuff bothers us. We are friendly and smiley right until the moment somebody brings up the discussion of the subject which is highly important for us. Then we are unstoppable.
Yes, religion is one of these subjects. Now the whole world has been brought into the discussion. Okay, enough with philosophical reflections. Let`s look into the core of the issue and find out why religion exists in human society.
History of people`s beliefs in supernatural phenomena starts with the very beginning of Homo Sapiens era on this planet. Reason? Fear and lack of knowledge about nature. It is easy to understand why cavemen would come up with the idea that everything in the surrounding world is controlled by some kind of almighty power.
Let`s all put ourselves in the shoes of primitive men, will we? All you needed to know in order to survive back then is that you need to eat and you need to run. There is some water falling from the sky. There are sparkly snakes cutting through the darkness. And the sound of thunder! Can you even imagine how terrifying it was for a caveman to experience all that?
Those people had no idea what was going on around them: they couldn`t explain it. But it`s in our nature to find explanations to everything that bothers us. Like, remember the time when you tripped on the flat surface and your granny immediately thought you were jinxed? However, the real reason is that you are astonishingly clumsy and your body was just not created for gravitation.
So, we are looking for answers. Understandably, for primal people, divine intervention could be a decent answer. At first, they did not have gods and goddesses or religion per se. They simply believed that everything around them is alive. Natural phenomena are alive and they can get mad.
To be quite frank, I can`t get how come they saw a pattern between killing a lamb and saving their crops from a drought, but such pattern of social behavior has been going on and on for centuries. Do you want to see the roots of the very first religious beliefs? Book yourself a trip to Africa. Certain tribes are still following the footsteps of their ancestors. Paganism and offering the lives of creatures (sometimes even humans) to please their gods are common tendencies in certain regions.
Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt had a lot in common if we take a deep dive through their religious preferences. They all were polytheists. Each natural phenomena or type of interaction between people (like love, friendship or bellicosity) were controlled by powers from above, according to their beliefs. Religion was becoming a powerful tool in the hands of governors. People believed that rulers were chosen by gods.
It wasn`t until the widespread of Christianity throughout Europe when the armed religious conflicts started to emerge. A distinctive feature of this religion was acceptance of only one God who is responsible for the creation of everything on the planet, including people.
Now let`s just stop for a second. Taking into consideration that religion is truly a sensitive topic, I would like to say that there is no intention of hurting or diminishing anyone`s spiritual beliefs. Simple historical facts and opinions of the scientists. Deal? Now, I guess, we can go on.
Human beliefs are the subject of psychological and behavioral studies. Religion, however, is more about politics. It is normal for people to seek help from above because it`s in our nature to hope and look for answers. This has to do with beliefs. But it has nothing in common with religion.
What does it mean? It means that faith and religion are not the similar things! Faith is something that comes from within and religion represents the outside attributes of people`s beliefs. Faith was created by the mind and soul of individuals and it has special sacred meaning to each of us. Religion, on the other hand, was created by people who wanted to control other people while fighting for power.
This is not just my bold opinion. The debate around this topic has been going on and on for centuries, for millenniums. The most widely accepted conclusion is the need to distinguish faith and religion. It is even more crucial nowadays than it was ever before.
Faith in its core has an intention to unite people, make them stronger together and let them know they are not alone. At the end of the day, there are such different attributes as churches, holidays, ceremonies. But the spirituality is something that is growing in the hearts of all believers. Christians or Muslims, Buddhists or Confucians – they all believe in the almighty power of kindness and justice. This is all that truly matters.
This essay would not be considered to be fully inclusive if we had forgotten about atheists. They are the minority but turns out they are the intellectual engine in most of the countries. What is their main issue? While people all over the world have faith in God, they have faith in people.