Published 07 Sep 2017
Since the prehistoric era, religion has been in this world. The foremost indication of this religion was through the Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (Molloy) which existed 100, 000 years ago. Every now and then, religion persists to be an exceedingly leading facet of human lives. In this contemporary period, lots of crises and challenges are experienced by humans from all feasible conditions, setting and social category. Day by day, everyone ought to endure matters of fitness, security and transience. And due to these every day concerns that religion persists to exist. As a fact, religion is being held as the general instrument for elaborating things which human beings do not comprehend using the context of the recognized material world.
Even though there are immeasurable religions, each unique from the other, they all provide the similar function. All of them provide answers for the questions which mankind appear to be automatic to inquire: Why we exist? How shall we manage our lives? What is there after life or is there really an after life? Religion makes it possible for us to convey our values and standards from one generation to another, and affects the means we act together with the natural world (Matthews). It educates us how to distinguish ourselves in light of all the creations and gives rationale and significance to life.
Among the countless religions across the world, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are the leading religions of the world. Approximately, there are 2.1 billion adherents of the Christian faith, 1.5 billion for Islam, 900 million for Hinduism, and 376 million for Buddhism (Esposito & Fasching)). By having these figures, it can be inferred that religion is really being patronized by most people all over the world. Only sixteen percent of the world’s population is not a member of any established religious group. The eighty-four percent of the world’s population is affiliated with various religions which imply that most people from across the globe employ the teachings of the traditions set by the religious groups that they are in as their guide in living their lives. This means that the values and beliefs that they have are mainly influenced by their religions such that whatever their actions or behaviors or way of arriving at decisions could really be traced from their religions. If this is so, then religion could really govern the entire human activity.
Though it seems that religions could be the over-all author of mankind’s everyday dealings, religion has been the subject of debates and disputes. The diversity of religions in the world makes it too hard for everyone to just simply go with the course of life. While particular religions describe how life must be realized, others tell otherwise. And there the clash begins. From the ancient period, major conflicts were identified with and attributed to the variety of religions and the contrasting beliefs and traditions that they had. The holocaust was surely among the most identified example of religious war (Matthews). And so are the other wars that occurred in the history of the world.
The most simple justification of those wars was based on the idea that the proponents of those wars were just doing what they ought to do in order to uphold their religious traditions and standards. And efforts or means to prevent them from doing such would mean suppressing their freedom to promote their religious inclinations. This was surely a mistaken assumption held by the advocates of each religion who were part of the aforementioned conflicts. But was there any way to prevent the happening of those wars without imposing restraining orders concerning their religious practices and traditions? Definitely, there were no means established then which led to hostilities and severe misunderstandings.
So much for the ill-results motivated by the existence of various religions in the world, could one boldly assert that religions are nothing but institutions made to cause divergence and disagreement? Could one claim that the world is better off without religions? This is another interesting argument against religions. The abolition or the maintenance of world religions would ignite another war (Esposito & Fasching). This time it is not among religions but between those who believe that religion is still geared towards the greater good and those who suppose that the eradication of all the established religions in the world would help resolve the conflicts of the world.
While the Christians believe in God and the salvation of the souls, the Muslims promote the teachings of Allah and the doctrines written in Quran, the Hindus continue to seek for that which gives peace to mind, and the Buddhists try to maintain the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, their quests and purposes are directed towards one goal – that is to obtain the good life (Molloy).
In this time of globalization, it is expected that everyone will be acquainted and exposed to different kinds of people as well as various settings. Being open with the different religious beliefs and standards is really one of the best way to understand not only the reason why other people live their live their way, but also to realize one’s own cause in this world.
- Esposito, John L. and Fasching, Darrell J. World Religions Today. Second ed. Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Matthews, Warren. World Religions. Fifth ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2006.
- Molloy, Michael. Experiencing the World’s Religions. Fourth ed. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2006.