What is Religion?
It is not an easy task to directly explain or define religion and come up with a definition that will satisfy everyone. The technicality of the definition is that when we talk of religion everyone believes that he holds the true beliefs i.e. when you go to a Christian and introduce yourself as being religious he will only think of you as a fellow Christian and not a Muslim for example. He is most likely to think of other people as non religious. However, there are some generally accepted elements that each and every religion seems to believe in. Each religious belief recognizes the existence of a supernatural force or power that has control over men and the activities that men do. The supernatural may take any form from physical things to imaginary things depending on the type of religion at hand.
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Respect to the Supreme Being is highly adhered to and there is always a set mode through which the community or individuals communicate with the supreme power. In all the religions, there are some aspects (or doings) that are considered sinful and anyone who contravenes them is believed that he will get punishment in an appropriate method according to the discretion of the supreme power. As a matter of fact, the form that religion takes varies so much. For instance, some claim that religion includes a belief in supernatural or mysterious powers and the supreme expresses itself in activities designated by those powers. Some regard religion as immorality of the soul, especially the atheist (people who don’t believe in the existence of religion). In sociology the word religion is used to mean a wide range of activities (Brank, 65). Religion is thus an institutional system of belief, symbols, values, and practice that provide men solutions to their questions. On the other hand, it always gives a solution to what man always seem not to have an answer. A common characteristic found among all religion is that they present a complexity of emotional feelings and attitudes towards mysteries in life. Thus, religion comprises systems of attitude, beliefs, and symbols which are based on the assumption that certain kind of social elements are sacred and supreme. There is also a structure of activities governed or influenced by this system.
I am a Christian by religion and practices the Roman Catholic faith. This religion of Christianity has a belief in a supernatural supreme called God. In the religion God has the supreme power. He is invisible but omnipresent; this means that the misfortunes in the life’s of the Christians is as a result of the action of the supreme power. On the other hand, there is a book called the bible that governs the religion. If a believer does not comply with the requirement of the bible then God’s power is supposed to punish the individual. As much as the religion was instilled in me, I have developed a conscious belief that the religion works the philosophy, that is, I believe that the religion works under the power of attraction. I believe that the progress I have had in life is because religion has worked for me for a long period of time and I am still willing and ready to practice it. The religion respects other people’s beliefs and religion and even if it is sometimes in conflict with others, for example the Muslim religion, there is always room given to the other religion to practice. There is always a belief in a supreme force. Each religion practices a belief in some supernatural force that all powers are attributed with it. The belief is that we are elements of the religion in one way or another. It influences human life and the observance of the world by the believers (Petton, 22).
Man has to align himself with the requirements of the religion and not the religion to adjust in a way that suits everybody.
Each religion has either written or unwritten laws that govern them. They are bidding at all the times and the punishment of those who do the opposite is left as the work of the supernatural being.
All religions give an answer to misfortunes of nature and are not questionable on what they do (Steen, 43). But are we born religious? The answer to the above question is debatable but whatever religion someone practices is as a result of the socialization process, there are also a number of people who have taken the task of choosing a religion that they are going to follow. This may be away from what was introduced during early socialization.
As stated earlier, we are all emotional on different levels and what now makes the difference is how emotional someone is. The more emotional a person is the more ‘’ religious in his practice of religion.
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How I Became a Christian
This was instilled in me right from the early age of socialization by my parents. The same followed me in my school life, I remember in kindergarten the songs that we sung were all in line with Christianity religion. The same story followed me in primary school. Come when I went to high school I was not spared. I went to a catholic secondary school where the exercise was even more compulsory. I remember very well that all mornings we had to have a mass (a religious ceremony performed by the catholic faith followers). When parents are bringing children up, they align them with the expected belief that they should have at an early age and recommend as well as enforce that. They teach them similar religion with what they believe themselves. They are made to believe that the religion they practice is superior of the others in the world (Nyer, 33).
The other area that an individual learns religion is through relatives and immediate neighbors. The three above can ‘’choose’ the religion’ that a young born is supposed to follow, this is through the early socialization system in the individual. When one is a grown up, there is freedom in most societies to choose the religion to follow. The greatest number does not change. There are some people who are regarded as ‘’more’’ religious than others and questions has been whether the religion is an inborn thing.
How My Religion Relates to the World
My religion has assisted me in various areas of the society at large. There are things that are highly prohibited for example homosexuality. On the other hand, it advocates for other aspects that are important in the life of human beings. For example it advocates for assisting the needy. This has influenced me to conduct various money collection campaigns in that effect. From a general point of view;
Though religion is a highly personal issue, it has a social impact on the entire society. It is a very powerful tool in society and performs a lot of important social functions in society.
It is through religion that suffering can be justified to be good and necessary.
Being a generally accepted mode of living and doing some functions, it is seen as an effective way that bring people together for a social good. It also emphasizes on the importance of each and every societal member.
Man does not live on knowledge alone and at times the religion serves to sooth the emotions of man in the time of suffering and disappointment. The belief in some unseen power helps us to acknowledge some importance in ourselves and develop a sense of hope. Even when everything seems not working out well, the mere believe that some power is up above us and it is going to rescue us makes a great difference. Finally, the religion enables an individual to interpret a catastrophe as secondary or intermediate and believe that he is the cause of the problem through his relation with the Supreme Being. This assists in bearing frustrations and desperation in life, and integrates the personality of a person.
How I See the World with Religion
The followers of any religion have the do’s and dont’s and in all of them they advocate for the positives. Other than cults the various religions has controlled human conduct in many aspects. I can say that the world is what it is because of what we believe. In conclusion, society has a way of controlling the activities of its members and religion has been a successful element in the entire world. Everyone deserves to be given due respect on what she/he believes. If one is an atheist and does not believe in the religion, he or she should be given space and not seen as an outcast in the society.
Brank, Rebecca. Is the market moral? A dialogue of religion, economics and justice. D.C. Brooking institution press, 2004.
Nyer, Maloy. Religion: the basics. London: Routledge, 2008.
Petton, Kimberley. Religion of the Gods, ritual, paradox and reflexivity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Steen, Rebecca. The anthropology of religion, magic and witchcraft. Boston: Pearson, 2008.