Free «Religion Has Done More Good than Harm through Human History» UK Essay Paper
Table of Contents
Religion is a phenomenon, an element, and a function in a human culture. In this sense, culture is represented as combined views of people on the world where they are born, raised, and now live. In other words, it is a result of the knowledge of the reality that surrounds people in the physical world. In contrast, religion can be seen as a set of experiences, impressions, conclusions, and activities of one person or a group of people regarding the matter of the highest order. It is a belief of people in something supersensible, the existence of a non-material world that manages the development of the universe and humanity. Religion in some cases claims to be the only form of the explanation of the world. However, it sometimes leads to tragic consequences such as the destruction of eminent scientists during the Inquisition. Thus, there are different attitudes towards religion. Nevertheless, according to my opinion, religion has done more good than harm through human history.
The Problem of the Emergence of Religion
The word religion is of the Latin origin. It means tenderness, piety, and holiness (Nathan, 2009). A deep philosophical question of how and when religion appeared is possible to resolve with the help of two mutually exclusive answers. Religion originated with a man who, as described in the Bible, was designed and created by God. The faith has arisen because there is the Creator and a person who can perceive Him. Proponents of this point of view believe that if God did not exist, there would be no such a concept in the human mind. In this case, the conclusion is that religion exists indigenously.
The second assertion is that religion is a product of the formation of the human mind. Thus, a person has created God or gods trying to understand and explain the world around. The starting point for this judgment is the theory of the origin of people and their consciousness in the process of biological evolution (Nathan, 2009). Due to the various points of view on the origin of religion, the issue is still open and causes many debates. “Of course, there are many religions, but they are very different from one another” (Ward, 2011, p. 7). Currently, there are many religions as well as their classifications. In the science, the following types are distinguished: tribal, national, and world religions. Modern scholars identify three major religions of the world, that is Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam as well as numerous branches and sects based on these beliefs (Nathan, 2009). It can be noted that despite different rituals and traditions, the three above-mentioned major flows have much in common.
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The Role of Religion in Human History
Some people suppose that religion causes wars because of the various views of the believers. However, it is important to remember that only people unleash wars. The most essential issue of religion is people who misinterpret its doctrines. In the book Preventing Ethnic Conflict: Successful Cross-national Strategies, the authors state that“People who intend harm to other people will always find some excuse or justification for their evil deeds” (Deutscher & Lindsey, 2011, p. 188). According to my opinion, religion brought to humanity more advantages than disadvantages.
Despite the fact that many opponents claim that religion has caused more troubles than benefits to people, devotional beliefs exist in human society for thousands of years and do not want to disappear. The main usefulness of religion is the formation of spiritual values and moral benchmarks that help any society. Faith defines the correct code of values. Indeed, the meaning of life is not only to obtain the greatest possible enjoyment of material goods. Passion and desire are in need of control and retention. Through human history, religion teaches people that love, kindness, and mutual assistance are good, whereas envy, anger, vanity, and pride are bad. In the book Preventing Ethnic Conflict: Successful Cross-national Strategies, it is mentioned that “Religious belief can inspire virtue, reflection, and sublime beauty” (Deutscher & Lindsey, 2011, p. 188).
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At the heart of religion, there is a certain teaching about the development of personality and the appropriateness of the upbringing (Witte & Green, 2011). Faith in historically developed confessional forms has a significant and comprehensive impact on the moral principles of the believers. According to many experts, it helps a person not commit criminal acts (Witte & Green, 2011). Most experts believe that the religious aspect helps in the fight against crimes (Witte & Green, 2011). However, it is not a panacea. Norms of morality being codified in the sacred texts is distributed with religions. The Orthodox Church, for example, adheres to humanistic views on the problems of ecology, demography, social conflicts, and the relationship between various ecclesiastical organizations. However, at the same time, it emphasizes that the Orthodox Church has always been the guardian of the best human traditions in difficult times (Ward, 2011).
Everyone is looking for the meaning of life by philosophizing about the existence and the essence of a man. Religion helps people find the answers to these questions. The vast majority of individuals are interested not only in material but also spiritual dimension of life. Things which make people humans and differ them from animals give consciousness. It is called religious faith. It is conditioned by specifics of the human psyche. Religion is what a person needs in view of his/her social essence. It exists in the society not as a foreign body but as a manifestation of life. It cannot be isolated from social life. According to data published in June 2005 by the researchers from the University of Medicine of Chicago, there are more believers among US physicians than among other scientists (Ward, 2011). The published article states that due to the earlier survey, 76% of US physicians believe in God and 59% believe that there is some form of afterlife (Ward, 2011).
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