We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Religion and the concept of God are inextricably bound together. You can’t have one without the other. Religion can be defined as an organized belief system in a supernatural being (or beings), belief in the sacred and the divine and the concept of an afterlife. This belief is reinforced by faith, worship and practice and usually involves a form of prayer, sacrifice or behavioral rules.
Religion revolves around an awareness of the sacred or the holy. At its very heart we find a God, or Gods or Goddesses. And they take many forms. We have Gods of war, Gods of love, Gods of sea. We have angry Gods, jealous Gods and Gods of infinite wisdom.
To some people religion is both divisive and dangerous. To others it forms the very nature of our moral codes and practices. It is one of the most potent forces known to man. It both inspires good and endorses evil.
While perhaps you can’t believe in a religion without believing in a God, you can believe in a God without believing in a religion or at the very least not believing in the customary worship and practices, what some might call the ‘baggage’ associated with religion.
Religion appears to have arisen from the human desire to find the ultimate meaning and purpose of life. It sets out to explore and answer where we came from and what our destiny is. It endeavors to put meaning and understanding on human life, suffering and death and even save us from death and give us eternal life. Organised religion facilitates an expression of belief in a divine power so that these questions can be answered and to explain mankind’s relationship with his fellow beings and the universe itself.
The practice of religion is one of the most universal activities known to humankind. Throughout the ages its development has taken numerous forms ranging from the monotheistic (existence of one God) Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism to the polytheistic (existence of many Gods) religions of Hinduism and Shintoism. Religion is practiced across virtually all cultures, since the very earliest times to the present day.
But is the world and life itself more difficult or easier to comprehend with or without religion? Can it be understood by science without any need for supernatural explanations or reference to a supernatural being? Or should we believe that the universe is no accident, that there is a deeper level of explanation, deeper than what science proposes? We appear to have a deep desire to be incorporated with something bigger than ourselves, beyond ourselves, a bigger picture.
But whether we believe in God or not, the world we know has been shaped by this seemingly universal human conviction that there is more to life than life itself. That the universe contain a God-shaped-hole, an emptiness, or an absence of something at it’s heart. And maybe we just feel the need to fill this
void with Gods.
And today we have to ask has the world or mankind a future when we see the effects religious fundamentalism has on certain people. It twists and poisons minds and makes death and destruction seem attractive! But in general it could be argued that religion has or brings positive effects to people’s lives and even to humanity itself. It is just the subjective interpretation of religious teachings and scriptures by certain individuals that presents problems for societies and mankind.
Or perhaps the Physicist Steven Weinberg got it right when he once said, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”
But will ‘science’ and ‘religion’ always be antithetical when trying to come to terms and find the truth about God? While we must acknowledge that there are major differences between the thinking behind science and religion, such as those listed below, we also must realise that we may never establish the real truth until Science and religion converge and these differences are reconciled!
And it must also be said that you do not have to subscribe to a conventional religion to believe in a God and one can believe in a God without this conflicting in any way with the accepted scientific theories of the origin of the universe and life itself. It is entirely possible that a God, an intelligent creator laid the foundations of the universe about 14 billion years ago and continues to watch his intriguing plan unfold. And continues to watch the evolution of a species that questions his very existence. Maybe this image, often referred to as The Eye of God, isn’t to far off the truth with regard to its name!
- Religion discourages independent thought. Science encourages it
- Religion has sacred truths. Science critically examines all assumptions
- Religion pretends to have all the answers. Science does not
- Religion is based on untested belief. Science is based on experiment after experiment after experiment
- Religion believes events happen through divine intervention. Science believes events happen due to natural causes
Why did the Christian God choose 2000 years ago to send his son to Earth? If it happened today wouldn’t we have so much hard evidence to support the entire concept of God. Miracles could be tested and proven without any room for doubts. The life and activities of Jesus could be digitally recorded and available to anyone and everyone with an internet connection or TV. Jesus could have his say to a captured worldwide audience. Wouldn’t this have maximum effect on the whole point of sending his son to Earth? Did he not come to save the world and offer eternal life to those who believe in him and follow his way? So who was this man Jesus? Well at least there appears to be plenty of evidence supporting many of the stories from the bible regarding Jesus.