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The need for religion
In an age of space travel, the world wide web, democratic governments in most countries, huge advancement in scientific and medical knowledge, European court of human rights, l believe that mankind still needs a religion.
Let me take you back to a time when things were not so clear. Imagine that it is ad79 and you live in the city of Pompei. For several days now you have experienced a lot of earth tremors. You know only what your religious beliefs tell you. In case the gods are displeased and are punishing you. But if you truly believe then your gods will save you. Suddenly you notice that the mountain Vesuveous has burst open and flames are leaping into the air followed by an umbrella cloud of poisonous smoke. Do you still believe that your Gods are angry but will protect you from harm? If you do then you are already dead because next, pieces of red hot rock and molten lava cascade down onto Pompei. The whole city ends up buried under 4 or 5 metres of ash and rock. It has been estimated that 2000 people died that day.
Throughout history religion has been used to compensate the lack of scientific knowledge. One of the few survivors of Pompei, Pliny the younger documented well the events of Pompei. He wrote about the earth tremors the days beforehand. The people had had warning but still many chose not to leave. The reason that they didn’t leave was that that they believed that theory Gods would save them.
What happened in Pompei shows that religion has been used to explain natural phenomena and provide us with a moral code. So in these days of scientific knowledge which can explain almost every aspect of life, and legislation which dictates what we can and cannot do, does mankind still need a religion?
Today we are able to travel to space and have made gigantic technological advances which have made it possible to further our knowledge about the world that we inhabit.
So far l may have led you to believe that there is a choice of either science or religion, but actually, l believe that they are not mutually exclusive, and in fact complement each other. However, over the years there have been many arguments as to the reliability and truth of religions. Scientists such as Professor Richard Dawkins believe that there is no evidence to back up the preaching’s of religion. Dawkins once said; ‘Faith is the great cop out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.’ Yet is there always proof to all of scientists theories? An example is the big bang. Religious belief is that God created earth in 7 days. While scientists believe that it was the big bang. As these events happened billions of years ago it is not possible to proof either side. So this means that religion and science are equal. So actually either could be correct and science is a religion because it requires the same leap of faith.
Many people believe that evolution is actually a religion. This may sound crazy but if you think about what it is to be part of a religion it does make sense. Scientists believe in their theories as religious people do the bible without any substantial proof.
I think that this is important because it shows what we need religion for. It shows that people need something to believe in to support them in an otherwise unstable and ever-changing world. Wither it is called religion or science it is the effect it has on us that counts.
In the absence of organised religion, in many peoples lives this need for something to believe in is satisfied by self-help manuals. Are they in actual fact a concept derived from the bible? People who follow a bible use it to show them how to live. Self-help books do the same thing. There are several different types of manuals on the market the most obvious being the diet guides such as Dr Ali’s nutritional bible. Even the name claims that it is some sort of a bible!
Jose Silva was a man ahead of his time with self-help books. He believed that the reason why some people are more successful than others is because some people are aiming at what they think that they should do rather than what they were sent to do. Other manuals tell you how to achieve your goal but not whither it is the correct goal for you. Silva believed that if you were aiming at the wrong thing then you would fail. He is a good example of how one man can control the destiny of others like that of a god. During his life-time he sold over 50 million copies of his books.
These books are the equivalent of the bible because people follow them as a lifestyle. They provide a guide to life, a moral code. They help you to make decisions by providing you with priorities and with rules for living the good life, the moral life, the guilt free life.
Religion and what it represents is the backbone of life. People use it to guide them through and show them what to do. In a modern world where everything is changing it is important to have something that will always be constant.
So no matter what you call it - science, self-help, religion - we need it because we are faced with challenges in an unfriendly universe, where we have to make sense of natural phenomena, we have to make a structure, and we have to fill that empty void with some meaning, so mankind needs a religion.