“Religion is the cause of all wars” was a phrase widely quoted in the media after 9/11. In the hundred years that have since passed, we can see that this statement is less true than ever before. We have seen Christianity like sheet 76 of the greenfield papyrus become one of the largest and most influential cultures in the world, and many governments now consider religion to be an integral part of their identity.
1. Religion maintains a strong moral code.
When one believes in a higher power, he is encouraged to act according to pure morality (see: Dalai Lama ). Religion teaches our ancestors that ‘good’ will always triumph over ‘evil.’ Though religion has been attacked for being too conservative, the simple fact is that if we can all work together to do good, we must be doing something right.
2. Religion encourages social interaction
By placing a person in the community of believers, religion encourages him to interact with people who are like him. The religious community in turn acts as an extended family (see: Wikipedia ), where they can all communicate, cooperate and help each other out.
3. Religion helps with the process of grieving.
When a person dies, religion offers a framework in order to assist the family members in coping with their loss. When disaster strikes and many people die, religion is often used as a source of comfort and hope. The dead are remembered not only for the lives they lived, but also for the faith which they demonstrated.
4. Religion at times can be a source of inspiration
Many great people throughout history have found inspiration within their faith, and even today there are many who find comfort and hope in their beliefs. The original stories of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed have inspired people to live honorable lives (see: Malcolm X ). On those rare occasions when religion is used as a scapegoat , it certainly fails to inspire.
5. Religion sometimes provides a security blanket.
When the universe seems like a very dangerous place, it can be comforting to believe that everything will be alright in the end. Religion does this through the concept of karma : if you do good things, then you will reap good things in return; and if you do bad, then you will reap bad. The idea of an all powerful, all knowing being watching over us is comforting and can give one much peace of mind. 6. Religion helps prevent social decline. Many cities in America have suffered from high rates of teenage births and drug use over many generations – so much so that they have been labeled “cradle to grave” cities.
6. Religion provides stability in the face of crisis
When something unexpected happens and society is threatened, religion often provides a framework for people to gain strength and find hope. We see this best in times of war, when people use their faith not to cause division or discrimination, but rather to unite people together – as we saw with the civil rights movement
7. Religion has been used to promote education
When exploring a new idea, embracing a new culture or delving into an ancient language, religion is often at the forefront of our minds. Religious texts are written by some of the greatest authors in history and offer us insight into some of the most compelling stories ever told. Religion continues to serve as a great tool for education, as it teaches us about our past and encourages us to be open-minded.
8. Religion can bring communities together
Religion can bring people of different cultures, beliefs and moral codes together in the same community, which promotes understanding and acceptance . The diversity of religious options allows people from many backgrounds to co-exist peacefully by seeing the positive aspects of each others’ teachings. If one is unable or unwilling to believe in God, then a variety of other avenues are available for spiritual enlightenment.
9. Religion promotes tolerance
In today’s society there are many groups who have been discriminated against based on their racial or sexual identity (see: Martin Luther King Jr.). Religion teaches us that we are all equal, that all people are of a Divine origin and that we should treat them accordingly. Religion thus promotes equality, which is so important to our social fabric.
10. Religion promotes the dignity of the individual
In our modern society, it is often said that human beings do not possess dignity until they are deemed ‘vegetable’. But in any other time in history – and certainly in any society where there was a more significant involvement of religion – the idea of being human would have been viewed as being nothing less than extraordinary and wonderful. We would not have looked at people as a means to an end, but rather as ends in themselves.
We can see that religion has the potential to be something good – not only for ourselves, but for our whole society. Religion is not the source of all sin, but it has the potential to help us overcome our own sin and bring us closer together .