Saturday, 18 August 2012

RELIGION: God's greatest gift or God's greatest rift to mankind?

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RELIGION: GOD'S GREATEST GIFT OR GOD'S GREATEST RIFT TO MANKIND
            During the thousands of years of mankind’s history, man’s search for God has led down many pathways. The result has been the enormous diversity of religious expression worldwide – from the endless variety of Hinduism to
the monotheism of  Judaism, Islam and Christiandom and to the oriental philosophies of  Shinto, Taoism, Budhism and Confucianism. In other vast regions, mankind has turned to Animism, Magic, Spiritism and Shamanism. In this regard, man has successfully become religious.
             Religion is a system of thought, feelings and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion, a code of behaviour by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and or frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe. Usually, religion concerns itself with that which transcends the known, the natural, or the expected; it is an acknowledgement of the extraordinary, the mysterious and the supernatural.
The religious consciousness generally recognises a transcedent, sacred order and elaborates a technique to deal with the inexplicable or unpredictable elements of human experience in the world or beyond it. Now as it stands, has religion been beneficial to mankind or otherwise?
            All religions agree that love, life and light are the three phases of the supreme source of all that exists and it is in this vast ocean of love, life and light that we live, have our very being and move about. The essence of religion is to develop in us the recognition of evil. The book “World Religion- from Ancient history to the Present” says: the study of religion reveals that an important feature of  it is longing for value in life, a belief that life is not accidental and meaningless. The search for meaning leads to faith in a power greater than the human, and finally to a universal or superhuman mind which has the intention and will to maintain the highest values for human life. So it can be said that religion satisfies a basic human need, much as food satisfies our hunger.The teachings of a religion should influence the personalty and daily conduct of each believer. Thus, each person conduct will normally be a reflection to a greater or lesser degree of that ones religious background.
            From the above, it can be deduced that religion was supposed to promote love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness and self control but DO THEY? Blaise Pascal said “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction” and Jonathan Swift added “we have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love”. History has shown what a big role religion has played in the many wars that have devastated mankind and caused untold suffering. Why have so many people killed and been killed in the name of religion?

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