What is religion? It can be described as a relationship that exists between the individual and a higher power. This is based on the idea that the power created and has control over the world. The actual origin of religion still cannot be traced but it is believed to have evolved with the gradual evolution of humans. Religion is a unique feature for human beings although primates do tend to display qualities like empathy, sympathy, peace, compassion to their fellow primates. Such qualities often form a major part of spirituality or religion.
Evolution of religion
In today’s world, religion has evolved from a personal belief to take a more institutionalized approach. The question, how does religion affect a person’s life has been debated over and over by various scholars. In simple words, the institution of religion can be defined as the system of both practices and beliefs in either tangible or intangible form. Although it has become institutionalized in today’s time, it does serve as both an institution and a philosophy.
For most people around the world, religion has become an important part of their lives. Living life without following a religion or believing in spirituality can be a difficult path for most. Therefore, the question, how does religion affect a person’s life has been a subject of several researches and many theories have been developed by intellectuals.
Many rulers/leaders have spent a significant amount of money and resources on religion. This is evident in the various breathtaking, ancient sculptures around the world. Most wonders of the world are monuments having religious importance like churches, synagogues and temples. Again, extreme fanatics are even ready to die for their religious beliefs while others may leave their jobs to follow a religious path.
Some people can even leave everything, even their families and luxurious lives to follow a religious belief or to get closer to the higher power. A prominent example is Lord Buddha, who renounced the material world and his family, in his quest of spiritual truth. Although several wars have been waged in the name of religion, it does have a positive impact on an individual. Most religions are perfect in their own way and have the same basic principles and values in common.
How does religion affect a person’s life?
It has become the norm to go in pursuit of material and financial pleasures. Here is where a religion can help a person to establish a connection with the spiritual world. It can help in having faith in the belief that a higher power exists who is in control of this world. In every religion hymns, chants, rituals and prayers is crucial in building a spiritual connection with god. A major way religion affects a person’s life is by guiding people onto a spiritual path. Not only that, it also helps an individual understand the meaning of life and what his/her purpose in the world is.
Conformity and unity
Religion was first developed to ensure the obedience of mankind to a ruling authority although eventually it did evolve to become a symbol of unity among individuals. People who tend to have a particular set of beliefs, rituals or values do have a sense of unity. They are more likely to have things in common which in turn brings people together. Another ideal that religion promotes is conformity which encourages similarity in people, reducing harmful conflicts between them.
If you study religion, it is evident that they give every freedom which will help a person improve in life. The freedom has to be used in a good way. Most religions do allow individuals to eat good food, wear whatever they want and participate in activities that will bring them joy. In other words, all the luxuries and good aspects of life can be enjoyed without giving them up.
Religions also make sure that people are always well-informed about the new developments in various fields like technology, industry or medicine. All these developments are necessary to meet the changing needs and requirements of man in this ever-changing world.
Provides direction in life
You might ask – how does religion affect a person’s life in a way that helps them? One of the ways it does is by giving a sense of direction or purpose in people’s life- a reason for existing. This sense of relief lets individuals to do moral things in life because they believe in god’s love and blessings.
Today’s life with all its cruelty and hardships can make it unbearable for humans to keep going in their day-to-day lives. This is why an important function of all religions is the hope of eternal salvation. It ensures that individuals make morally sensible and selfless decisions or actions in their lives.
Morality and religion
Most religions are an effective tool when it comes to maintaining a social and moral order in the society. This is because it can regulate our actions and thoughts, right from our childhood. Through its various philosophies and values, religions try to promote a set of beliefs which will ensure your conformity to that belief system.
These beliefs prevent an individual from committing morally undesirable acts through threat of condemnation, boycott and social action. We are often taught what is right and wrong by family or society. They themselves are influenced by religion’s concept of right or wrong. It is then clear that a positive connection exists between religion and morality.
Creating a world where peace and kindness is in abundance is one of the noblest purposes of religion. It attempts to build a more tolerant society and instills harmony in the minds of individuals. Religion tries to make people believe that there is hope for a better future. It does so by giving them the promise of heaven or an afterlife where they become one with god. Most religions including Jainism and Buddhism have peace and non-violence as their main principles.
Principles and values
As mentioned before, religion does play a major role in creating a moral framework in society. It creates a set of values and ethics that an individual has to abide by in his/her life. As a result, religion does help in building better character and also serves as a tool for healthy socialization. Religions in short, help to develop traits of empathy, sympathy and respect towards fellow humans and animals.
Promotes welfare of others
In its basic sense, almost all religions do believe in giving back to the community. In addition to promoting its philosophy, it has always believed in the well-being and welfare of the masses. These ideas can be seen primarily in Hinduism or Sanatana dharma. Some of their ideals include ‘let everyone be happy’ and ‘the entire world is a family’, which again encourages qualities of compassion and peace in people.
Power to overcome difficulties in life
One of the best thing about religion is it gives people the power to overcome hardships in life. It prevents feelings of despair and hopelessness that could prevent individuals from moving forward. A person with a firm belief in the almighty will not give up, even in his worst moments. He/she has utmost faith in the higher power. As a result, individuals feel that any problem can be solved. They will let go of doubts and fears that could hamper growth.
It has been found that religious people are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. One of the major reasons is that religion helps to prevent nervous breakdown and mental ailments. It prevents anything that could promote frustration or desperation among people.
If you look at all the major religions of the world like Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism or Islam, they give importance to moral values. Having ethics and values bring about a balance in life that will help in following the path of righteousness. What most religions convey is to choose truth over wrong, to speak truth than lies and to make world a better place to live in. It tries to build a better world by emphasizing qualities of compassion as well as peace within family and others. Every parent should instill religious values and morals early in a child’s life to ensure their personal growth. Individuals coming from religious backgrounds often are morally responsible with a will to change the world for the better.
As you can see, religion does continue to be a part of people’s lives, bring about unity and order. It not only encourages harmony among individuals but also provides a sense of purpose in life. In today’s world, people have let go of their morals and ethics in favor of achieving success in any way possible. At a time like this, religion serves as the only hope to instill ethics and values to prevent injustice. The answer to the question- how does religion affect a person’s life is that it conveys a message of respect, morality and compassion to its followers.