What is religion?
Religion is nothing but a set of beliefs, dogmas and rituals that define the relations between human being and the divine. Any given religion is defined by specific elements of a community of believers: sacred books, rites, worship, moral prescription,organization. The majority of religions have sprouted from a revelation based on the history of a nation, a wise man or a noble, who taught an ideal way of leading life.
Every major religion consists of religious practises, faith and unity in the people sharing the same religion.
Religion of a person often plays a very important role in shaping a person’s outlook towards the world and approach towards life.People need to have faith and meaning and value in order to orient themselves to life in this world. Religion is a phenomenon that arises out of that need. Science may now serve many people as a better source of answers for many of those questions but it does not serve as a source of value.
There are some 4,300 religions of the world. This is according to Adherents, an independent, non-religiously affiliated organisation that monitors the number and size of the world’s religions.
Nearly 75 per cent of the world’s population practices : Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism.
Different religions have played a major role in the evolution of society.
Top five most followed religions:
- Christianity (2.1 billion)
- Islam (1.3 billion)
- Hinduism (900 million)
- Chinese traditional religion (394 million)
- Buddhism 376 million
If nonreligious people were grouped together,it would become the third largest group (Secular/Agnostic/Atheist) with a count of 1.1 billion of people!
POSITIVE IMPACT OF RELIGION:
- It teaches us that wealth would not stay with us after death but the good deeds will be. It makes us realize that we are mere mortals in-front of the divine and keep our egos under check.
- Holy books,be it of any religion, impart us with wisdom which benefits the humanity as a whole. Every religion emphasizes on following the path of righteousness and contributing for the betterment of society. They try to teach us the difference between the right and the wrong.
- Religious faith often gives a person courage and strength in when they hit the bottom.
- It emphasizes on forgiving and moving on.
- Religious teachings show us the importance of selfless service, without expectation of reward or praise but to work with purest intention of elevating others from their miseries.All religions support charitable organisations which helps millions of people around the world making their life a bit better.
- Religion often gives meaning to people’s lives. . Human beings need some form of motivating force to live,without any purpose we feel lost and depressed.
- Religion has inspired some of the world’s greatest art, architecture, writing, and sculpture.
NEGATIVE IMPACT OF RELIGION:
- Religion has been a constant source of war. People often tend to believe that their particular religion is the only correct one and all the others are false.
- Religions can cause or encourage bigotry against minority groups, such as gay people, women, and racial groups.
- Religion discourages doesn’t appreciate freedom of thought, by encouraging the idea that fundamental answers can only be found in a fixed and specific book or belief system.
- Religion holds back humanity from progressing,they don’t support modernization so enthusiastically.
- Religion often uses fear of the supreme to gain authority.
- Religion encourages an unachievable idealism and in the process creates hypocrisy, frustration, and disappointment.
- Religion absolves people from personal responsibility, they can excuse themselves by saying that God told them to do it.
- Religions at times becomes a form of escapism,from real life.
No religion is perfect. But, it consists teachings which can help lift up man to live a better, more fulfilling and more selfless life.
People often misuse the ideals of religion for their own selfish needs. Religion has become a source of pride and conflict because of people who let it down by their selfish acts to pursue worldly pleasures. On the brighter side,there are many famous personalities who, inspired by religion have made a significant contribution to the world.
One can live a deeply spiritual life, without being associated to a particular religion. But, religion can be the inspiration a person needs to lead a better life.