Starting this semester, I had one insight on religion in this world. Being able to see how different religions affect different parts of the world has been truly eye opening. In picking what I would like to write about for my final essay, it was easy. I knew that I wanted to know more about religion in our modern society, so here it goes.
Religion can be a difficult thing to understand and a lot of people have a hard time realizing that there could be something bigger than themselves, or as some would call it a “higher power.” Realizing that religion is a big deal can truly save your soul and is a huge first step for everyone. One of the purposes of religion is knowing that you can rely on someone besides yourself. Your flesh may fail, but our God will not and placing your faith in that in this sin filled world it can truly change the direction of your heart, body and soul.
What is Religion and Why should you study it
People often question what religion is and why it is so important, what is the reason for understanding it? These can be questions that people wonder about often. Religion is not just one specific definition, there are multiple answers to knowing and understanding what Religion is all about. One resource defines religion as a “cultural system of designated behaviors, practices, places, ethics or organizations.” There is no precise definition that needs to be said that defines exactly what religion is all about. There are religious studies that enable the development of critical thinking or interpersonal awareness and this is all for the success of the global society, however people can define religion how they see fit. Common religious beliefs or faiths also provide natural boundaries for communities and areas to develop and grow. People who live within the social confines of one specific belief tend to accept others who are in agreement with one another and help each other out. Many faiths preach that serving and helping others regardless of their personal beliefs, is the right thing to do. In that way, religion or faith also promotes acts of responsibility, kindness and respectfulness some may even say that it promotes growth.
So why is Religion important in our society?
Religion has changed so much in the world we live in now. When I was a child, born in 1995 and raised in Bossier City, Louisiana, things seemed pretty civil. All of my friends and their families were nice and we would play outside until the street lights came on and then it would be time to go inside and clean up, eat dinner and then get ready for bed. Now in the world we live in things have changed so much. We now have children that have iPhone in Kindergarten and go to inappropriate parties in Middle School. Things that I was never around or aware of at my age. Women are now able to marry other women legally and men doing the same or changing the sex of your gender. I mean things have changed drastically in just the last 23 years of my life, much less the last 2,000 years overall. In some ways certain religions tend to drift away and fade out. It is important to keep the faith that you have even if you are still learning and growing as you go. That is common and normal, we do not know everything, but what we do know is that whatever you believe in you have to keep the faith and keep pressing on daily. But, if we are the generation that teaches the next one that religion is wrong, religion itself will fade out. We would lose the stories and lose something so valuable to everyone–faith.
Religion builds special communities and bonds. It brings people together. Yes, religion can divide us and tear us apart, but only if we choose to ignore the perspectives of others. I do not want to imagine a world without religion. If we millennials continue to push away our religions, we will be the hypocrites because we choose not to listen. Rather than accepting the religions we come from, we turn them away because we try to be “open minded.” We can be the generation with an open mind and we can have it all. We can still be Christian, Jewish, etc., and still include everyone, if only we choose to listen and accept others’ perspectives. Religion is truly a wonderful thing. They’re the reasons why we know right from wrong and good from bad. They made communities and built cities, caused debates, and yet brought people together. To see religion, die because our generation chooses to be closed minded would be hypocritical. The core framework of religions is to create moral standards for believers that guide their steps. Religion also encourages believers to put words into action and to go into the community to shower others with compassion, love and care. The teachings on these topics encourage believers to avoid negative acts, such as murder and lying, with a framework of consequences in the spiritual world that many believers attempt to avoid by maintaining good morals and values. Without the religious frameworks that guide these actions, many people may not feel morally obligated to address societal problems, making religion important to society and its people. Some people join a religion in order to feel included in a smaller subsection of a larger society. Some of the rituals associated with a certain religion appeal to people and help them feel closer to their god while others avoid the dictated rituals and choose to identify as a member of a religion without observing much or any of the traditions. Most religions lay out ideals for marriage, including beliefs against divorce and adultery and responsibilities for the man and woman. Families are an integral part of a society, with families being an important part of reproduction, which helps to sustain specific cultures and races within a society.
Religious instruction and belief remain today the lifeblood of society’s moral philosophy. Not only does religion teach virtue, it teaches moral action as well. Religion also plays an essential societal role warranting special consideration. The proper separation of church and state has the effect of strengthening religious institutions and the broader community. To exert its positive influence, religious organizations and individuals must maintain space from the government to be able to freely practice their faith. This enables religious institutions to express their message, determine who they are, and live out their convictions in significant ways. Religious space must continue to be respected and not separated.
I had to write a paper and do a presentation for my senior graduation project about the separation of church and state. I mainly focused on how religious organizations, prayers and pledges have been taken out of schools or suspended from certain events in the school districts across the world. This was a fight I was willing to write about and defend. I understand being respectful of the law and being civil, but I didn’t understand why everything felt like it was being taken away and with no reason towards it. I as a Christian had nothing against sharing the “stage” with any other religious organizations or leaders in the room. I do however have a problem with people taking away the rights of the students at those schools. I know times used to be different, there used to not be any organizations, sports activities or leadership counsels, and if there were, I do not know much about them obviously. But what I do know about this day and age we are living in now is that there are children all around the world that want to profess their faith to everyone they come in contact with and with the freedom of speech law and the laws that students can lead anything as long as it is student lead. These things should not be taken away because of the leaderships own personal beliefs.
In gaining more understanding about religion and in how it ties in with the society around you can be a hard path to follow. There are so many changes going on in the world, so learning how to combine the faith you have with the personally life you have you can have it all. Yes! You can have the relationship with Christ that you have always wanted and the social life you have always desired. What does it take? Just continuing to pursue both with Jesus Christ at the center of your passion and love. We aren’t designed to be perfect, we are designed to love others and work harder to grow the Kingdom of God. Your flesh may fail, but our God will not and placing your faith in that in this sin filled world it can truly change the direction of your heart, body and soul. Gaining the world, but losing your soul is a dangerous game, but pursuing Him 100% can make your path so much clearer.
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