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What purpose does religion serve? What good does it do?

For the sake of clarity, let's use any of the following to define "religion".

re·li·gion

[ri-lij-uh n] Show IPA

noun
1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Answer Question
 
jsbenkert

Asked by jsbenkert at 10:58 AM on Jan. 10, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (39)
  • You got a lot of good answers here, but IMO is gives just what you said.... a purpose. Good or bad, that's a decision thats beyond our control.
    m-avi

    Answer by m-avi at 11:15 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • I can tell you that when I pray, I feel better & good things happen.


    This is really all psychological and has nothing to do with belief in a deity. It's "mind over matter". Or "self-fulfilling prophecy". Focus on the good in ANY situation and you take that with you and can benefit from the experience no matter how bad. "Ailver linigns" and all that jazz. Focus on teh bad and "more bad" happens. It all has to do with Positive feedback due to the what yuo feed into a situation by your own beliefs or actions. Similar to Karma, laws of cause and effect, etc. REligion, or your belief in God is the tool you use to influence your own psychological state of mind to a positive state in order to "achieve" positive results.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:19 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • Community. In coming together as a community of faith we can help each better.  Often when someone is in need they seek out places of worship because there are people and programs in place to assist many people.


     Also regular prayer or meditation helps many people to center themselves.  We can do these things in isolation but we rarely do because life distracts us.  People coming together for religious services helps us to encourage each other to take time out to go inward for a little while.

    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 11:21 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • Like sex, the purpose it serves, or doesn't, is individual and personal. Some need it, want it, or search for it. Some don't need it, want it or search for it. Like sex.
    dullscissors

    Answer by dullscissors at 11:22 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • RyansMom, can none of those things come about without religion?  Can we not come together as a community without a belief in a supernatural being?  Would we all turn our backs on each other, refuse to help, or be unable to do any good?

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 11:24 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • I read these responses and I have to smile a little because the thing is, no one can say to another person what "religion" or God has done for that person. One person says God has answered prayers, and another person says that's just a state of mind, or positive energy. But no one knows that. No one shares your relationship with God but you alone, and deciding what that is for another person is ludicrous. Another person says there will be no world peace until there are no religions. That wars are fought due to religion. But are men fighting due to God, or are they just using God as an excuse to fight? If it wasn't God, would it be something else? Maybe. My point is, I cant tell you what religion is for you, and there is no way you can define it for me. The capacity for a relationship with God is limitless...
    Nimue930

    Answer by Nimue930 at 11:33 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • For those that do believe no explaination is necessary. For those that don't none is possible.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:34 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • Actually I do know that but whatever.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:36 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • RyansMom, can none of those things come about without religion? Can we not come together as a community without a belief in a supernatural being? Would we all turn our backs on each other, refuse to help, or be unable to do any good?
    ~~~~~~~~~
    We could but we often don't. I do believe in God so for me coming together with a community of people who shares my spiritual beliefs encourages me in my spiritual journey. I've always been a spiritual person, and I like spending sometime with people who want to come together for discussions and fellowship. My religious community offers me programs and discussions that interest me. I'm also able to be of service to people in my community in a way that would be much less likely if not for my church.
    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 11:37 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • for my mom- it gives her a reason to keep going with this life- she has dealt with a LOT and clings to God like crazy. She NEEDS it.
    I think there are probably a lot like that.
    I can see good things that come of it as well as bad...
    charlotsomtimes

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 11:38 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

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