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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".


[ri-lij-uh n] Show IPA

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.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Answer Question

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

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (39)
  • Religion is a tool. Like any tool it can be used for intended purposes (such as a hammer to a nail in order to build a shelter) or abusive purposes (a hammer used as a bludgeoning instrument to harm others). Unfortunately what we see with Religion is often abusive purposes (dictating how others should live, tax evasion, religious wars, excuses to be assholes) than intended purpose (a guide for one's own PERSONAL life in order to STRIVE to live better through compassion and care).

    Like any tool it's all in how you use it!


    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:11 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...

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

  • What evidence do you have that Jesus even existed NannyB, furthermore to say it is akin to the man in the burning building saving you does not address if you were never in a burning building to begin with or that you got out on your own. Or that the fire was "set" by the man's father, or that the man's father locked you in a burning building......or well there's several other variables here that you simply choose to ignore in order to be comforted by the idea of a savior.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:34 PM 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.

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

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

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

  • I guess it gives people hope that there is a purpose to life,that our lives are not meaningless

    but...mostly I see it to control people and to further agendas

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 11:07 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • If a man pulled you from a burning building, saved your life, but in the process gave his own life, what would be your response? Unless you are very different from the majority of peope, there would be at least some bit of gratitude to that man for having spared your life. Multiply that by as many digits as you can imagine, and you have but a small measure of what Jesus Christ did for me and for "whosoever" will accept His sacrifice. I don't like to even think of it as a "religion" because that's not what it is. It is about gratitude, honor, and whorship for One who was willing to die on a cross for a sinner such as I. It's about believing in One who is wiser than I, stronger than I, and more powerful than I. Everyone trusts in someone. For most people, the someone is themselves. For me, it is the God of the universe who allowed His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for a sinner like me. Purpose? Good? You decide.

    Answer by NannyB. at 12:02 PM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • For some, religion reminds them to look outside themselves to do for others. It depends on the religion and the person and it is personal. Some simply like belonging. I look at most charitable organizations, soup kitchens, shelters, outreach programs, a lot are organized and run and contributed to by Christians specifically. I'm not saying non believers aren't generous or non Christians aren't generous, just stating an observation. That was Christ's commandment, "If you love me, feed my sheep" and all that that implies.

    For me, my search for truth leads me to Christ. A religion is full of do and don'ts. A relationship is a mutual thing that benefits both parties. I don't feel limited in Christ, just the opposite. God is love and without love there is nothing meaningful.

    Answer by HHx5 at 1:14 PM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • If I didn't have the feeling that the Holy Spirit was with me & watching out for me & my family every day then I can't tell you if I could or not. I am no Holy Roller but I am old enough to have seen both good & very bad days & I can tell you that when I pray, I feel better & good things happen. Maybe not the way I wished for it to happen but in a better way. That's why now when I am having a problem & I need support from the Holy Spirit I say that I will leave it in God's hands & the outcome is always positive. I have dabbled in the dark & no good came of it. Looking back it was the worst point in my life. Like I said, knowledge comes with experience & age. I do believe in miracles & have experienced one first hand.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 11:12 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

  • It does no good. All it does is spreads hate and controls how people think and act.

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 11:13 AM on Jan. 10, 2013

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