The function of religion


Religion, in some form or another, has permeated into human existence and culture since the first anatomically modern humans, our ancestors, inhabited the Earth. In its earliest forms, people looked to the stars and celestial bodies to track the seasons and patterns of the world, such as the tides shifting with the moon. This observance translated into characterizing the stars and planets as gods in the heavens. A brief glance at the world history of religion would show a strong progression and evolution of ideas starting from simply looking to the sky.

As civilization progressed, so did religion. Different cultures from around the world formed their own beliefs that were rooted in a story told across the planet. In religion’s infancy, these beliefs gave people what seemed to be the means to physically manipulate the world around them by appeasing higher beings—the stars and planets which seem to look down from heaven. In the twenty-first century, in much the same way, religion allows people to believe that with thought and devotion to a higher being, the world will be changed dramatically.

Religion gives hope, security, and social solidarity. Whether or not any part of religion is truly supernatural, the consequences of its communion and their actions are real. If one chooses to be kind and give to others because of what they believe, religious or not, they have made a tangible difference in this world. It does not matter if religion was created by a god or by humans, but it matters what we do with it.


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