Religion is the belief in God and the activities that are done in order to be closer to the Creator. Majority of the world population holds a religion yet the increasing number of free-thinkers have sprout the questioned of the relevance of religion. The practice and the belief in God seem to have clashed with the era of rationality where facts and evidence is needed in order to prove a point. With that, the importance once placed piously on religion seemed to have lost its vigor. However, the position in which religion currently stand does not entirely change the fact that it is still unduly important to individuals all across the globe to have something to believe in and to hope for (concept of Heaven and Hell).
Science is one of the pertinent factors that had caused the shift in the importance of religion yet for some it has only strengthen the belief that God is the all knowing and the almighty. The nature of a scientist often questioned the things surrounding him. The process of which the things came to be and how it is what it is. From researches and scientific breakthroughs, based on the nature of scientists that is, the world have improved the lifestyles and even life span of its population. Long ago what was just known as the work of God, now have a new meaning base more on facts that just mere ‘ superstition’. An example would be ‘ The big bang theory’ whereby scientists explained how the planet Earth came about. Another example would be the discovery of cloning. These scientific breakthroughs have given the world evidence that everything has a logical explanation. However, scientists have yet to explain who or what caused ‘ The big bang’ or how was the universe that is filled with millions of galaxies formed. Even cloning is based on the process of the reproduction system of the occupants of planet Earth therefore bringing forth the question who or what created us these reproductive systems?
Scientists have often strived to prove if there is a superior being that created everything and it was never proven that God existed nor not existed. The idea of eternity and life before the beginning of time are some of the hardest things for the human mind to grasp and prove, and that have some people keeping their faith in God and their individual religion despite science. Almost all the religions spoke of praises to God and also explained why things are the way they are. Religion is not only the belief in God and the practice of it, it also consist of history that have been proven to be accurate. Such were the Noah’s ark and the event of the Great flood that was recently discovered. Scientist only managed to prove that this event did take place due to the references made on both the Bible and the holy Quran.
A feature of great discoveries on the Discovery channel showed how the scientists of the 1950’s and 60’s based their research on the Bible and Holy Quran to get information concerning the formation of earth and the planetary alignments. The episode also featured how scientists of the twenty-first century are doing research based on the religious beliefs and religious historical events. The work therefore done by science has improved a lot of things yet at the same time it has also raised the understanding that religion itself is based on facts. Hence religion is still relevant in the field of science and the modern society of today.
In this globalize and fast-paced society, majority of the population is too pre-occupied with their on going pursuit for a better living. Material wealth and power seemed to have dominated the mind set of many. The idea of greed would probably be best to justify what is going on in this world today. But taking a step back, it has to be noted that greed comes from the human quest for contentment. The author of ‘ Lost in a world of Paradise’ claimed that if the human mind and heart does not feel in content, it would continue to seek it despite all the achievements attained. Religion thus, helped not only to give an explanation as to why it is the human condition to feel as such (heaven is where all things comet to a peaceful flow and contentment would be a perpetuity), it also direct believers to attain a sense of inner-peace to cope with the stress that comes with the pursuit for success in the materialistic and qualification-based world.
“ Consciousness is an untamed horse, the mind an unruly monkey. If the spirit is overactive, the body will sicken and die.” Wang Ming, staunch Buddhist once said. Buddhism is a good example of giving its believers inner-peace. The meditation that evolves around Buddhism is one of the ways that gives its followers the spiritual peace needed in life. In fact all the religions have some form of meditation. In fact, a study done by the University of Boston in the social science faculty shows that reading the holy Quran, the Bible and the Vedas are also a form of meditation. Religion is thus a vital ingredient in keeping a human mind set sane in this economic-wrapped up environment we surround ourselves in.
Even in politics religion have a significant part to play. Religion has to be taken as a driving force that has the capacity to unite all devotees to go forth as one. During the ending part of the colonial era, Sukarno, (a local nationalist) set up the Syarikat Islam to inculcate the idea of nationalism in heart of the locals when they were under the Dutch administration. His political party was a success as he used Islam to unite the locals in their battle for independence. The power religion has on people is still present especially after September 11th. Although the doings of Al-Qaeda and other such terrorist groups are unjustified in terms of morals and humility in society, there is still a large perpetual group of supporters because it is based on religion, Islam for this case. The idea of ‘ Jihad’ or the idea of dying for the rights of Islam attracts thousands of Muslims as they saw it as a ticket to Heaven and to be with God. To them it is clearly self-justified. There is no doubt that politics and jingoism is in play with the current situation of Iraq but the underline reason as to why there is still a tough resistance towards western interference is religion.
The significance of religion is also evident in the world’s entertainment industries, mainly from Hollywood California. The ‘ Passion of Christ’ hit the box-office within weeks of its premier due partly to the time it was released, which was nearing Good Friday and Easter Sunday and also partly due the religious theme that it portrays. At the same time the movie ‘ Dogma’ received a wide surge of protest on its premier as the movie shows the audacity of Christians and a parody on Christianity itself. These two very distinct responses on two movies pertaining on religion show that religion has been rooted in most people and is a part of who they are. Thus to affront a particular religion is the same as to insult the followers and that would in turn result in backlash as seen in the response to ‘ Dogma’.
Generally speaking religion is important regardless of the century it is in as the humans’ problems will ever so remain similar if not the same. The need find contentment is something of perpetuity and the hope of having inner-peace to cope with stress is something everyone goes through at least once in their lifetime. Religion can be said to be a kind of antidote for the common ‘ diseases’ that individuals are infected with. In addition to that, religion should also be seen as being a part of who we are for most of us and that should be relevant enough to say that religion is still significant if not important in society today.
On a more personal note, looking at the more intricate details, there is no one that can ever claim to have never pray for a miracle. Be it for the rain to suddenly pour to escape gym class, for a teacher to be absent, for the lost bank account to suddenly appear, or even for a miraculous save from Death. Everyone has prayed at some point in time to a greater being even in everyday situation. That can be accounted as a practice of religion as well although which religion is not really a concern.