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Religion has the ability to give people hope especially the hopeless. Despite the harsh situations and challenges that people face, religion plays a fundamental role of giving them hope and optimism from which they draw strength. Religion is also an agent for socialization. It is no doubt meeting with other believers for religious events is more than just practicing faith (Reeve 2006).
People use the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, sing together and above all socialize. Interactions can be a powerful source of happiness to individuals. Religion provides more than just individual hedonism to guide behavior. In essence, religion provides guidelines for faithful to follow and in the end live an orderly and moral life (Furness & Gilligan 2010). Even though people appear to be happier within the spheres of religion, many researchers show that people in relatively nonreligious nation are the happiest lot. Scandinavian societies are relatively nonreligious though are the happiest. Studies also indicate that societies, which have achieved substantial social and economic development, have weak faith in religion and its ability to provide solution to problems that affect society. In essence, people run to churches, mosques, and temples whenever they experience tough challenges that they are clearly unable to solve. When conditions are relatively good and calm, people tend to lower or minimize their commitment to certain religion or religious group. Hence, the happiness that scholars and religious leaders associate to total religiosity would remain viable so long as they find credible or satisfactory solution to various problems affecting them. In some cases, the person would completely cut his or her link with religion for the rest of his life (Furness & Gilligan 2010).
Despite the fundamental role that religiosity play to induce happiness, other factors such as cultural, economic, and political challenges have emerged to be some of the obstacles to realizing religiosity. Poverty, political upheavals, and cultural dilemma are some of the fundamental issues that complicate further the belief about the capacity of religion or religiosity of an individual to induce happiness (Furness & Gilligan 2010). Such challenges present modern and ancient societies as hypocritical, and only recognize religion when facing enormous challenges. Apparently, societies seem to have exhausted possible solution in vain. These include dangerous illnesses, economic downturn/harsh economic times, political turmoil, and cultural issues. If societies re-examined and re-evaluated their connections with religion, the outcomes would be the pivotal role that religion plays in the lives of people worldwide. In essence, different societies would realize that religion is the primary source of their happiness whether in times of economic slump or period of growth and development. Having a purpose and meaning of life is critical, as it is a form of devotion to people and larger goals (Furness & Gilligan 2010).
Implications for adopting a religious belief
Since religion influences increased happiness, it is upon religious leaders and organizations to provide guidance about the essential procedures toward adoption of any religious belief. People tend to react positively or negatively toward a phenomenon depending on their experiences with the same phenomenon or related phenomenon (Fitzgerald Obbink & Holland 2003). The adoption of a religious belief would however, elicit different reactions owing to the variety of social, religious, and cultural categories in the society. A few believers who only throng churches, mosques, or temples when facing overwhelming challenges for which they seek divine solution might not agree with plans to adopt certain religious beliefs either because they no longer show up in religious meetings or because they find such belief discriminatory or opinionated. Before adoption, it is necessary for all stakeholders and worshippers alike brought on board because successful adoption would compliance by all members (Eid & Larsen 2008).
People's stakes and economic power may also influence adoption or implementation. A considerable number of societies might also focus only on those beliefs that directly benefit them and derail those that appear to go against their will (Eid & Larsen 2008). However, if happiness is the primary determinant of people's attitude, perception, and readiness to adopt given religious belief, then societies are on the verge of accepting only the beliefs that meet the threshold for happiness. Even with an eminent implementation based on happiness or contentment, many countries still find many religious beliefs and practices as mere sham. The economically privileged would prefer attending religious meeting only when they are in dire need of divine services. A few others also perceive religion as simply a bridge to gaining access to political positions (Eid & Larsen 2008).
Eid, Michael, & Larsen, Randy J. (2008). The Science of Subjective Well-being. Guilford Pubn.
Fitzgerald, J.T., Obbink, D., & Holland, G.S. (2003). Philodemus and the New Testament world. Leiden: Brill.
Furness, S., & Gilligan, P. (2010). Religion, belief and social work: Making a difference. Bristol:
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James, W. (2008). The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature. Rockville,
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Koenig, H.G., King, D.E., & Carson, V.B. (2012). Handbook of religion and health. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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