religion in our age. The writer takes the reader on an exploratory journey through the current stresses of the world and the ways that religion helps us deal with that stress. It also explores our need to believe there is more after we leave this life. There were three sources used to complete this paper.
The Critical Importance of Religion in Our Age
Throughout history religion has played an important role in the lives of its followers. Whether it was the era in which the church had a hand in every aspect of the parishioners' lives, or in more modern times when the religious faith serves as a blueprint for how people live their lives, spiritual faith has remained strong. Religion remains an important aspect of this age as well. The world is faced with terrorist threats, worldwide famine, and snipers picking off innocent women and children. These things are combined with high stress living regardless if its in a third world nation trying to stay fed, or an industrialized society climbing the corporate ladder. The world is a more complicated place and with that complication comes stress and uncertainty. The need for a religious faith is as strong now as it has ever been. There is a critical importance of religion in the current world. The need is founded not only in faith but fear and that fear drives religion forward. It allows mankind to explain many of the things that it does not fully understand and it provides a reason for existence when the alternative is an eternity of being dead.
Huston Smith worked through this issue in his book called "Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief." According to Smith religion remains strong today but is constantly challenged by the modern science world. Science and its discoveries have created a world of non-believers according to the author. The sciences have become the God in some expert minds but faith and religion still have an important place in the lives of individuals. Perhaps the very advances that science has made are causing us to embrace and cling to religion even more than ever. Each time science proves a new aspect of life we face the idea that we live a finite existence. This is a scary thought for people to grasp and the idea that once we die there is nothing for all of eternity causes this life to appear futile. As long as we believe and hold onto the idea that there is a higher being and a supreme power we can struggle through our daily lives knowing that it has a purpose and will get better. This holds true in many walks of life and many civilizations though the "God" may be called by different names. One only has to look at the number of faiths in the world to understand how important religion is today. Each faith offers aspects that fit in with the fears of the believers. The faiths tenets provide comfort by alleviating the various concerns that its followers have. Today we are faced with many problems. There are terrorist acts, there are natural disasters, and regardless of how well science moves forward we still face disease, and suffering which we struggle to explain. This struggle is directly proportionate to the field of science. As we prove more things about who we are as a species we begin to doubt the existence of faith and a higher power. With all the medical and scientific knowledge that we have uncovered one would think that religion would be a thing of the past but this is not the case. There are many reasons besides blind faith that religion is still important today.
One has to look no further than the Pledge of Allegiance for proof that religion still has a place of importance in our modern society. It uses the words "One nation Under God." This is a flagrant conflict with the constitution's mandate that church and state be separated but it has survived the ages, the ACLU and other liberal attempts to remove it from the pledge (Religion Today July 14 -20, 2002 (http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/RelStds/RT%20Jul%2014%202002.htm).Why? Because religious faith provides us with confidence that if we cannot make the right decisions we have somewhere to turn for the answers.
Religion has a beneficial effect on human social life and individual well-being because it regulates behavior and integrates individuals in caring social circles (Seeman et al.,1994). It provides stability and support, structure and intimacy (Seeman et al.,1994). Ritual religious practices especially provide these benefits, and religious faiths with high levels of ritual in their worship and private devotional practices tend to benefit more from lower suicide rates (Seeman et al.,1994)." This is something that brings to light another reason that religion remains an important part of modern society. Because we know that those who have faith have better health it is a circle that perpetuates the belief (Seeman et al.,1994). If those who believe in prayer and a God see someone get healed or beat a terminal illness they are sure it was God who did it. This deepens their belief that there is a higher power and religion continues its place in the world (Seeman et al.,1994).
One of the most often mentioned reasons for the importance of religion today is that it provides a purpose in life for those who feel there is none (Seeman et al.,1994). In a recent study respondents spoke of a religious awakening that was more than simply believing, it was a belief that God has a special purpose for their life and they were only here to fulfill it for him (Seeman et al.,1994). This believe caused them to change the way they live so that they treated others the way they expected God wanted them to treat people. Those who believe this hold on to the faith as their purpose for being here (Seeman et al.,1994)." A number of these people's illnesses or injuries had brought them close to death, and the very fact of their survival took on a religious meaning, causing them to see their lives in a new way (Seeman et al.,1994). One man was a 42-year-old Russian immigrant, a bus driver, who had fallen five flights of stairs and injured his pelvis and head and had nerve damage (his religious affiliation was "other," for Russian Orthodox): When I had my accident, I had spent time in a coma for three weeks. And finally I survived, and was on my way to recover, and I think that if God saved my life, he had a purpose (Seeman et al.,1994). So I believe him, and I'm not going marching down. "
According to research comfort and healing are also important factors that continue the promotion of religious faith in this age (Seeman et al.,1994). Comfort during times of trouble as well as the ability to be healed by God is named as top priorities when participants of the study were asked to name their religious needs and what their faith provides (Seeman et al.,1994).
Perhaps the single most dramatic example came from a pretty young Protestant Hispanic woman who had suffered severe head injuries in a car accident (Seeman et al.,1994). She limped slowly into the interview room on crutches and with braces on both legs. She told me she had been in a coma for three months:[The doctors] told me I would never walk again. [What helps me is] trusting in God, knowing when it's his time. I ask for his help and he always helps me. He is there caring for me, he's dependable (Seeman et al.,1994). "
With all the advances that the field of science has accomplished it is amazing that there is still…