Religion and human society have always been a great part of any country or nation. A person’s belief in something unexplained and higher is inseparable from a human being. One might even argue that the disbelief in any form of Higher Being is also a form of belief; it is the belief in Nothing, just in life as it is, without any continuation. Many people would argue that there is an afterlife but this belief does not necessarily mean that they have to believe in a particular God, they simply believe in another form of existence. Either way, people need to believe in something, to lead a life on Earth.
There are very many reasons why a person might become religious. The most common ones are the beliefs of ancestors. As it is close to impossible to trace the origins of where religion started, one does not have to look far into the past to explain their religion. Their great grandparents, grandparents, and parents, have been raised in a society that values religion. Due to this, some rituals had to be carried out. Oppression and life hardships are other big reasons. For example, the book “American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us” by Robert Putnam and David Campbell introduces evidence that African-Americans are much more religious than other Americans. This is due to life’s hardships that were experienced by these people. A common reason is that older people get more religious. This is dues to the fact that a person understands that their life is getting shorter and they have come such a long way. They realize that the major part of their life is gone and that the choices made, will not be undone. In a way, it is a negative way to think because a person never really stops living a full life (Putnam & Campbell 26). Success in life or monetary gain also plays a role in a person becoming religious. If a person is poor, they have no way to feed their family and are forced to live on the street; they must find “an outlet” in something. They turn to religion to ask for help and find consolation in their difficult life (Putnam & Campbell 28). One of the biggest reasons a person becomes religious is extreme pain from the loss of the loved one or any other moral altercation that depresses the person and makes them feel insignificant. Prayer is a big part of religion when a person can ask the Higher Power to help him live through these hard times or find the solution to the depressing problem. When a person feels lost, religion welcomes the individual with the reassurance that they will be helped and life will become better. The power and the entity of God is a great mystery and so people rely on this belief to find resources to feel happy again. This central theme of the religion is very attractive to many people and they set out to find their true meaning of life and the reasons for their suffering (Brummer 37).
But, even though religion is based on morally right and true principles, sometimes some conflicts arise in the name of religion and between different religions. According to Putnam and Campbell, society goes through stages and a new culture might endanger the old one. The evolution has changed the world in such a major way that the young generation started to rebel against the older ones. The society of rock music and freedom or anarchy created a conflict between the religious beliefs of the two generations. The norms of the society started changing and this created religious tensions (Putnam & Campbell 93). As the beliefs of people and societies are concerned with the highest moral standards, they become very close to the person’s heart and soul. In extreme cases, it is so personal that people might choose to kill in the name of religion. Sexual preferences and morality are one of the major causes of conflict. The new generation believes that it is acceptable and has nothing to do with religion and abiding by it. But, older people, hold certain morals sacred and thus consider the younger enervation immoral and conflicting with the Bible or other religious writings. The structure and social norms of most societies are based on religion, as it is one of the oldest aspects of human nature. The beliefs and traditions are closely intertwined with the social fabric. Every religion believes that their belief system is the most correct one and the young generation did not want to listen to the older one. They considered themselves free of any obligations and as such the social conflict began. The controversial aspect of the conflict is that many religious beliefs have a common theme, no matter what the age of a person is or where they come from. It pertains to the universal truth of not killing innocent people, not lying, respecting the neighbor, and worshiping God. But very often, politics are involved in the conflicts between religions and societies. Sometimes, there are less numerous religious cults that base their belief on apocalyptic themes and the divine understanding that only they possess. But, at the same time, most commonly the leaders of such cults have their own personal and selfish interests. They can manipulate the people into believing that they are messiahs and came to save them. And of course, some single individuals lose their mind and decide to sacrifice others, as well as themselves in the name of religion or their “divine” beliefs. These people have a psychological condition and require treatment. Out of all reasons for religious conflicts, world politics and the fight for power are the major ones. The scope of these “holy wars” is enormous and many people who are not involved in the fight suffer (Gort 369).
From the above evidence, it would be safe to conclude that religion and people’s beliefs are a very strong force in and of itself. The sad truth is that belief in the divine and the belief in own private beliefs are always in conflict. People do not want to believe what they are told to believe and whatever they decide to believe in personally is not sufficient enough to provide consolation for the majority of the nations. The common goal of all religions is to unite people in the peaceful fight for truth and not be the reason for division and conflict. Unity is the answer and only together nations will be able to attain the highest moral development.
Brummer, Vincent. Speaking of a Personal God: An Essay in Philosophical Theology, New York, United States: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Print.
Gort, Jerald. Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation: Multifaith Ideals and Realities, New York, United States: Rodopi, 2002. Print.
Putnam, Robert, and D. Campbell. American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, New York, United States: Simon & Schuster, 2010. Print.