Why Religion is Important
This article is not intended to be in favor of one religion or the other. These are merely my thoughts on what I think the benefits are of adhering to a set of beliefs.
All religions attempt to make sense of the world around us, albeit through different views. The world we live in becomes a safer, more trustworthy place. Set aside the idea of God, the story of creation as it is narrated in various faiths and several other fables from holy books for a moment. The common thread among all religions is to do good and to help us understand the consequences of our actions both good and bad. No religion encourages hurting other people (either physically or emotionally) and tries to help us live our lives in a way that would bring joy and contentment. This idea would not stop anyone from carrying out their evil intentions if they wanted to, but it serves as a starting point for those who believe in goodness by giving them a reason to do so.
We learn the joy of giving and caring by helping others, and that we make more friends and few foes when we do so. Such a condition in life free of resentment, misgivings and ill-feelings, gives us much-needed peace and contentment.
A study by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles found that students active in religious organizations along with those who read sacred texts or attend religious services were found to have heightened emotional and mental health. Religious students also proved twice as likely to ward off depression. Researchers believe that religion and spirituality helps these students to keep their goals in sight and work hard without allowing temporary setbacks to get the better of them.
We grow up with countless tales that affirm this idea that our actions always catch up with us (the idea of “karma,” if you will) and we see it played out in our lives and those around us as well. Does it matter how this lesson is taught to us, as long as it is taught? Perhaps all those initiated into any particular religion don’t learn these vital life skills, but faith and spirituality provide a good starting point that facilitate in keeping our priorities in sight.
Religion teaches us honesty, love, kindness and sacrifice and the good judgment to know when to practice them. These virtues give us hope, happiness that comes from a well-balanced lifestyle.
Restraint and moderation also enable us to be healthy by curbing excess. The journal Psychology and Health found that weekly religious service lowers your risk of death by 20 percent. Researchers don’t know the causes behind their findings but believe that perhaps a belief in a higher plan or purpose works as a stress-reliever unburdening individuals of personal responsibility in their destinies.
It could also be the sense of community and belonging that adherents of all faiths get when they attend religious services. But religion, on the whole, allows us to lead well-balanced, wholesome and fulfilling lives. It is only when we compare and argue over minor details of each faith that the problems ensue.
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