I can give you the dictionary version, but I think humans since they became self conscious and set themselves apart from the other animals started be create religions. It's as if we have an innate need to explain the beginning, middle and the end. Religion used to be primitive and in some parts of the world they still are. Christians attend Sunday services, Muslims pray 5 times a day, Buddhists meditate. Before Europeans came to America the natives had their own religion. There were the Mayans, the Incas, the Egyptian Sun god Ra, there was the Greek and Roman Gods and the Norse Gods. We live in hierarchal societies is it any wonder that our religions mirror that?
I often think of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how when one no longer fears going hungry, for their basic safety, belonging and love they find self actualization. Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.
I think that religion meets some of those needs as in safety in numbers and belonging to something. To share a common belief. For others they have what they need and religion becomes less important or completely unnecessary. As I have said religion is not inherently bad. It is used by some people to do harmful things to others. That is where I draw the line.
Most religious people have moved past the need for all people in the tribe to conform to specific behaviors. This is why in Western cultures adultery is frowned upon, but is not a death sentence. Why people no longer accuse their neighbors of witchcraft or that mentally ill people are possessed by demons. We can pray for the man who goes into surgery, but heart disease is no longer the death sentence it once was.
Each decade brings new breakthroughs and less fear of disease and death, but in the end we all cease to breathe and our heart stops beating. Who we once were is gone and all the religion in the world cannot bring a loved one back. I think religion also helps some people in dealing with death or the loss of a loved one. It is easier for them to believe that they are in heaven than to believe that they are just gone forever.
Edited by queenbee1, 15 October 2016 - 04:35 AM.