The Importance of Religion
Length: 3003 words (8.6 double-spaced pages)
Life has a purpose; its intent is to lead a religious life. One can ask the question” how can we lead a religious life” Ever since antiquity many philosophers have expressed their views on the issues on leading a good life. After being exposed to these different thoughts I came up with the conclusion that leading a religious life revolves around the idea of loving God and everything He loves. Following is an illustration of the coloration of loving God between the purpose of our existence and religion. The purpose of our existence, we are here to serve God. First we must look at this as we would a circle or cycle. God created Adam and Eve; he gave them free will to do as they please. Due to faults of their free will we must in a sense “suffer” for their mistakes. The cycle goes as is we are born, we die there are two doors heaven and hell. Based on our conscious doing here on earth, it is determined whether we enter the gates of heaven or in the fiery bushes of hell.
Often times one may ask “if God loves the world why does he allow bad things to happen?” my answer to this question is quite simple if he were to intervene and prevent bad thing from happening to one person, for example he stopped a child from getting hit by a car while crossing the street; then he would have to intervene for everyone. What would our world be without any bad? We must go through trials and tribulations.
In order to make sense out of the word religion, one must first understand the meaning of religion. Religion is a basic teaching “ like the central wooden floor of a house” Religion is practical, basic and it is the central teaching. God therefore become the foundation of the house; God if subsequently removed the entire Universe collapse. Just as is you took the foundation out from the house, the house would fall. Most people often only call onto God for help and guidance when they feel that their world is not going as they would ike. Religion is a major influence in our life and covers almost every aspect of our being.
For a long while I have been disconcerted over the problematic meaning of religion. I on a quest to find life in religion and give meaning for me and all the other lost souls out there who are still searching for that “meaning.
” Though previously mentioned that evil, being as old as prostitution, will exist, still I have the desire to make the world beautiful and free from stress. Many have cherished righteous thoughts, and out of these a few have indeed excelled in achieving the goal of offering equal opportunities for every human being to express himself fully.
Inestimable, are the fields in which persons of different race and culture, aptitude and talents can find their fulfillment. A folk dance perfection, a piece of wood or stone sculpted in its most beautiful form and intrigue, a musical instrument touched with deft fingers of an artist to express sweetest melodies of joy, a research worker in a physical laboratory glued to his microscope or telescope in search of the truths hidden in an atom or cosmos, a poet in his restless attempt to arrange the words in exquisite bouquet of fragrant beauty, all such human endeavors still remain to be accomplished during our sojourn on this planet.
Furthermore , giving meaning to religion is as hard as giving meaning to faith or life. More and more we see many individuals returning to religion myself included. One may as why is that. The previous skeptic, instead of believing , as I once did, that religions is becoming outmoded, is now distinctly hopeful of it. More than that I feel I need it. Life without religion has become too much for him. Everything is so disappointing and discerning still I have made no sense out of this “religion.” I believe in the super power, higher being, I belie that we must love him if we believe and if we believe then we love him. Yet, is that enough.
In trying to make sense out of the word religion I find myself drifting in the direction of faith and love. The thought of Jesus comes into mind he love us and therefore made sacrifices right. Is that what religion is? What religion can be called a true religion? First, it is the religion which monopolizes God's love. Then the one who is the subject of that religion and who should be able to monopolize God's love, what kind of being is the being who can monopolize God's love? A man loves his creative work. Then if there is a person who likes and loves that work, the creator will also like and love that person.
In the same way, if there is a person who loves God's creation even more than God Himself, God will love that person most, and He will want to bequeath totally to him His fortune, His authority and even His love. But the only being who could love and cherish all of God's things more than God would be God's son. Therefore the being whom God loves most is His son who loves Him as His father. That son is the being who can monopolize God's love.
The son who monopolizes God's love has the same subjective authority as God. In that way we can understand that in the Garden of Eden, Adam, the being who was to become the true father of humankind, was the real body of God who had equal authority with God. The religion of this son, who can monopolize the love of God, is the true religion.
Second, the religion which is seeking the masterpiece of God's creation which is monopolizing His love is the true religion. That is to say, the religion which is seeking God's son and seeking to establish a relationship with him is the true religion. In order to establish this new relationship, the religion which centers on the spirit and denies the body, and centering on the new relationship denies the old relationships, centering on the new family, tribe, nation and world while denying this world, that religion is a true religion.
Third, the religion which reveals God's love is a true religion. The religion which reveals God's love as parental love, which reveals God's love as conjugal love, and which reveals God's love as children's love is a true religion.
Religion often appears to be a simple idea on the surface, but in reality it is a very complex system. No doubt religion means much or little according to the stage of development that has been reached, but, in its earliest as in its latest form. The whole being of the religious man is filled with the divine as it appears to him, and therefore in religion he feels that he is in perfect unity with himself and the deeper nature of the universe. The possibility of religion is bound up with the essential nature of man as a rational and spiritual being, and rationality or spirituality presupposes as its primary condition the consciousness of a unity, which embraces all distinctions of the world and the self. Now, when man, as a rational subject, finds, or believes that he finds, the world to be a cosmos and human life intelligible, and refers both object and subject to a supreme principle, he adopts the attitude of religion.
Freud believes that people have a deep desire for violence and death and that society uses any opportunity to satisfy those desires. Those desires, since they are not always fulfilled, are what keep civilization from being content. Freud points to the history of human life and sees a huge amount of violence and destruction. He believes the reason that society puts so many restrictions on sexuality is that it is trying to take sexual energy and convert it to a more general love for humans, which can then help counteract our destructive drives and thus make us more content. But he thinks that these efforts to counteract our violent tendencies have had very little success. Freud further explains his reasoning about civilization and its discontents by saying that it is our struggle for life over death that keeps society going.
So then what is the premise of human reason? "The unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning," and that unity is "rendered certain" by the truth that the God of creation is also the God of salvation history. Reason brings us closer to God innately whether we want to or not. A major concern and achievement of classical philosophy was to employ rational analysis in purifying religion of its superstitious and mythological elements. On that basis, early Christianity entered into fruitful dialogue with ancient philosophy. Early Christianity laid contingent on the ancient Greek philosophy to be applied to Christian principles in order for it to be not only rational but a rational philosophy. "Faith therefore has no fear of reason, but seeks it out and has trust in it. Just as grace builds on nature and brings it to perfection, so faith builds upon and perfects reason." Paul the VI stated that St. Thomas "gave to the new encounter of faith and reason was a reconciliation between the secularity of the world and the radicalism of the gospel." He believed that Faith was an "exercise of thought". Contemporary Philosophy seems to tend to stray away from the search for absolute truth, and debasing reason. It seems to have been side-tracked and lost sight of the goal of wisdom. That faith is deprived of reason, and runs the risk of "withering into myth or superstition.” Since the late Middle Ages the Church has understood that "the study of philosophy is fundamental and indispensable" to theological studies and priestly formation.
In all this, the relationship between religion and philosophy is "best construed as a circle." religion begins with the word of God and has as its final goal a deeper understanding of that word. Since God's word is truth, the human search for truth--i.e. Philosophy pursued according to its own rules--has the same goal. God's word stirs reason to discover new and unsuspected horizons. We must be careful in speaking of "Christian philosophy" since the Church has no official philosophy. The term indicates "a Christian way of philosophizing" that has both subjective and objective aspects. Objectively, Christian philosophy proposes truths that might not be discovered by unaided reason, although they are not naturally inaccessible to reason. Religion needs philosophy "as a partner in dialogue in order to confirm the intelligibility and universal truth of its claims."
The book of James in the bible describes "true religion as giving to the orphan and the widows” This is the also the same book of the Bible that describes that "faith without works is dead." So I guess that would be my starting point. Therefore I guess religion to me pertains to faith and pertains to works as well and a correlation between the two. True religion is an expression of true faith that is displayed through works.
What is dynamic and growing in religion would be that true religion is everything that is pure, kind, and of righteousness. True religion finds itself in true faith and faith is a gift of God, for it is not willed or wished upon or based on facts because the more facts a person is presented the less faith is required.
What does Religion mean to me?
In the incarnation of Christ, truth is "immersed in time and history" and is "entrusted to the frail structure of our knowledge”. Thus, in history is found the synthesis by which "the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, and God takes on a human face". There is irrevocable knowledge in this statement, but to arrive at this conclusion is another story. Revelation impels reason to leave "no stone unturned" in seeking the truth, knowing with St. Anselm that the ultimate truth, namely God, is "not only that than which nothing greater can be conceived" but also that which "is greater than all that can be conceived". To be "open to the transcendent," is the overall theme that this revelation is neither the product nor the end of human reason, but a gratuitous expression of love that anticipates the ultimate truth, which is the theme of philosophy and theology alike. Reason can best reach its goal when its search is set within the horizon of faith. There must be no separation or competition between reason and faith: "one is in the other, and each has its own scope for action." Faith, "liberates reason" to set its knowledge "within the ultimate order of things"
How can I find something dynamic and growing in religion? What is dynamic in religion?
Moreover, I am dynamic and I am growing. In religion I find myself my character, my understanding, my personality, and who I am in the oneness of things. Also who I am in God, whilst keeping in mind to know God is to know myself. And therefore to grown in God is to grow in myself. I have just found myself. I am in no way shape or form confined to one religion or any religion at all I believe in the being of religion, in hope. In the hope that there is a higher being who over see everything. One who is above us all who we must be obedient to.
Human beings, says John Paul II in the introduction, are natural philosophers. In every culture, they ask the fundamental questions: Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life? To deny these questions is to deny our humanity. Philosophy, meaning "the love of wisdom," is one resource for understanding the truth, and philosophy is universal. Philosophy has long been held since ancient Greek times to hold the key to unlocking truth, and the unknown.
"Reason has wilted," no longer "daring to rise to the truth of being," with the resulting consequence of the threatening triumph of technique, agnosticism, relativism, and skepticism. Philosophy has lost its nerve, confidence in reason is abandoned; "with a false modesty, people rest content with partial and provisional truths, no longer seeking to ask radical questions about the meaning and ultimate foundation of human life, personal and social." Descartes may have been the firsts to give rationality and logic a backseat to truth. Descartes being one of the first true skeptics doubted all in order to achieve all. Truth has never been what it seems, and postmodern and contemporary thinkers have given truth and rationality a partial means to an end. With statements such as "that truth can be known"(objective truth I’m supposing) the church puts itself in a sticky predicament of proof and assuredness. Vatican stressed that there is "knowledge peculiar to faith" that transcends but does not contradict natural
reason. Such knowledge is certain, said the Council, "Since God neither deceives nor wishes to be deceived." This was the current defense for rationalism and the belief of God at the time.
In the incarnation of Christ, truth is "immersed in time and history" and is "entrusted to the frail structure of our knowledge”. Thus, in history is found the synthesis by which "the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, and God takes on a human face". There is irrevocable knowledge in this statement, but to arrive at this conclusion is another story. Revelation impels reason to leave "no stone unturned" in seeking the truth, knowing with St. Anselm that the ultimate truth, namely God, is "not only that than which nothing greater can be conceived" but also that which "is greater than all that can be conceived". To be "open to the transcendent," is the overall theme that this revelation is neither the product nor the end of human reason, but a gratuitous expression of love that anticipates the ultimate truth, which is the theme of philosophy and theology alike. Reason can best reach its goal when its search is set within the horizon of faith. There must be no separation or competition between reason and faith: "one is in the other, and each has its own scope for action." Wisdom literature, like Greek philosophy, understood that "the book of nature," read by reason, can lead to knowledge of the Creator. Faith, however, "liberates reason" to set its knowledge "within the ultimate order of things". Faith may the key to unlocking spiritual and essential truth, but to grasp the concept of faith itself is something that cannot be drawn from oneself. In Romans 1, St. Paul affirms reason's capacity for knowledge of God, but reason was "wounded" and "warped" at "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" in the human assertion of autonomy in deciding for ourselves what is good and evil. "Reason became more and more a prisoner to itself," an imprisonment from which it is released by the coming of Christ. "The preaching of Christ crucified is the reef upon which the link between faith and philosophy can break up, but it is also the reef beyond which the two can set forth upon the boundless ocean of truth". In every human heart there is "a seed of desire and nostalgia for God," as is made evident in the arts, literature, philosophy, and other work of creative intelligence.
In closing, I have found myself and defined it. I know who I am. I have found the meaning of the idea, religion, faith and God. Once and for all, to Love God is too love yourself and to love yourself is to love god.