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While everyone’s opinion on Religion is different, it is also the same in many ways. Everyone on this earth should be able to chose their own religion and practice it the way they want. When deciding to claim a religion, it is a big responsibility and a big change of commitment in someone’s life. Religion has been around for thousands of years and has yet to cease. The majority of religion started with Jesus Christ and the story of Moses. Since then, religion has branched of to sub religions, which is just another form of religion inside a religion. Today I am sure there are hundreds of forms of religions. From Christian to Muslim, Catholics to Jehovah’s Witness, and Atheists to Protestants, religion around the world is so diverse, it’s hard to interpret religion its self.
Today alone, there are ten major known religions which include the following:
Religion Members Percentage
2.1 billion 33.0%
1.3 billion 20.1
851 million 13.3
375 million 5.9
25 million 0.4
15 million 0.2%
7.5 million 0.1
6.4 million 0.1
4.5 million 0.1
2.8 million 0.0
Within these ten religions, you would not believe how different they are. These religions, however, are the most popular or most practiced. These religions mean a lot of things to a lot of people. No matter how someone decides to practice or follow their chosen religion, it is important to them. No one will ever know the important of someone elses religion.
Lets take the Muslim religion for example.
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The Muslims have such a huge ‘oath’ to how often they practice and there are reasons why. There are five religious rituals they do every day. The first is Confession of Faith, second Ritual prayer, third Alms tax, fourth Fasting during the month of Ramadan, and last, Pilgrimage to Mecca. These all have major importance such as praying to their God and believing in only him, saying the same prayer 5 times a day to cleanse their soul of all evil and other such things.
So as diverse as Christianity and Islam religions are, it is important. Without religion, our world would not be the melting pot it is proclaimed to be. The U.S. has been named the melting pot of the world for a reason; it is home to many different cultures, nationalities, ideas and religions. The United States is so unique that all these different religions are represented in a unique nation that is only 200 years old. The U.S. has supported, throughout hundreds of years of history, which the freedom of religion is very important to keep this nation to function as a free one. Therefore, we have America, the melting pot of the world and we should keep it that way.
As far as individuality goes, every person who claims a religion is making themselves more of an individual. And without individuality, we would all be the same; what fun would that be? Despite religion being very important, it is also one of the biggest political and personal debates among citizens. Everyday, there is someone out there being discriminated against because of their religion. Whether it’s because of a job, or a relationship, religion is the new racism. When someone is solely set on their chosen religion, it is hard for them to open their mind and hear otherwise. But if someone knows how important their religion is to them, then it is only fair to understand that the other person’s religion can mean just as much to them, no matter how diverse the religions are.
However, there will also be those individuals who discriminate against religion period. These people would be the Atheists and Agnostics. Those who chose not to claim a religion are noticed more than they think. By religious hate crimes, statistical polls like the one below, they make themselves noticed. As also seen in the chart below, Atheists and Agnostics are starting to be herd and consistently growing in number. How are they being herd you might ask? Take the 2 most recent issues just in school and everyday life. Parents were complaining about “one nation under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. Another one being “in God we trust” on the U.S. Dollar. So as people can see, these religious debates will never be settled.
Among these two issues, non-believers and certain religions are starting to make a lot things be questioned. New questions arise everyday by these people that churches are starting to not be able to answer. In a hypothetical position, let’s say “Doomsday” never happens. How many Christians are going to completely lose their faiths? How many new religions or ‘new testaments,’ are there going to be? We will never know, or who knows, we might.
So, despite all these religious issues and debates, it still comes down to one thing. Even though religion is not for everyone, we should choose our own religion due to first amendment rights and to keep our cultural diversity. It is important that we have these debates and issues, because if we didn’t people might lose the answer as to why their religion is important to them. If that were to happen, what would be the point of the first amendment?
The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is our constitutional right, our unalienable right that our forefathers gave us that can not be taken away. With this Amendment, we are able to choose our own religion or none at all. We are able to have our own minds, and our own thoughts, instead of the government preaching a religion to us or having one forced on us. The constitution was written for a reason, to distinguish unalienable rights that can not be taken away from someone. Our forefathers thought ahead of time and knew that religion would be an issue. So by the First Amendment protecting our right to freedom of religion, nothing can be done.
However, the First amendment says nothing about not being allowed to be a non-believer. So while Atheists and Agnostics claim ‘no religion; they are in fact a religion. Religion, according to Webster’s Dictionary is, “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” With that last part said, Atheists and Agnostics have moral codes and a set of beliefs. Not only does that make them a religion, but a religion can also be classified as an organization believing in one thing.
Those that choose to completely believe in something and practice it, makes it a religion, no matter how great or how small. Religion is never distinguished by how many churches and how many people follow, but by how strong and individuals will is to follow it and practice it. This is also how and why the world has so many different religions. But with all the religions and all the free minds, that is what makes America, America. People are finally starting to realize the importance of religion in themselves and other people. This is why America is also able to get along with one another. First skin color was an issue among citizens of the U.S., lets not make it religion next. Because religion is just as diverse as skin color and nationalities, does not make it wrong.
So what is the true meaning of religion in modern day? It all depends on how someone perceives their religion. Religion is important in many ways, shapes, and forms. Everyday people spend numerous amounts of time defending their religion and practicing. Just because it is not important someone, does not mean it’s the world to someone else. “I conceive that no one has any right to question another on his religious opinions; that the tree ought to be judged, and can only be judged by its fruits,” (Mr. John Stuart Mills from The New York Times.) With that said religion is in the heart and mind of the beholder, and only they can judge for themselves what is right or wrong.