Dependent Origination

Religion for Atheists

Posted on: September 30, 2015



I loved “The Art of Travel” so I decided to give this one a try since I need much knowledge about philosophy and religion for the moment. It is a nice little book – detailed why people need religion. Besides its philosophy and value system, ceremonies, what else it can offer such that billions of people around the world are followers, to some degree?

One reason, religion provides community service. People have a natural tendency to live in a community, not to mention a community of love and care, of positive energy. Religion, churches provide such a community. So you have people around for your significant events. The author didn’t address the question why extended family cannot provide the functionality. My guess? For one, extended family isn’t such a close-knit thing for Americans or Europeans, especially for those people in bigger cities, for the movers and shakers of the modern times. They have nowhere to go after they went off their roots, and fell far from the tree. For a second reason, everyone needs to find their own tribe. The tribe may not be the extended family since those people aren’t selected by you, consciously. They are not people selected by the current you. Therefore it is hard to find a real sense of belongings, especially spiritually, value system wise, in an extended family.

Second reason, religion provides functionalities to solve the people conflicts of a community. For example, the day of repent, everyone writes down and tells the person that they want to say sorry for. It doesn’t feel that personal. It makes a hard, emotional matter easier to handle. Since it is hard, without such arrangement, we may just skip it, leaving permanent markers in our relationships. Religion provides a way to smooth out those pains and hurt, before the consequences are too much to bear.

There are other offerings from the author, such as art etc. Those are the two most important ones that I remember. People figured this out like a hundred years ago and multiple efforts on founding a universal religion or a religion with such pros without the ceremonies etc parts that some people dislike. None has succeeded. There must be something else going on. To believe is still a mystery, for the most part.


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