Sunday, May 9, 2010

Religion: The Manual Of Life

Religion: The Manual of life
Editor at Reading Islam Site

Sometimes when life gets too complicated, there is always a wish that there was a manual for life that can help figure out why things sometimes take these unexpected turns.

Just like every complicated device has a manual that can help people know how it operates, religion can be regarded as the manual of life. Of course life is much more complicated than any made-made device, but religion provides some of the very basic answers that people need concerning their quest with life.
People are always looking for the missing link between their bodies and souls, a link that only "spirituality" provides.
Although Karl Marx referred to religion as the "opium of the masses", which is a clear indication on the cons of religion. According to Marx, religion "brainwashes" the minds of people by promising them an illusionary reward in compensation for their patience on worldly ordeals, and not seeking to change their status quo. This to him explains the reluctance of many to wok hard to improve their living conditions.
In today's world, Marx's theory about religion is not of much appeal to the people. People are striving hard in the materialistic world we live in to find a bigger meaning for their lives. They are trying to understand the mechanism of their souls, in search for the optimum spiritual goal; inner peace.
People often turn back to religion looking for answers to their questions about the purpose of life, what happens to them after death and how to cope with the turmoil of life.
On the same sense that the inventor and maker of anything knows it best, people turn to God as He is giver of life. Some like to refer to God as the "higher power" or "the supreme entity", whatever name they call Him, it's the idea of acknowledging a supreme power that governs the universe, and has control over their lives.

Searching for God
People start searching for God, looking for answers about their existence and trying to understand the purpose of life when either of two extremes happen; they are faced with one ordeal after another and they can't figure a way out. At this moment they turn to God for help and guidance on how to handle their problems; the same when they are trying to discover the true meaning of happiness in this life.
After succeeding in fulfilling all their human needs, they still feel emptiness. They start seeking fulfillment of other channels. They discover that humans consist of body and soul. They start looking for ways to enrich their souls. And religion is the only thing that can provide guidelines for this enrichment process.
Along these two extremes, there are people who are continuously searching for God and questioning the purpose of their lives. They don’t construct the majority of people, as the fast pace of modern life make it hard for people to often pause and reflect on issues concerning their existence, the afterlife and the whole of creation around them.
The issue of death and what happens after it is not of much importance to some people, they believe that there's a plenty of time to be dead, so let's first enjoy life!
However, every human being at some point of his life, at least asks himself the very basic questions about his existence
Where do I come from?
What happens to me after death?
What's the purpose of my creation?
Some people try to search for answers to these questions while others only stop at the point of posing them in their minds. They quickly return back to their mundane life, as at this point of their lives, getting the answer to these questions is not of high importance.
However, truth seekers don’t stop at the stage of only posing the questions, they start getting back to their religions for answers, and if the answer is not satisfying enough, they start exploring other religions. And this is the embankment of their journey in search for the truth.
A Private Matter?
Recently, religion became a sensitive matter that it's considered a kind of unacceptable intrusion to ask someone in the face "What's your religion?"
Although classifying and identifying people according to their religions should not be the case, still religion plays an important role in shaping one's character, ideas and beliefs.
Knowing your religious beliefs helps people who deal with you have a bit of an idea about your whole belief system which necessarily reflects on your personality.
If you choose to follow a religion, this means you strongly believe in it and adhere to its practices, why then is it offensive if someone asks you about something you chose wholeheartedly and have strong conviction in?

The media plays an important role in making religion an "itchy" issue. Watching fundamentalists and extremists from every religion committing violence all over the world helped in shaping the mindset of people when it comes to religion. Stereotyping and categorizing people according to their religion are mainly the job of the media.
People now very much relate between people who adhere to and practice their religion and extremism to a point that it became a major turn off to people if someone declares his religion without being asked about it,
The media neglects focusing on the fact that Extremism and Fundamentalism are ideologies in themselves that can be applied on any practice in the world,
The Need for Religion
People, who don’t follow a certain religion, find it hard to understand why other persons choose some set of rules to willingly follow, i.e. follow a certain religion. According to them, humans have the least common sense required to lead a happy life.
They don't need rules and regulations that determine their way of life. There are human values that can help them in leading their lives. They don’t need a religion. They believe that you can still connect with your soul and be spiritual without having to believe that there's an ultimate power that controls you.
It's not about questioning the existence of God anymore; it's about the need of religion in life in the first place.
On the other hand, people who choose to follow a certain religion find it totally awkward that some can lead a life outside the boundaries of any religion. They believe that a certain relation has to be established between God or the Ultimate Power, or whatever every religion refers to as.
They find their solace in religion; they find their happiness in knowing that they are blessed in every move they make if it’s right according to their religion.
The joy of practicing religion is another aspect. People find it important to have other aims in life other than fulfilling their human needs. When they wake up every morning they believe that there must be more into life than eating, drinking and going to work.
Again, to them, religion is the manual that helps them function life, and make it work.
The question is not anymore why people need religion; the question is what religion provides to people so that they choose to follow it.


  1. Jazakallah for sharing sister :)


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