As a student of religion I have learnt that religion is an indispensable part of human life. History shows that every religion, it may be revealed or not, has risen in the crucial moment of the human history. According to the Semitic tradition human history has began with Adam and Eve, first prophet in Abrahamic tradition. In Indian tradition, though God is omnipresent but he directly intervened into this world, what we called Avatara, to make a clear distinction between right and wrong. In primitive society also people’s lives were highly motivated with religious affiliation.
In every point of human history, we observe, a common scenario of religious activities is to establish peace. The way of religion to establish peace may be different but the ultimate aim of human life according to every religion is to harmonize environment with justice. To hold justice every religion offers a code for its followers. This code is nothing but a regulation of human life. It includes everything of human life, one’s behavior also. The great contribution of religion in history is promoting morality. Every religion stands on its strong commitment of morality. In today’s world, we talk so much on humanism, focusing on human values and concerns. In this connection I may mention a religious code in Islam which says that “None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." (Bukhari.) Here brother means mankind. The Holy Quran declared that “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into races and families so that you may know each other. The most honored of you in Allah's sight are those who best keep their duty." (49:13)
Question is : what is religion? In theology definition of religion is a debatable issue. To define religion J.S. Mackenzie, a British philosopher, wrote that “It may be enough to regard religion as meaning the spirit of devotion to the perfection of human life.” (Outline of Social Philosophy, p. 210) Eric Von Der Luft, editor of The Owl of Minerva, defined religion as follows: “In essence, religion is an attitude, or a sum of attitudes.” My own understanding of religion is “a system to make a worthy life.” To become a holder of worthy life we need some qualities which are as follows: • Knowledge
And proper use of these qualities will help us to lead a fruitful life.
Now let me analyze the position of religion in human history. We may turn briefly to prehistoric times. Religion in prehistoric times was nothing but a sense of security against the elements of nature. Religion in the early stage of human history had certain characteristics and some common features. These are briefly outlined to determine the role of religion in human life:
Awe before the God: it is a general scenario of our life that all the religious places, symbols, persons, things, and rituals are regarded holy to us. We may or may not belong to that religious ideology but we consider it as sacred and venerate them, if not for anything else then out of a fear that disrespect may entail their wrath. In primitive ages people were scattered in living and they had not enough security. They were scared of facing earthquake, flood, cyclone so on, even were scared of big tree, hill etc. They considered them as holy or something powerful. And to be safe from these spirits' curse they worshipped them.
Expression of anxiety in ritual: In the presence of sacred , there is certain anxiety or worry among the people: will the holy power be moved by offerings and supplication? Will the power be favorable to the devotee? In this context one of the fundamental bases of religious rituals is that the anxiety gave birth to rituals. There were two types of anxiety in primitive times. First kind of anxiety arose from the crisis or strains in the life of the individual or the community. Anxiety concerned...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document