Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do we need to be "religious" to be "good"?


Among the many things built into our DNA, two seem fundamental. The curiosity to wonder where everything comes from and what the purpose of it all is; and, the basic need to be good and to do good.

Over the ages, peoples from around the world have developed varying interpretations (religions) to try to explain what lies beyond. At best, these man-made interpretations of what lie beyond incorporate the basic and natural need to be good. At worst, they are used to control and manipulate others through fear or worse.

In reality, one (i.e., religion) has nothing to do with the other (i.e., being good). In fact, religion often negatively impacts, alters, and distorts our natural instinct to be good and to do good in the worst possible way.

So, here are my suggestions:

• For our core need to believe in something greater – let’s think about it individually and develop our own way to make sense of this? No need to push or force our own interpretation/religion onto others? Trouble usually starts when the pushing begins.

• For our core need to do good for others – why don’t we just get busy and do something already? Why can’t we help people when they are hungry, sick, or needing comfort just because? Do we really need somebody else’s stories/religion of reward and punishment to compel us to act?

At the end of the day, I think “love” trumps all this craziness. If you do not have an answer to the first question, then focus on the second. Focus on love. Give a lot. Get a lot. You may then find the answer to the first question.

1 comment:

  1. I would have to disagree that humanity as a whole does not need religion to do good, and its not because I am a religious man. It goes more to your first suggestion. We are mortal beings with a relative short life span. The larger universe and what happens (if anything) after we pass away is beyond (I believe) our comprehension. Religion, for better or worse, acts as a security blanket that eases the mind.

    This is not to say that religion is perfect. As a human created and human led concept, it is full of faults. And I do not understand nor appreciate why religious groups push their beliefs on others. But that does not take away the fact that religion can serves society as its spiritual police.

    On your second suggestion, I would like to believe that we as humans have a core need to do good for others, although the more logical part of me actually thinks that humans need to be good. If we all do evil acts society would not function. For example, we cannot go around stealing from our neighbors because then people would not produce anything. For our society to function we need to do good acts or to the very least, follow rules (laws).