Philosophy reflection paper:
January 19. 2010
Is Religion Necessary?
John Piper once said, “Words don’t mean things…definitions mean things.” In order to answer the question, “Is religion necessary?” we must first define “religion”. Some definitions say that “religion” is “the service and worship of God or the supernatural” (Merriam-Webster) or “the belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this belief” (google dictionary). Others define “religion” as "a set of symbolic forms and acts that relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence” (Robert Bellah, professor at the University of California, Berkley).
Huston Smith noted that the oldest artifacts found by archaeologists have religious significance. In ages past, before more recent scientific advances, the world around us must have seemed far beyond human comprehension…and yet creation got here somehow…and so did we.
All (or nearly all) cultures around the world, past and present, have had some sense of “religion”. Even today, many cultures do not have a mandated religion, yet most people have access to at least one belief system called “religion”. Whether the worshippers wanted salvation from the physical world around them or whether they wanted access to an afterlife, it seems that human beings are programmed to seek something (or someone) larger than themselves.