The Reality of Modern Religion
Despite traditional beginnings, the term religion has now broadened enough to include every concept in our generation to develop a “god-complex.” Generally speaking, there could be a religion for everything, from Apple products to FIFA. In this article, Gary Laderman addresses how religious diversity makes it impossible to give just one group ultimate authenticity for their beliefs- there could be validity in all of them. This flexibility has prompted criticisms from figures like Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx who believed it was just something made up to appease people’s imaginations with no validity at all. Laderman then went on to talk about universal truths about religion that were very thought provoking and ideas that I wouldn’t dispute.
“Even though religion is a constant, it is never the same around the world and through time.”
Everyone has a sense of religion, conscious or not. Society is constructed on our devotion to ideas or objects and that is something that everyone has in common. Humans become victims of anything that gives their life guidance, and although that differs around the world, the sense of belonging associated with religion doesn’t change.
“Religion is a force of good in the world and, paradoxically, one of the most destructive forces motivating horrible bloodshed and hatred throughout history, in the present, and into the future.”
This was a statement from the article that resonated with me and is incredibly relevant right now throughout the world. More than ever, radical ideals are being spread through the media and are initiating a widespread fear of religion. Radicalists become the poster-children of faith and that causes ignorant people to blame the actions of few on an entire group. Everyone watching the news sees the ongoing tragedies in the Middle East and because they can distance themselves from it, they’re able to falsely accuse without many repercussions. On the other side of the spectrum, religion can be used as “a force of good in the world” because it brings people together and many religious groups put emphasis on community building. It offers individuals solace in the darkest of times and many go their entire lives co-existing peacefully with others who may not share the same values.
“Religion is not simply about revelation or spiritual truth.”
Contrary to popular belief, religion is not just ancient books and spiritual awakenings and prophets with terrifying pasts. Laderman talks about how it applies also to all the “mundane” things around us- everything that connects us as human beings, all the burdens we share. Even those who don’t believe in a god are intertwined in the cycle because they have a culture of their own, and that is all religion really is. It is a multi-faceted culture that is continually broken down and fluctuating, and doesn’t really revolve around one particular person or object.
In summary of my thoughts, no one can definitively say what religion is correct but everyone should admit that it exists all around us, even in our ever-evolving world.