The Role of Religion in the Ferguson Case
The Ferguson case in the United States has created much controversy and resulted in Darren Wilson, the accused police officer, free from charges for the shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown. This case demonstrates the increasing problem of racial prejudice and discrimination in the United States. Racial disparities still exist between the white majority and visible minorities like African-Americans. The trial, from start to finished, sparked many riots and violent protests. Among all this chaos, the community, both police and protesters, still gathered at a local church to pray and display the strength of the people at the face of adversity. If we recall from Karl Marx, we can observe that religion is functioning as a coping method for struggle and misfortune. As long as there are living conditions that inflict struggle, religion will exist because it is “the opium of the people” (Marx). Religion provides a sense of hope in a seemingly dark place. If religion serves humanity in the wake of adversity, what would drive individuals to utilize religion, instead of other means, as a coping tool?
Feuerbach argues it is also the very same adversity and afflictions that will direct people back to God over and over again. There is spiritual goodness that comes from religion and through interactions with each other, human beings are able to harness it. In the Ferguson case, regardless of racial background and occupational status, a unified community formed that otherwise would not have existed. People gather to embrace the divinity’s wisdom and love in order to counter their adversities. However, it can be argued, as Feuerbach has, that the comfort we seek from the divine is simply a reflection of qualities in the human species. God was created by humanity to serve humans. The very nature of the divine is the “essence of human nature itself” (Feuerbach). God is a creation of the human conscious. Though this is an extreme view, it is undeniable that religion has a reciprocal relationship with people. Religion influences people and people influence religion.