The word religion is a word most people don’t know to define it. People of all colors, social statuses and places have created a view that is known as religion. I thought all religions were significantly different and had nothing to do with one another. When I was asked for reasons to study religion, I thought it was to be closer to God, learn about how the world was created and to learn about different beliefs. I was asked if a person needs to be religious to study religion. I was unsure on how to respond to this question because I was never the most religious person so I didn’t have much of a view on the topic but, I thought you did not need to be religious because you may agree on some things in a religion, but not all. I had family and friends however, that were very religious and had thoughts otherwise on the subject. Over the year, I have changed my outlook on religion and come to realize what religion really is, why studying religion is very important, why religion is beneficial to society, and why being religious is not a factor in studying religion.
When the word religion came to mind, I thought of difference. However, now when I think of religion, I think of unity. By definition, unity is the state of being united or joined together as a whole. This is a completely different viewpoint from what I first thought. I would have never looked at it that way if I was never taught the real meaning of various religions around the world. In the book Introduction to Religious Studies, It says how there is not one specific or simple definition of religion. Instead of having one set definition of religion, you should hold onto a group of loose definitions. But, one quote from this book that did help me narrow down religion to a single word is this, “It is part of our human experience to engage in religious ideas and practices that change in subtle and significant ways over time.” This quote shows how overtime people come together through religion by various rituals and ceremonies. Another quote that helped me find one word to describe religion is from the book Rethinking Religion. It states, “Religion is created by societies to enforce their norms and values.” This quote explains how religion can bring people together whether it is with events like ceremonies and with peace because they all have similar beliefs if they believe in the same religion.
Is Religion Important?
There is no doubt that the world today is multicultural and has a very wide variety of people with different beliefs. Because of this, it is very important for people to be educated about all religions. Religion is important to study because there is so much history behind each religion that has shaped and transformed the world’s people into the people they are today. If people were educated about different religions, confusion and conflict among people of different religions would be reduced greatly, because people would know others’ reasoning’s behind the things they practice and believe. Stereotypes have been created in order to associate people together, because we do not understand what they truly believe and stand for.
Misunderstanding Of It
A misunderstanding about religion is that when studying religion, a person is going to be forced to believe the things that are being taught about each religion. Instead of trying to convert the person, one could simply educate them on the aspects of the religion. This could be done in the same way that any other subject is taught. Because of the multiple aspects to learn, it can be understood that a person doesn’t have to be religious in order to study religion. In the book Introduction to Religious Studies, it says, “The relationship between science and religion is now one of the fastest growing areas of interest in the study of religion.” This shows that religion contains more than just a spiritual aspect, so it could be understood even if someone is not religious. Another misunderstanding is that people could think that if they were already a religious person towards a certain religion, studying other religions might make them less holy in their own religion. When actually, it is through these studies of other religion’s traditions and history, which their beliefs could be made stronger through comparison.
In conclusion, I think it is important for people to realize how much of an importance religion is to the lifestyle of today’s world. A person doesn’t need to be extremely religious in order to be educated about religion. Religion has much more to it than just worshiping a God or Gods. It also has an important role in many people’s lives and that is a huge factor to shaping people into who they are. Just because a person is of a certain religion, they should not be assumed to act a certain way. This causes stereotypes and separation. In the end, religion is meant to bring people together, so no matter what someone believes, they shouldn’t cause separation because others don’t think the same things. Unity is what religion is all about, so it should bring people together instead of drawing them apart.