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Morality and religion are the most important of all the dispositions and customs that lead to political opulence. The practice of religion is a potent antidote to many of our society's most urgent social ills. Most of these horrors have traditionally hit the select, and they take devotion to solve; but, considering the beneficial effects of religion in our culture, people face many difficulties in openly sharing their faith. According to social science research, it is important to accommodate and legalize free religious practices in order to drive society in the right direction. The essay at hand, therefore, will explore the social impacts that religion has on our community.
Social impacts refer to the way a community has been influenced, by activities that were conducted by any group. Religion implies the beliefs that define the relationship between humans and a supreme being, a sacred being or a god. Therefore, faith involves a form of worship, individual books, rites, tradition and dogmas (Batson et al., 1993). The religious cycle is divided into three sections which include; religious freedom, the positive contribution of religion to the society and lastly the broader religious participation. Spiritual cycles help us understand the importance of faith in society. An individual can find the activities that may lead to these effects into the community which can either be the religious intolerance or religious tolerance that has both positive and negative impacts.
Most importantly, religion came up as a sanctuary of hope. We can say that whenever individuals are stuck at a certain point in life, they look up to some supreme powers for help. They find belief in their religion and firmly believe that their burden is lessened. Also, when they experience victory, they firmly think that it is not by themselves that they were able to achieve (Batson et al., 1993). The societal impact that this firm belief brings about is that their members of this community can wait for another day with hope and thus are united through the same faith.
Religion helps in moral development. In all religious beliefs, morality is one aspect that is taken seriously. A community that has made seriously the issue of faith no matter the kind of religion they believe in, there will always be a low crime rate associated with this area (Evans et al, 1995). For instance, when a child is born, he or she will be taken through the teachings of their religion which mostly condemn societal ills. A child who grows up with these values will always be morally upright and only a few may go against the custom and in most cases, will be viewed as outcasts. In areas where most people lack a religion or choose not to believe, there is a high tendency of growth in moral decay. For example, I the United States, where most people don’t go to worship, you’ll find that there is an increase of immorality especially pornography among youths.
We can also say that religion provides a community with a sense of belonging or identity. One identifies herself the connection to a supreme being and thus able to answer some personal questions for example, how did I come to exist? What is the origin of the earth? And one may also be able to answer himself other personal questions. Also, one can be part of a particular religious group with the aim of being a part of the society. The implication is that an individual will be able to be nurtured and when his time ends on earth, he or she may be buried by members or religious group. In most cases, this rite is usually very crucial, and if one is denied such an opportunity, it is considered a shameful act in the society.
Another aspect is that religion is a sign of unity in a community. When worshipping, the congregants are expected to solve their grudges and should forgive their so-called enemies, in that when they meet they are brothers and sisters. One is also able to socialize better since every time you go for your worship; you are likely to meet new people or strengthen the old friends or acquaintances.
Religion also helps in improving the economic state of a country and individuals. You will find that many religious men and women believe in giving alms and be involved in charity activities. For example, members of a certain religious group may come together to build a community hospital that will serve the unfortunate in the society. They will also feed the poor and the homeless and even involve them in economic activities.
Also, religious groups have highly participated in providing education for all in communities that are the less fortunate. Most of these children are sponsored throughout their studies so that they can come back and build their society with the acquired knowledge. Most of these youths are then instilled with the value of education, and hard work hence is beneficial to the community.
The practice of religion has also had a great on the family. In most cases, families are built on high religious foundations have been able to thrive and be successful. Marriages are stronger, and the children are also taught family values and the importance of it to the society through religion (Batson et al., 1993), than society standards. You will find that many broken marriages will try to find solace in religious places. Therefore, in such situations, one is given spiritual who act as your guide throughout your family life. Also, people take the Christian holidays at a time to visit their family members and take part in the festivities. For example, Christians will visit their family members during Easter or charismas and thus celebrate together strengthening the family bond. When there are religious differences within the family, children also tend to be rebellious and may want to follow their ways.
When one actively believes in whatever religion he or she belongs to, there is always a high tendency that the individual may have very few health complications. Research indicates that when one is committed to his or her religion, one will tend to have a high self-esteem and thus live longer. There are also reduced cases of cancer and other chronic ailments among such people.
Religion is also viewed as a form of therapy in that it aids the treatment of some emotional and psychological problems (Nooney et al., 2002). For example, most people who are contemplating suicide, are into drug addiction and are also into crime may change just because they believed that there is a superior being above who will listen to their cries and answer them accordingly. Their inner wounds are healed and repaired, and their esteem and moral values are also restored. Most victims of the cases mentioned earlier have ended up changing their lifestyles and doing something beneficial to the community.
Religion is one area that has always needed the intervention of the state. For instance, when a state legalizes the freedom to worship, there is still an emergence of different sections of religion which offers the services that the people may seek. In this case, religiousness will help to improve the morality of the nation. In that, there will be a reduced crime rate within the region. Also, the state will provide its citizens with the freedom to worship which will help to prevent some religions undermining the other due to inferiority. Countries that have not given their citizens such privileges have experienced some inter-religious war whereby the citizen is forced to have a particular kind of religion that is more superior.
Religion also has some adverse effects on the community, for example, when members of the community forget the reason as to why they assemble to worship, they start focusing on the material things, for example, compete which car they drive, the kind of clothing they put in and so many other materialistic areas. The society then will disintegrate, and its sense of morality will disappear and thus increase the crime rate will increase (Evans et al., 1995).
Some people may view religion as their usual way of life whereby they participate in all religious activities, yet they also engage in the ills that the religion rejects. Therefore, belief comes in to set a boundary between the good and the bad or the righteous and the evil.
Also, when the religious groups are too diverse, a conflict may arise in that some people may fail to understand your religion which then may lead to the battle between the teams that may eventually cause a war between the religious groups. Thief reason may be due to the difference in the communication and insight of the other religion. Also, when religious groups are diverse, it may bring about prejudice whereby the people may not see beyond the conflict at hand.
All the positive impacts will be enjoyed only if there is religious freedom between the parties. The reason is that all these religions will practice will give each other the freedom to shine and focus on implementing the positivity. In most cases, those who fight against the other religion will in most cases have a setback in their economy and education standards which act as the backbone of the country or a state.
Some atheists have also argued that religion has also promoted tribalism. They claim that religion divides those who are inside from those who are on the outside. They quote the Christian’s bible which says “be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers.” While Quran (Sure 4:91) says, “they wish that you disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; take not yourselves friends on them.” Such teachings, in the end, discourage intermarriages and even friendship with those from other religious backgrounds.
Also, the staunch believers will always seek to protect the religious iron age custom whereby there was a lot of racism, inequality, ignorance and lots of superstition. Desperate people were said to sacrifice and appease the god, and they would use anything to do that. Some of the religious texts including the Bible, Quran and the Torah have scriptures that literary puts fear in people’s mind at the utter of God's name. Even though in the modern world things seem to have taken a turn, there are some staunch Christians who are so conservative and have been tied down to their belief.
They also claim that religion has been used to make a virtue out of faith. For instance, it is common knowledge that science has set out a pace to contradict belief. In this case, religion has now stepped up to stay strong and thus have trained their believers to shut down any contradicting information that may seek to differ from their belief.
In some instances, religion may be used negatively for some personal interests. Example, religion has become the quickest way of attaining wealth in that; they take advantage of people’s generosity. They encourage members of their congregation to give until it hurts. Initially, giving was an act of charity, and it came from within, but currently, it has become the quickest way of earning hence exploiting the members of the society. The leaders are using the scriptures to manipulate its followers who follow blindly without questioning the acts. Some so many people have even given up their lives to be utilized as missionaries. They work so hard, yet they get nothing from their toil just as a means of surrendering everything to the Supreme Being. Apart from the exploitation that revolves around kindness and generosity, some religions have also corrupted morality and indignation claiming that these emotions are set rules. For example, the orthodox Jews will buy wigs and double dishwashers for their women, while the Christian parents are forced to choose either righteousness and love. On the other hand, the Catholic bishops have also imposed moral rules in the operation rooms.
In some cases, believers are urged to let go and let God take control. For example, some sect like Catholic, Judaism, and Islam call their women to allow God to take care of their family planning. Many severe cases are left in God’s hands, and that makes the believers be slaves. For example, a woman with nothing to support her family will end up having more children that she can sustain then they end up suffering just because she was too religious to go for family planning. They carry heavy burdens as they wait upon God to come and solve their problems yet they can handle the issues themselves.
Many people are religious just because they are seeking wealth and power. Most of these individuals will be too holy only because they are trying favor from the congregants. When they attain their desires, they leave their religion and to enjoy their wealth and power as free beings not tied to the rules and regulations of the religion they practice.
Therefore, religion has both positive and negative impacts on the society. In most cases, the positive effects are the benefits of the people, both the religious and the non-religious and usually such a course is self-determined. On the other hand, the negative impacts are due to the selfishness of certain individuals who want to benefit while others are suffering, which can be termed as from the malicious people as explained in the paper.
Batson, Charles Daniel, Patricia Schoenrade, and W. Larry Ventis. Religion and the individual: A social-psychological perspective. Oxford University Press, 1993.
Evans, T. David, et al. "Religion and crime reexamined: The impact of religion, secular controls, and social ecology on adult criminality." Criminology 33.2 (1995): 195-224.
Nooney, Jennifer, and Eric Woodrum. "Religious coping and church‐based social support as predictors of mental health outcomes: Testing a conceptual model." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 41.2 (2002): 359-368.
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