Essay: Religion Has Done More Harm Than Help to Human Relations in the World
- Religion has positive impact over human relations
- The positive impacts – charity, community building and unity
- The negative effects such as – violence, hatred and irrational thinking are a result of wrong interpretation of teachings compounded by erroneous remedial actions.
- Devout people take more part in philanthropy.
- Praying together same God promotes the feeling of unity and brotherhood.
- Societies with organized religion have better community structures and less family issues.
- People are promoting extremism in the name of Religion causes which causes violence in the world.
- Modernists view Religion as superstitious and misguiding and hence have become more prone to immoral activities
How it can be mitigated:
- Wrong interpretation of teachings can be corrected by doing research
- Incorrect remedial actions against extremism instead of fighting wars against individuals, the corrective actions must be focused on mitigating the root causes.
- Religion can unite the whole world if successful corrective actions are taken.
- The world peace can be established by following religious ideals.
Throughout history of mankind,religion has played positive as well as negative influential role in human relations of the world. The religious prospects of charity, unity and community building have given rise to much social goodwill. On the other hand, religion has been related to the causation of violence, hatred, irrational thinking and many other social evils. The impact of the religion chiefly depends upon the interpretation of the religious teachings. Those who misunderstand the divine instructions eventually cause evils in the society. Consequently, the religion becomes harmful along with being helpful in the human society.
All the religions of the world enjoin to give up worldly desires and lead ascetic life. Hence, faithful people are more inclined towards philanthropy and welfare of mankind. Many human rights movements are led by religious people. Among them, the movement against slavery and International Red Cross movement are the prominent examples. Religious people also provide more donations. Arthur Brooks, the author of “Who Really Cares” who did research on who are the people involved in helping the poor said, “Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation. Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much.” Therefore, religion encourages the charity and goodwill among mankind.
Praying together same God promotes the feeling of unity and brotherhood.
In addition to the charity, the men of strong belief are better equipped with sense of unity and brotherhood. Praying together the same God creates a feeling of association among them. Moreover, Festivals like Christmas, Diwali and Eid provide them a chance to rejoice. Consequently, their social life is improved.
Furthermore, the religious community structures have been attributed to improving physical and psychological well being of its members. The argument is that the complex and fragmented structure of Western modern society is detrimental to physical and psychological health of its members especially children. According to a research by Institute of American values, the religious structured families are healthier as compared to Western modern society. It is another benefit the faith provides to human society.
Every religion of the world has preached peace and harmony in the world, however, the difference of opinion and extremism often leads to religious wars. As Pope John Paul II said in Egypt after fighting between Christians and Muslims led to bloodshed in 2000 that “To do harm, to promote violence and conﬂict in the name of religion, is a terrible contradiction and a great offense against God. But past and present history gives us many examples of such misuse of religion.”The history is fraught with such examples.From the thirty years war between Catholics and Protestants in the seventeenth century church which killed almost one-fourth of the Europeans, to the recent conflicts in Israel where extremist Israelis claim the lands of Gaza and the West Bank to be the part of Biblical Israel. Consequently, these hypocritical actions have failed the religion to live up to its ideals.
People are promoting extremism in the name of Religion causes which causes violence in the world.
Similarly, rigidity and condescending feelings in religion fosters hatred. Followers of a particular faith consider their teachings as superior to others. Especially the rights of the minorities are not respected. Modi’s cow politics substantiates it. Therefore, the feeling of animosity among people hampers the building of cordial relations.
Modernists view Religion as superstitious and misguiding and hence have become more prone to immoral activities
Superstitious and irrational thinking is another harmful factor indirectly caused by religion. The people blindly follow bigots without searching the reason behind their call. For example polio vaccinations are being avoided in the North-western parts of Pakistan, because of the propaganda that it is western plot to make Muslims boys sterile. Also they claim it to be against the religion. Trusting such unreasonable people in the name of religion impedes global fight against Polio.
How it can be mitigated:
These negative impacts are mainly result of wrong interpretation of religious teachings and blind following. For example during the slavery days, people believed that Christianity supported slave trade. But this delusion was negated by William Wilberforce as wrong interpretation of Bible.Similarly, the evil of extremism in today’s era can be exterminated by effective measures. Western powers efforts to mitigate it through offensive attacks have proved futile. Instead it has fueled anger and hatred among young Muslims who are proving easy recruits for the extremists. Contrary to these measures, the root causes of the problem must be targeted. Rational thinking and research in the matters of religion should be promoted. Ultimately, the religion’s true philosophy would be understood.
To sum up, the impact of religion varies from harmful to helpful depending upon the understanding of its principles. The benign aspect of charity practiced by the people of faith is just one of the many blessings of the religion. Hence if the harmful impacts of religion are overcome by corrective efforts, the world would become a center of amity. Certainly, peace and harmony is the message of every faith.
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