What is a Religion?
A system of human norms and values that is founded on a belief in a superhuman order.
The “superhuman” is often referred to as God in many religions and the “superhuman order” is referred to as rules of God that he/she also has to obey.
Today religion is often considered a source of discrimination, disagreement, and disunion. Yet in fact, religion has been the third great unifier of humankind, alongside money and empires. All of which are fundamentally based on human imagination.
There are two types of religion fundamentally:
- Local: These religions are the one which has no interest in spreading their beliefs and rituals to the entire human race
- Universal and missionary: whereas Universal and missionary religions like Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism tend to spread their beliefs all around the species.
Why do we need it?
We need it to maintain order in society and give people purpose in life, At least that was their first intention. It gave people a set of rules to operate on, Do this you’ll go to heaven, Do that you’ll burn in hell is the basis of much popular religion except Buddhism which I’ll discuss later.
Its fundamental job was to give people a connecting belief across the tribe. If you met someone that likes the same football team as you do, Or when you are traveling and find someone from your hometown you have an instant connection with them because you hold a similar belief.
The combination of superhuman order and a set of beliefs is religion
The Worship of Man
Religion can exist without god, you probably believe in one of the many out there because of the internet culture, In WW2 Nazis made their own religious belief that was based on Darwinian theory, they proposed that man are mutable, the mutation has already happened, and has divided humanity into many sub-humans. Jews, black being the lowest, and Aryans being the highest in their imaginary hierarchy system. The lower sub-humans must be separated from the purely rational Aryans.
If religion is a system of human norms and values that is founded on a belief in superhumanYuval Noah Harari
order, then Soviet communism was no less a religion than Islam.
Not believing in any religion or gods to be specific is the basis of Atheism. They believe in rational thinking. But are humans rational animals? They believe in objective truths and reality which science has proposed, But we are subjective animals, we need delusions and fiction to keep ourselves on track.
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche said the quote with sadness as he knew after the conflicting beliefs of science and religion a totalitarian system will arise to give people meaning in life, and as he predicted there was the rise of the soviet union in Russia and the Nazies in Germany.
Siddhartha Gautama was a prince in India, after seeing suffering everywhere he decided to leave his kingdom to find the meaning behind the suffering and knowing how to escape it.
The basis of Buddhism is very different from other religions.
Traditional religions: God exists what does he want from me
Buddhism: Suffering exists how do I escape it
Suffering comes from your attachments in the world and craves for momentary pleasures of life, “The enlighted one” which means buddha, do feel pain and other emotions but he has attained peace in that suffering.
There is a battle between “What am I experiencing now” Vs “What would I rather be experiencing”
“A person who does not crave cannot suffer.”Bhuddha
To describe suffering itself there is a beautiful quote by Slavoj Zizek
The suffering that characteries individual human life is so intense that even if god himself deans to undergo it, it will test his faith to the point where he will not believe his own existence.Slavoj Zizek
A belief system is necessary for any functional human being, whether it comes from religion or memes. Your belief guides your life and how you see the world altogether, So chose carefully. Your belief system tells more about you than what you believe in.
Your belief doesn’t have to be shared with anyone, your god doesn’t have to belong to any religious cult, Your belief should be stable and reliable when needed. Your god can be without gender, Your god can be something that you experience rather than describe, It should be within you and that’s all that matters.
A song that captures essence of god: Arziyan