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Religion: Who Needs It? Essay, Research Paper

Why is it that humans are constantly looking elsewhere for what they are able to provide themselves? People with washers and dryers send their clothes to be cleaned. Owners of houses stocked full of food can be found at McDonald’s. Billions of people can be found each week inside churches.

Wait…the cleaners,McDonald’s and churches? Yep.

People are constantly trying to make their lives easier. Darwin theorized that this was part of “Survival of the Fittest.” That the easier we make our lives, the more like we are to survive. Religion is one more way, along with self-starting coffee pots, that we have developed to make our lives easier and ultimately more bearable. Assuming that there is some “master plan” that we can’t see makes. Religion is simply a self-made, self-serving idea.

Humans are the only animals on the planet capable of keeping track of time. Because of this, we pompously assume that only the most valuable of projects are worth our time. We sometimes say, “That was a total waste of my time.” What if our entire lives were a waste? What if there was nothing after this life to greet us? The idea that lives are giant wastes would obviously make same people rather annoyed. With religion in our life we are content in the belief that we are constantly working toward something. There is a reason for all the pain, heartache and suffering.

Another way that religion is self-serving is through the way that it shuns responsibility. By way of religion we are able to place our “eternal happiness” on someone elses shoulders. Although it is our responsibility to live the kind of life that we think God would want us to live, it is ultimately his decision wether we succeed or fail. Because of this I really appreciate the Buddhist way of thinking. Buddhist teach that you are to look inside yourself to find the inspiration and good to reach the ultimate goal, known as enlightenment. Through this it is no one’s responsibility but your own if you aren’t happy or successful. It isn’t that God has or hasn’t blessed you, it’s that the answer lies within yourself and you just haven’t found it yet.

The last way that religion is self serving and foolish is in another way that we make oursleves happier and more content. Through self-induced propaganda we believe that regardless of our situation in life, someone is watching us, and taking care of us. Of course when we are doing something scary or risky it is nice to know that someone is taking care of you. The fact that if you get hurt, the paramedics are only a call away, or that the doctors in the emergency room can fix almost anything, is a comforting thought. The problem with it is that it is insipid to think that someone is actually watching our every step to make sure that we are okay. In religion we are often taught that regardless of the situation it is sent by God. If you win the lottery, God bless you with it. If you have a terminal illness, it is a blessing from God that he sent you a trial. No matter what happens in life, God sent it. Just once I would like to hear someone say, “Oh man, God really hosed me on this one.” I want to see no understanding when you are told that your mother has cancer. I want to see no understanding when told that your brother has died in a car accident, not thankfullness that God blessed you with such a trail. Come on, you got the shaft, not a gift.

In reality, I don’t think that there is a problem with religion. If I had a problem with every comfort device in this world, I would be writing scathing letters to companies making baby blankets and pacifiers. The reason I don’t spend time writing these companies is because they don’t take themselves as seriously as the religions of the world. Once again, Buddhism has a wonderful alternative to the mindless self-serving option of religion: Forsaking idle thoughts, focusing on concentration. If we could forsake the idle thoughts that are religion, and study ourselves, we would find whatever answer to whatever question we have. If you find that the answer isn’t in you, then it’s your problem. It’s not a curse or blessing from God, you just don’t have the answer.


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