What is the purpose of religion?

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What is the purpose of religion?

Post by 2bizE » Fri Apr 05, 2024 6:37 am

It seems to me the purpose of religion is two fold.
1) when religions first started, millennia ago, they tried to explain the origin of man. Where man came from, why we are here, etc. There wasn’t much science so nobody really knew.
2) Death- people fear death and the unknown. Religions usually try to ease us into believe death is not the end, so we are more comfortable in our minds thinking of death. Hence the resurrection, spirit world, reincarnation….

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Re: What is the purpose of religion?

Post by Ghost » Fri Apr 05, 2024 7:18 am

I'd also add
3) Community.

and maybe
2b) The idea that wrongs will eventually be made right somehow, there's a reason for suffering, and there will ultimately be the justice that's missing in life.
2c) The idea that there's a powerful being who knows and cares for you. You're not just a random collection of atoms that's utterly alone in an indifferent universe.

I still suspect that societies need religion in the long term despite its problems, for enough people to have a sense of purpose to get things done that benefit everyone.

Oh, and a couple more that sometimes apply but not always:
4) Making money.
5) Controlling people.

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Re: What is the purpose of religion?

Post by wtfluff » Fri Apr 05, 2024 9:56 am

To me the "nice" purpose for the "Common Good" would be similar to previous answers:

The purpose of religion is:
  • To answer the un-answerable questions
  • Give people "meaning"
  • Community/Tribe

My cynical answers:
The purpose of religion is to sell people useless cures to made up maladies. The cures don't work, and yes the maladies are fake.

The purpose of religion is to bring the leader/inventor sex, power and money.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

IDKSAF -RubinHighlander

You can surrender without a prayer...

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Re: What is the purpose of religion?

Post by Hagoth » Sat Apr 06, 2024 1:22 pm

People had dreams that made them feel like they had been transported to another world. They often saw their dead loved ones there. They ate plants that made them see fantastic otherworldly vistas and entities. Religion helped flesh out the idea that there really is and invisible world, and helped to explain where their loved ones went when they died.

They experienced wind, lightning, thunder, ocean surge, floods, seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, lunar phases, planets moving against the background of fixed stars. They started creating stories that explained those things first as conscious forces and then as the handiwork of subternatural beings.

They started doing things that they thought would align the actions of those beings to their needs. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. It was much easier to be impressed by the times it seemed to work. To explain why it didn't work the other half of the times, they imagined another class of supernatural beings that were trying to thwart them.

The longed to unite themselves with supernature and yearned of a better live without the unpleasantness of the real world, so they began to create ceremonies and rituals to transform profane things into sacred things, and to help guarantee their eventual place in that unseen world. They discovered that they could create altered states by dancing, singing, chanting, drumming, and eating more of those plants, and that made them feel like they were getting it right.

Every group had individuals who seemed to have special talents for making connections with the other side. Eventually someone figured out that if he claimed unique access to The Mystery he could manipulate others into giving everything he wanted.

And it's been mostly downhill since then.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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