Religion is Inconsequential

Sam - Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Entered on November 16, 2009
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The idea of nothing is scary. Human beings seem to be naturally unable to comprehend the concept of sheer nothingness. When we truly try to think about it, we are confronted with an inner feeling of emptiness and futility. In an attempt to sooth this fear, many people turn to religion. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, and religion can be a great tool to do great good in this world, I have found that religion often causes more harm than good.

I attended a Mennonite school for two years when I was a teenager. One of the things that I found most interesting about the Mennonites was the emphasis they placed on mission work. The thing I found most fascinating about it was that they were specifically instructed not to talk about religion. They were there to help people, not convert them. This is a concept that has stuck with me for many years now, and led me to realize that religion doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Religion by definition is an indoctrination of a way of life, of an idea of how and why things work. The unfortunate thing about that is that whenever something becomes indoctrinated, it is logical to conclude that everything else on that subject is wrong. When it comes to creation and death and many of the other things various religions attempt to explain, there is in fact no way to know a definite answer. We will never know what happens after we die, or how the lives we lead now will affect another to come. Each religion has equal claim to being right, but who’s to say who really is? As Bob Dylan once said, “half of the people can be part right all of the time, some of the people can be all right part of the time, but all of the people can’t be all right all of the time.”

In a world that is filled with destruction and despair, does it matter if we face Mecca three times a day in prayer, or go to Church every Sunday, only to walk away bitter towards other people and their cultures? Why not spend our lives being as good and helpful as we can? A lot of good could be achieved in this world by simply recognizing that nobody has any real answers. People should work towards making the world around them better for everybody, no matter their culture or creed.

Religion has been used for millennia to calm our fear of nothing, and I don’t think that people should just abandon them. What we should do is worry less about trying to appease our respective gods and spend more time trying to do real good in this world. Acknowledging others’ beliefs as legitimate is just the first step. I believe that we should all look past our religious differences and into our deep riding humanity that connects us all.