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Does Religion matter? What role does religion play in your life? Is it something that we can continue to ignore as a society?

Does religion give you values that make you a better Human? Can you have those values without religion? Are religion and spirituality relevant? Can one be spiritual without following a religion?

Sorry for all these questions, please do share your thoughts.

  • Jul 11 2013: Yes it matters. I recognize it as a powerful behavioral influencing force in many lives, but not mine. Powerful behavior influencing forces can't be ignored.

    People need personal philosophies about personal and social conduct. Successful personal philosophies usually include a means of converting the emotional and intellectual stress of real time life conditions to a mental process that leads to acceptance and inner peace. The process usually includes thought, reflection, action guidance an behavior change. Successful personal philosophies will also usually have a means of using time to lessen the intensity of the stress and provide hope that the darkness of the moment will eventually be replaced by the light of a future moment. Successful personal philosophies need to have a means of enabling an individual to accomplish the needs of social roles such as spouse, parent, friend, leader, and citizen during stressful times. Further, the philosophy should be adaptable enough to permit providing strength and comfort to those in need and accepting the help of others when the size or amount of challenges in life over-whelm an individual. This permits individuals to draw on group strength when needed.

    There are many religious philosophies that provide practitioners a faith based explanation for the randomness and cruelties of life and personal behavior guidance. Those with strong faith based religious beliefs seem to have an additional means to cope with the grief associated with these life events. These philosophies tend to have a logically sound historic doctrine that rationalizes and explains the tenets and beliefs of the philosophy. Typically, these tenets and beliefs are also interwoven with rules of good social order and behavior guidance that leads to peace.

    Not all personal philosophies are religious. Some seek answers, some do not need answers.

    Religions should be respected, but you can be reverent without being religious, seeking peace in your own way.
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      Aug 8 2013: "There are many religious philosophies that provide practitioners a faith based explanation for the randomness and cruelties of life ...."

      Yes, and then there are the many religious philosophies that contribute directly to the cruelties of life.
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    Jul 11 2013: .....
    I am a Christian; I guess that is what most folk would call 'religious''. For me however, it is merely getting to know Jesus Christ as my creator and friend. There aren't any rules a such, but an exhortation to love one another. I try and make His priorities my priorities, and live with one eye on eternity. My personal life is enhanced by my 'religion', and hopefully others will be benefited as well.
    Everyone has a worldview; some are described as religious, some aren't. Given that this is the way it is, we have to live with it. The best we can do is to be tolerant and loving towards our fellow man and share the planet in a peaceful manner.

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    Jul 10 2013: Ignoring religion is no more consequential than ignoring ballroom dancing. Both are human constructs with limitless range of content and composition. To neglect God is to invite very grave consequences. God is not essential to Religion and Religion has nothing to offer God. Spirituality is not the same thing as Religion.
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    Aug 8 2013: Let me try to answer in the same order of your questions in the title.
    Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
    I can jolly well.

    Morality gives me values to be a better human, one that can live with the least harm to others, if not the greatest benefit.
    Those values and the morality can follow from being reasonable, not religious.
    Spirituality is different from religion. It's a privately held position not a public submission to a dictate. So one can be spiritual without being religious.
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    Aug 8 2013: Certainly religion matters, because - as Robert said below - it is a powerful social force and therefore it can't be ignored. But a force for what? Historically, religions have occasionally done some good and have very often been unspeakably evil. Random's comment below is right on, I think, about the horrors that the major religions have visited upon the inhabitants of the Earth. Disagreements about gods have probably caused more agony than any other single factor.

    Values don't come from religion. Rather, religion with its teachings has been a way of formalizing and justifying the values and rules that rulers have wanted to inculcate into their subjects, to ensure useful behavior like obedience, placidity, and - when needed - righteous wrath. When you add the authority of a god (or better yet, "The God") to a command, that tends to make it more effective. When you penalize the non-compliant with eternal hellfire, that also gets the people's attention.

    There are hopeful signs in "the west" that the grip of religion on the minds of the people is slowly slipping. May the Middle East soon follow this example!
  • Jul 11 2013: It plays no role in my life.
    It did at one time, for a period of time.
    But, it is my direct experience with religions and people of religion,
    that has proven to me without a doubt, that the sole purpose of religion,
    is the utter annihilation of the human spirit.

    The natural propensity of most religions (at least Judaism, Christianity and Islam), is to Fascism and control. Believe this or else:
    We will torture you, slice you open and roll your intestines up on a spool while you watch
    and we smile all the while. Or we will imprison you, burn you, humiliate you, all in the name of
    God and conversion. The best way to do this, to gain total control, is to destroy the human spirit.

    In the Modern Era, it is, "believe this, do this, or else you will go to Hell."
    It is still condemnation, damnation, fear-mongering, threatening, shaming, witch-hunting, persecuting,
    prosecuting, incarcerating and even murdering.

    God meanwhile, seems to be silent, watchful, enabling and basically doing nothing about evil at all.
    Endorses it in fact.

    With all the imperfections throughout all of creation, it would make more sense that humans were
    created by other, more advanced intelligence, than by a God, who couldn't, wouldn't or didn't get it right.

    There certainly must be some greater intelligence at work simply by looking at the complexities and how they all work together, but they are not the work of some perfect Being or God!
    And the best intelligence we have, working together, cannot figure it out.
    If it was just mechanical, chemical and so on, they should be able to figure it out but it is too intelligent for them to discover and answer the most important questions of mankind for all time.
    So, to me, it must be more intelligent than our best intelligence.
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    Jul 11 2013: I'm someone that would be called religious; but I dont consider myself as religious. I consider myself as being in a relationship with Jesus Christ by his Holy Spirit. By this constant fellowship my life has been transformed. I have been a better human being, a better actor, a better writer, a better director, a better film producer. My family testify to this.

    I think those who live in the awareness of their purpose, their maker, and humanity, become better human beings.