TED Conversations

John Locke

This conversation is closed.

Religion and why we believe in it.

Religion - A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

My professor once said the religion was created to explain the unknown, the unknown being what happens when we die, is the earth flat, are we the center of the universe, why are we here, etc. But over the years, some of these answers have been answered by science.

My question is, do you think that, eventually, religion will be replaced with science? Will people try to answer every question scientifically or will religion stay the reason for these difficult questions?

Topics: question religion

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 21 2011: I agree with your professor to an extent. Yes, religion arose as a way to explain the world around us. However, I do not believe that that is the only purpose religion serves. I myself am atheist, but as an observer, here are the two things that I believe to be the main functions of religion beyond explanation of the world outside of ourselves:

    1) Self-actualization. Religion is often a way for people to reach their full potential as contributing human beings. Many religious factions have a very positive influence on their surrounding communities because they make an effort to do so by reaching out to those communities. This is an example of self-actualization as a group, and it also translates into self-actualization in individual members of that group.

    2) Support. In times of crisis, many religious people turn to their church (or mosque, synagogue, etc.) for help. By relying on their religious community, they can find meaning and comfort in whatever plight they face at that time.

    I'm sure there are many more functions, but those are the main two that I have seen. These are much more personal than simply an explanation for our world. Therefore, I believe that science will not replace religion. However, I do think it will change what it means to be religious, and that the religious community will evolve as a result of scientific advancement. Religion has been evolving for millennia due to scientific progress, and I think that it will continue to do so.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.