Why Religion?

With all the opportunities for action in the world, all the ways you can learn new things, and all the organizations you could join or work with, why bother with religion? A variety of answers can be given.

Some people say religion provides a framework of beliefs to help understand and structure the world. Scriptures as diverse as the Vedas and the Christian and Hebrew Bible describe how the world works, how it began, and how it will end. In oral traditions, stories serve much the same function. People find meaning through the way they fit into the structures their religion posits.

Others say that religion dictates rituals, rites and practices to structure and regulate society. Often, hierarchies are created, order is affirmed, and gods are kept happy.

Others suggest that religion offers values and rules to follow in order to live an ethical and moral life. From Buddhism’s Five Precepts to Islamic Shari’ah to the Christian Sermon on the Mount, standards have been set that call people to ethical living.

And some claim religion allows like-minded people to gather in community to support one another.

There’s something to each of these views. The bottom line, for me, is that religion helps us cope with life. It gives us strength and perspective when we’re struggling to go on. It helps us navigate life’s confusion. It challenges us to grow into a better person every day. It provides companions along the way.

As more and more people identify as “nones,” no religion, I wonder where they do turn for comfort, challenge, meaning and community. I hope they find someplace as rich as Unitarian Universalism has been for me.

In faith and freedom,

Jonalu

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