Religion and its uses
The mask of Uncertainty
I don’t think that the economic condition could have aligned any better to illustrate my point.
One of the most plaguing and debilitating things for humans is uncertainty. We have established routine thought patterns that consist of analyzing relevant information and then making a decision based on it. When a proper decision cannot be derived from examining an important circumstance we begin to feel pressure. This pressure, while not crippling, can cause feelings of angst and cause clutter in our minds as we find ourselves constantly looking for a plausible choice or a way out. For example think about the mismatch of information that exists in our current economic climate and how stressful people have become. The savings rate has dramatically increased to reflect this uncertainty as people are unwilling to invest and spend money because they simply don’t know what to do with what they are being told. Uncertainty has made people scared. Even simpler think about the stress that can be created from worrying about rather you left the house door unlocked or not. Instead of being confident that you locked the door you might check it twice in order to reduce uncertainty and thus its antagonizing feelings. In many ways like this our actions as humans reflect our attempts to combat uncertainty and its associates.
Now if we take my assertion that uncertainty can cause humans to be scared, and that humans act in order to reduce these stress causing feelings we have the catalyst for the creation of religion. Think about how religion can bring a purpose to everyday life for some of its subscribers. There is no reason to ponder about how you might be wasting your time or wonder if there is an afterlife. The Christian god loves you and don’t worry Jesus is ever present in the tiniest nooks and crannies of your life. Religion provides somewhat believable answers for how humans arrived on Earth, and where Earth came from. Religion gives you a moral guide and makes it easier to discern right from wrong, good from bad. Philosophy, a way of life, a guarantee of an afterlife, and so much more are brought to the table by religion. Imagine just simply praying and being forgiven for the evident faults of humanity and your personal mistakes. It is in this way that I believe that religion is a construct that was intended to dissipate feelings of angst and overall reduce the uncertainty that would exist without having clearly defined societal lines to follow. Religion is a mask for uncertainty on a psychological level.