What Do You Think?

There was a phrase yesterday in English class that I want to discuss here. I encourage all who take a look at my blog to add their opinion.

“Religion makes people want to live.”

Think about it, and then respond. I look forward to reading what you all have to say!

8 thoughts on “What Do You Think?

  1. This question depends on your definition of religion.

    Now if you had instead put the phrase “Faith makes people want to live,” then I would answer unconditionally with YES!

    However, there are several aspects to the definition of religion.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion

    There are two major parts to the definition at dictionary.com. First, the set of beliefs a person holds. Second, the practice of those beliefs.

    If someone only practices the acts of a particular faith, then they are not going to necessarily want to live. An action does not make you pursue eternal life.

    However, faith in something, or Someone, greater than yourself gives you a sense that there is something beyond our understanding, something beyond our perception. It is that belief, that sens, in God that gives you a desire to live and strive for greater things in life.

    Adam

    • While it is true that having faith in something or Someone greater than yourself can provide motivation to live and strive for things greater than yourself, I don’t think that that is the abundant life Jesus was talking about. You’re right that the practice of a particular faith does not make you pursue eternal life, in fact eternal life can never be achieved by pursuit since it is solely a gift of God (Ephesians 2:9). Moreover, trusting in any pursuit toward eternal life, no matter what the underlying faith is, is outside of God’s will (e.g. Jesus parable of the Pharisee vs. the publican).

      The irony is that while we as Christians pursue eternal life, it is already ours by the free gift of God (Romans 6:23b). Our pursuit is not of eternal life but of growing holiness here on earth as we walk with our Savior.

  2. Most importantly I believe we need to define “religion”, as with any other word that is being used to make a statement. Religion is one of those words that a lot of people assume they know the definition of.

    I would like to pose this question: If religion, or faith, is a belief in something greater than yourself, wouldn’t that make you want to move on to the afterlife? Why would it make someone want to live — and by what definition is the word “live” being used?

      • There really wasn’t any context in English class. At the beginning of every session she types up a phrase or shows us something on the internet, and then we’re supposed to write our reaction to it. I found this particular phrase interesting due to the different definitions of religion.

  3. I’ve got a few rambling thoughts for you. But they’re good. Read on. 🙂

    I agree that the definition of the word “religion” is important, but I think its effect on whether a person wants to “live” is too complex for the general statement in your English class. I’m curious about the context of this comment. Perhaps the context defines the words “religion” and “live.”

    Once we get that answered, I see three questions: first, does a lifestyle of being religious make people want to live; second, can any religion itself make people want to live; and third, does “want to live” blandly mean being alive as opposed to being dead or does it mean the abundant life that Jesus promised?

    Regarding the statement itself, I don’t think it would be a very effective proselytizing tool for any religion because most people would say that they are already “living.”

    For the atheist, do they believe they have more life than those who are religious? My experience says “yes”. Ask any atheist if he thinks a religious person has more life than he does.

    Do pagan religions move pagans to really live? (By the way, there are many pagans running around even in our own culture) Or is there fear of offending their gods (Mother Earth, environmentalism, etc.)? This agrees with what Adam posted. Of course, being religious does not mean a particular religion is true.

    Then there are degrees of religiosity, which is true for any religion. For the nominally religious person, does religion move them to really live? Probably not – they are probably more concerned with having a good time while keeping their god appeased, which can’t be truly joyful.

    I would conclude that those who are already predisposed towards being religious have either of two thoughts. First, there is a sense of well-being as they contemplate their religious stance. By simple comparisons – which usually involve superficial judgments – anyone can believe they deserve favor from their god(s). Or second, there is perhaps a strong sense of inadequacy as they (correctly) see that their life falls short of the standards of their particular religion. It is the second group, I believe, that would be much more receptive to hearing about God’s grace toward sinners through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

    What distinguishes Christianity from all other religions is the historicity of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. As the Apostle Paul said, if the resurrection never happened, then we who trust in Christ’s death and resurrection are the most to be pitied. Therefore our religion is worthless. So, if a person knows that his religion is false, then being religious is really no comfort at all, therefore his religion would not provide motivation for him to live religiously.

  4. I am thinking back to my World Religions overview course that I took on the ship. I am reminded of Jainism, which is probably the most extreme of the ascetic religions. These guys feel that life (in every form) was the most important thing.

    The Jains take “do no harm” to an extreme level. They do not eat food, except for what they absolutely need to survive. They will hurt themselves in an effort to not harm a fly. They do not participate in social activities, because it brings self-centeredness into view.

    The Jains believe in reincarnation, but there is not really any sense of knowing what they might come back as. It ends up being an endless cycle of death and rebirth.

    I say all the above to make a point. These folks are on the razor’s edge of killing themselves, mostly through starvation. That is not a life (in my value) worth living.

    Their concept of what they need to do is so strong that they forego everything else in pursuit of their idea of doing no harm. It seems to me that these guys want to live, but their religious beliefs tend to get in the way of it.

    I know- this is an extreme example. I just don’t think that a set of rituals is going to make someone want to live. (See Ephesians reference above) Only a true faith is going to give you the hope of Something. Or Someone.

    I define religions as a set of rules. It is comprised of ceremony and physical actions.

    Faith, as we know, is another matter entirely.

    Adam

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