Religion is beneficial, that is, if understood correctly. Regardless of what skeptics may say, religion is a natural aspect of human existence.
Why does religion play such a large part in human thinking? Moreover, why are human beings so incurably religious? Thomas Edison, in an attempt to express his thoughts on the religious inclination of human beings is credited to have said, “Incurably religious, that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people.” Edison is accurate in his summation—human beings are incurably religious. Edison’s comment iterates the frustration of those who are disinterested in things that pertain to God—and those who attempt to persuade people from being religious. And yet, for those who are considered “incurably religious,” the condition is as intuitive as gaining language—it simply comes naturally. With all the talk of no evidence for proving the existence of God, how quickly is the religious inclination of human beings cast aside and disregarded as evidence for the existence of God.
And if humanity is by nature religious, why is this the case? Some argue it is due to religious education of children. In fact, the entirety of Edison's previous statement is as follows: "The great trouble [with people being so religious] is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age, and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them. Incurably religious – that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people.”
What Edison and others like him fail to understand is that human beings are religious because it is within them to be religious. Their view that people are religious due to religious training does not fully explain the matter. It is more accurate to believe people are born with an innate and natural disposition to believe in God, and that people, in turn, do things they believe please or appease the God in whom they believe. People are simply following what comes natural. Certainly religious training influences both adult and children’s thinking. But does not this training on the part of parents and society amplify the inclination of the human heart and thinking? Is not such an impetus to pass along to posterity the need to believe in God and participate in religion not a powerful proof and empirical evidence for humanity’s natural disposition? In fact, contrary to skeptics beliefs, successfully persuading a person to cease being religious or stop believing in God requires a great deal of training and influence.
Moreover, religion not only comes naturally to people, it comes naturally to all peoples. Stephen Glazier and Carol Ember, writing for the Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF), a research agency based at Yale University, summarizes the cultural aspect of humanity and religion, saying (italics added), “Regardless of the many societal differences in how religion is structured and practiced, religion has been identified in all studied cultures. Why religion is universal has been the subject of considerable scholarly discussion.” (taken from https://hraf.yale.edu/ehc/summaries/religion).
In other words, religion is universal! Every civilization, every culture, and people groups have religion, gods, beliefs, and natural spiritual appetites. The mere fact that all peoples, all societies, and all civilizations seek religion gives further evidence of the natural and intuitive inclination of individuals towards religion.
Coninute with me while we discuss why people are so religious.To next section Homepage