a particular system of faith and worship.
a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.
Some scholars theorize that religion was created by women. When men were out hunting and gathering the women were developing ways of communication and social cooperation. Religion was an incredible tool for motivating cooperation amongst tribe members.
Once men realized the power that religion possessed, they promptly seized control of it. The power I’m alluding to is the power to get millions of people working towards a common goal. Before religion, getting a group of humans larger than 50 to work cooperatively was near impossible. Once religion was created it gave humans the power to unite in massive groups under a common myth or story. The capacity of humanity exploded to near limitless possibilities. All of a sudden; cities, empires, and modern society are realities to be created.
Whether you are a religious fanatic, a devout atheist who despises religion, or someone in between, you know how powerful religion is. We all do. Religion is quite possibly the most powerful tool humans have ever created. And there is nothing inherently good or bad about a tool. The effect relies solely on how it is used. We all have the capacity to use this incredibly powerful tool to influence our lives. But should we?
We have seen in our lives the destructive effects that religion can have. It can strip us of our individuality, instill us with fear, and force us to surrender all faith in ourselves in exchange for a faith in someone or something external.
We have come to recognize religion as only that which is practiced by millions of people. But the original religions were created and practiced by small tribes of individuals, and never had the missionary’s objective of spreading the ideology to all of humanity. It served them and their community, that's all it ever was created to do.
In order to be a part of a major religion we must adopt ideas and beliefs that do not necessarily align with our life. We do this because it is comforting to believe in something that millions of others also believe in. And because the core principles of these religions often do align with our beliefs. We simply accept the fact that we must take the good with the bad, so to speak.
But this is not the only option. We also have the potential to create our own religion from our own personal experiences in life. In creating a religion from within we can not rely on externalities to validate our beliefs. The faith we must cultivate is not in a person, a scripture, or a church, it is in one’s self. It takes immense courage to forgo major religion and jump into the realm of “not knowing.” So that we can rebuild our worldview from the ground up.
But my experience has shown me that the only way a religion will truly serve an individual, is if it is created by that individual.
Listen to the podcast episode here