Religions Influence on the World

Religion has shaped our entire social system and had a major influence on civilization and the values that define it. Religion has shaped our political systems, our justice systems and practices, our architecture and music, and our minds. It is difficult to say when religion as an ideal first entered the human brain. Did the primitive brain of the earliest homo sapiens have the aptitude to conjure such thoughts of metaphysics or mysticism. They would have evolved just as any other mammal on this planet would- with the innate mental and physical capacities to survive with not much room for critical thinking.

Despite the difficult task of deciphering its general origin, the impact of religion is vast throughout the world, differing between and among countries, fabricating and influencing cultures to an irrevocable degree. It can be witnessed physically in our buildings, rituals, and actions and intangibly in our values and thoughts that provoke such actions.

Because religion has always been around, well before the foundations of our current societal structures were formed, it’s difficult to dichotomize which things have become accustom due to religion from things that would have become accustom whether religion existed or not.

Certainly there are seemingly obvious circumstances that appear to have occurred from a direct influence of religious values and beliefs. For instance the crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries where religiously driven military groups mostly of the Roman Empire waged war against people with differing religious views in an attempt to restore Christianity as the dominant religion. It is obvious that religion was used to persuade soldiers to fight, insisting pride and honor as well piety and nobility as justification for the cause. However, it can be debated whether religious-based wars such as the crusades would have occurred with or without the creation of religion. Could these wars not be the result of a primitive imperialistic disposition instilled in the human genome and that religion was just used the further pursue these actions. Nonetheless, the impact of religion- of certain shared beliefs and values- on the minds of the multitude is evident.

The semantics of the term religion is debatable in itself. Surely the argument can be made that everyone has there own religion, even if it differs from everyone else in the world. You do not have to believe in a higher power to be religious in my opinion, although some would say this is the most important constituent of religion. Essentially religion can viewed as a shared belief system among a group of people. So it is overtly apparent that these beliefs and values would shape the form society would take and the actions of the people within the given society. Each culture with its unique belief system has its own unique culture that can be seen in its architecture, in the massively domineering Gothic cathedrals with their tantalizing demonic gargoyles or the Christian churches of the western world with the distinct symbol of the cross soaring to the heavens. It can be seen in the political structures of numerous countries, in the theocracies of the middle-east or even in the democratically elected president of the United States and the importance the people but on the religious beliefs of the candidate as a determinate for voting. It can be seen the music of the organs in a Sunday mass or in the rhythmic syntax of the Hindu hymns.

One prominent and undeniable observation concerning religion is the dissension that it has created between groups of people.  It has incontrovertibly been a large factor in many of history’s wars, from the crusades of the Middle Ages to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.  One could argue that all wars are rooted in imperialistic ambitions.  However, religion and other cultural conditions have been used to provide additional warrant and propaganda for war escalation.  Religion has also resulted in dissension between individuals.  It has been shown that certain people are so pertinacious regarding their religious beliefs that they refuse to associate themselves with a person that has different beliefs.  They are not holding themselves to the truth, they are denying themselves of the truth.  It is absurd that a person would discriminate against others based solely on religious beliefs.  They are allowing their lives and relationships to be effected by something that holds no certainty.

Thus the impact can be viewed throughout the world spanning nations and cultures alike. It could be argued that many of the occurrences throughout history would have happened whether religion was created or not due to the fundamental aspects of the human species. But It could also be argued that religion was a by-product of the human species and its innate predilections and that its creation was inevitable. Regardless of whether things would have occurred in the manner they have with or without the creation of religion, it was destined to be created. It was inculcated in the nature of the human being to create a system of values that masks the human being for what it truly is while at the same time being a prominent part of its evolution. Humans will continue to evolve throughout time and religious beliefs will always be along for the ride whether they involve the belief in a supreme deity or not and its influence will always be readily apparent.