Individualism and Religion
Individualism And The Decline Of Religions
Religion, one of the most important concepts of the pre-Darwin era. There are thousands of religion in our modern world, which are still practiced. And even more of which have been buried down in the sand of history with their respective practitioners. All religions have their different rituals and customs. But there are some striking similarities among them. Somehow despite living, thousands of miles apart people have managed to come up with Gods with similarities!
Well at first glance it may seem surprising or even the evidence of supernatural but it is not very hard to find reasons for these. These God or Gods are the answer to the unknown with which at that time the human brain could not simply reason with. By nature, the human is a rational animal. So when they came across something which they can not define or could not find the reason for that occurrence then they could not simply conclude that it came from nothing! That conclusion would make their primitive mind restless. So they found reasons and concluded that there are much much higher entities than themselves who are responsible for that unexplained phenomena. That gave them comfort and that is why they invented Gods to fulfill their needs. And since in the broad picture all humans had to struggle for almost same things (roughly food, shelter, sex, existence) in all regions of the world they came up with Gods who have similarities and also some common spiritual and religious practices.
Among these common religious practices, one is very common and that is the sense of community or group. “God is for everyone”, this idea can be seen in all religions. Even praying in a group or with the community is encouraged in all of these religions. But why? Because religion serves a purpose for people, as a hope and at those time when they had to live day to day life in very harsh conditions and warlike environment, they realized that they have no hope individually! If they wanted to survive they had to live in a group, clan, community etc. So that is why all the religion had come up with the idea of brotherhood and community living. Religion has served as a beacon of hope for thousands of years if not more. It was a compulsory matter in everyday life of people. But recently we can see that it is no more a compulsory matter in our lives rather it is less than an optional matter! We do not like to go to the Church on Sunday, we do not say any prayer except Jummah(Muslim prayer on Fridays) so on so forth. And what is more interesting is that younger generations seem less and less religious than the previous one. It is lucid that religions are in decline! But why?
Religion In Our Modern Life
Well, there is no “one and only reason” for this. Many factors are playing their roles here but all are kind of directing towards one direction and that seems like, “We do not need religion anymore!!!”. Even if you are not an atheist and you can not directly rebel against God yet it seems like you do not care much about your religion. Are becoming careless about religion. Why? Because we are observing an era which can be called as an era of “Individualism”. We really do not need each other anymore. We can easily live on our own. There is no necessity of living in a community anymore. By the bless of modern science, our day to day life is self-sufficient. We can by our food from a departmental store we do not really need to go to the local gathering market for this. That can be said for every other useful thing of our life. Since our materialistic approach can now provide us with all we need there seems to be no need for God anymore. We can get our foods, clothes, medicines, education, sex etc without praying to God!
So now at this stage, it seems like God is a distant memory. Which served us well in the past but not necessary anymore. And since religions revolve around God, they are also becoming an unnecessary part of our life. This is the most important reason why religions are on a decline. But is it good or bad for us?
Well, only time can tell the exact truth about this. But we can analyze this situation with our knowledge. Some would tell that religion is absolutely necessary for sustaining our morality and others would argue that we have our consciences are enough to keep us on the moral path. Both have some truth in their claim. The truth in favor of religion is that some people do not seem to have consciences. They would do whatever they like without religion. Only the fear of God keeps them from doing immoral things. But then even when there is a religion it does not stop these people from doing these bad things. For the non-religious part, indeed morality comes from within. If a person is good then he/she will be good, does not matter he/she is religious or not. So seems like this argument will never end.
If we apply Hegelian Dialectics in this situation, we can tell that we are actually in a transition period from a very religious era to a very non-religious one. After that, we will find the era suitable for us in the third step.
Actually, it is really hard to tell if this decline of religion is good or bad for us. We must see where it leads us. But one thing is for sure that the reason for this declining is the rising of individualism. Our rational minds now know that we can describe a situation with science without the help of any supernatural or God. So since the mind is satisfied and we do not need to live in a community, we are declining our religions. This is not the single reason, but this is the biggest one. In primitive times our rational mind had created religions now since we have got better rational explanations and way of life this same mind is declining it. That is the irony of all these!
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© 2018 Mahi Hossain