By Iman Vernon Fareed
It is not an exaggeration nor a fabrication to say that most people claiming a particular religion have very little knowledge of it. The choice of religion for most individuals is not predicated upon research, study and then selection; rather it is predicated upon other factors. Among the reasons people choose a specific religion is that, “it’s the religion of the parents or someone whom they admired.”
Additionally people embrace a particular religion or religious belief because they are fearful that not accepting it would be tantamount to them being doomed to hell and “not going to heaven.” Fear and lack of knowledge are the motivating factors that causes individuals to gravitate to a religious persuasion in this instance.
There are instances when a certain religion becomes the current fad of the day, and people will embrace it in large numbers simply because it is the “in thing to do.” It is my belief that this trend is particularly true in reference to our younger generation. These movements are usually brief and fleeting, because they are not based in sincerity. To be truly grounded in religion there has to be sincerity of purpose and purity of intent. Admittedly, sometimes there are superficial circumstances that attract people to a faith tradition, then later the superficial element dissipates and they find a home in that faith.
A place to have the needs of individuals met has always been a compelling reason for people to attach themselves to a particular religious community. The poor and needy person may identify with a religion because the people of that religion came to his or her aid and fulfilled their social needs.
Depression, stress and isolation rules the lives of so many people today, and it’s natural to look for a place where one can obtain some relief, and religion is one of the sources to which they turn. Religion should have concepts within it to address the problems that people experience in their lives. If we don’t have knowledge of our religion then we have no idea whether it is capable of addressing our problems, and in fact some faith traditions may increase one’s stress if it is void of your needs. Confusing concepts about God, man and the environment can place a huge burden on the intellect and cause more stress on the individual than they had prior to accepting faith. This of course depends on how your faith is constituted and whether it has the concepts within it that are clear and comprehensive.
Religion cannot offer fulfillment to people if it does not satisfy the needs of the soul, and the soul cannot be satisfied if it doesn’t achieve peace. Religion has to address more than the superficial things in life in order to have peace in the soul. Too many people have emotional attachments to religion rather connections based upon faith and knowledge! It has to be both faith and knowledge because there are times when you don’t know, and you have to allow yourself to be led by your belief. It is however extremely important that people seek to get grounded in the knowledge of religion, and move away from an emotional relationship with it. This appeal cuts across religious boundaries and opens itself up to all people of faith. Take time to research and study the faith that you have embraced – don’t just be a person that comes and goes to your place worship! You should know what you believe in, otherwise how do you know what (it is) that you believe in!