Religion and the Modern World

In the end, people can choose to believe in what they want to believe. People can choose to believe in religion or believe in science, and neither of them can fully understand what they believe.

—–Joelinus Jason Hidayat

Nowadays, people doubt the existence of religion and the relevance of religion in the modern era. Modern people argue that religion has shifted its purpose from bringing people to a better life in the opposite direction. They see religion can no longer provide solutions to social problems but it instead creates social troubles. Many behaviors from the religious perpetrators make people no longer consider religion a peaceful entity.

Abuse of power and injustice committed by religious leaders to their congregations, camping for religious people against the infidel, violence in the name of religion to oppose certain groups, or hostilities between religious communities to prove whose faith is right are among the many examples.  Because they feel religion cannot provide peace and comfort, people choose not to have religion rather than having to fall into disputes and discomfort. Therefore, modern people choose to renounce religious faith and prefer science as a substitute for religion for the betterment of human civilization. They assume science can be understood easily, unlike religion, and do not create unrest in the social environment.

Rapidly growing science is increasingly convincing people that the scientific phenomenon can now explain things that happened in the past that previously considered being God’s power. However, not all human needs can be satisfied by science alone. Modern people still need to believe in religion because religion provides more than an explanation of nature’s world or the world’s afterlife but also anything beyond it. Religion provides community and friends where everyone can be well received and treated like a brother/sister. Moreover, it is like glue that holds one’s identity together. For example, Muslims from various regions came to the holy land of Mecca and are well received by the people there and treated as families because they hold the same identity. This proves that the beauty of religion as providing community and holding identity that occurs in society is still closely interrelated.

Religion also provides psychological support that cannot be given from science. Religion gives mental strength and comfort to grieving people. For science, grieving is irrational, and people cannot dissolve in yearn. This is different in the view of religion; people can be sad, and religion will help them to get out of sadness and return to live a new life. In a desperate situation, people can rely on faith to give them hope in overcoming problems beyond their control. When people begin to lose direction and despair because of their failure, religions appear to provide motivation and support. Religion comes to calm fears of failure and invigorates the believer to keep moving.  Religion plays an essential role in emotional life that cannot be reached by science. For the most part, religion is an instrument to give mental peace, mental comfort, and mental satisfaction to the believer.

Religious practice is one of the ways to get mental peace and psychological support. However, many modern people cannot accept something they do not understand. Understanding religion is not like understanding science. It needs a different approach to understanding religion. Religion is learned in extraordinary ways. To understand religion, modern people need to believe it first. In fact, people often believe in something before they understand it, but they never realize it. For example, people know that the covid-19 outbreak is dangerous to human civilization. However, if they are required to explain in detail why the covid-19 virus can be life threatening and dangerous, it is likely they cannot answer clearly. They can believe that virus covid-19 is dangerous, but they do not know clearly, why this virus is dangerous. This is because they trust the scientist, doctor, or expert who said that.

Like religion, modern people can also believe in what they do not understand because they believe in someone else who understands. Believing in people who testify the truth of religion or religious leaders or religious authority will help modern people believe in religion without fully understanding it. Another thing is that life is too short; there are many things to know, and humans do not have much time to know everything. That is why humans have a limit, and sometimes they need a shortcut to understand something.

In the end, people can choose to believe in what they want to believe. People can choose to believe in religion or believe in science, and neither of them can fully understand what they believe. Agree to disagree seems to be a perfect phrase to respond to people’s different views toward belief. The most important thing is to understand each other and creating a peaceful environment.[MFR]