Do humans have a “religious instinct”?
Religion is a system and process that helps people form communities based on common interests. Religions consist of all kinds of philosophies and principles that set a certain standard of living within their sect. According to some religions, followers or practitioners must adhere to strict codes of conduct, belief or practice in order to belong to the specific religion. On the other hand, there are also religions that offer members of their community the choice of free will and freedom of choice. In this way we are able to witness the different types of religions where faith is restrictive and somewhere belief is allowed to be a liberating experience allowing people to find the truth based on their free will.
The origin of religion
We are unable to establish a precise chronology of the history and origin of the religion. No one can say for sure when exactly the religion was born. Every religion, be it Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Zorastrianism or any other sect, has its own history and history. Depending on the religion you belong to, since this is a faith-based practice, you will follow the script, story, and principles accordingly. Each religion has a unique past which community members, practitioners and devotees follow and shape their lives based on this knowledge.
Is religion an instinct?
It is impossible to determine with certainty whether religion is based on human instinct or whether it is a manufactured practice. For example, in a family where the father practices a certain religion and believes in it has a son or daughter, they will also be indoctrinated into that religious community. Upon birth, the child of the family will automatically become a member of the religious community to which the household belongs and will learn all the rituals, practices and other religious processes associated with that religion. When parents visit the place of worship whether it is temple, mosque, church or gurudwar etc. they also take the child with them and it will become a usual practice for next of kin. It is natural for the brain to absorb information about religious practices from an early age and it becomes almost instinctive.
Exploration and discovery
Although we do not question religious beliefs or ritual practices during childhood, this changes as we age and become more independent with our thinking. As he nears his teens and teen years, he enters the world and begins to question many of their beliefs and practices. This spirit of inquiry will lead them down the path of truth depending on the journey they choose to follow. Despite being religious in one’s youth, one can change one’s religious views and become an atheist as they grow up. Or it could even be that someone who does not believe in religion or God can change their mind and become theist by experiencing miracles in the life or grace of divinity.
Atheism versus theism
When someone who believes in God changes their mind and becomes an atheist, it is entirely their choice. Likewise, a person who transitions from an atheist to a religious or spiritual person also does so because of their own personal journey of exploration and discovery towards truth. It is not for us to debate the right and wrong of a personal connection to God, religion or spirituality. Everyone can choose to follow or no longer follow the religion based on their own views, opinions and express themselves in any way they see fit. Even this form of self-expression is nothing but a part of the process of finding the truth of the universe. We all have the right to live this life in the way we think is best for us.
science and religion
Scientists, research experts and intellectuals in the scientific community are constantly searching for the true meaning of so many unknown mysteries of the universe. Whether there is a God or any other superpower that guides us in life after creating us is something that is always questioned and probed. When it comes to science, we are constantly updated with groundbreaking scientific theories and discoveries such as dark matter, god particles, and other learnings like neuroplasticity, time dilation, etc. We are continually searching for answers to questions, consciously or unconsciously, and science continues to come up with theories that lead us to intriguing topics of discussion.
Religion and science must exist side by side for humans to evolve with their brains and also with their emotions. Without science, we would become unconditional servants of any faith or belief with which we might not fully resonate. Through this process of inquiry, not only do we make life more interesting by looking for meaning or legitimate facts behind certain practices, but we can also enrich ourselves. It is only through the process of questioning oneself and one’s own beliefs that we can have conviction in all that we practice.
According to the tradition and knowledge of the Himalayas, we are able to perfect both the brain and the heart. Simply sharpening the tools of the intellect without the authenticity of the emotions is sterile and one-sided. There must be a good balance between the brain and the heart which is the science of emotion. To demonstrate this point, you can take the example of a woman giving birth to a child. Although the biological process of birth can be explained, it is still a wondrous mystery that we as humans did not create. We have been given this precious ability to give birth to new life and also the unconditional love that a mother has for the child cannot be quantified even by the most advanced technology present in the universe. Thus, the universe is filled with so many magical phenomena that remain shrouded in mystery, leaving us with wonder and also a sense of inquiry. This is what will help us find the path to light and enjoy a meaningful and fulfilling life.