Since the beginning of time, people always had a connection with religion. When asked, there are a few reasons that some philosophers give for why people believe in God.
- People believe in God because they are ignorant
Historically, people did not know how natural phenomena occurred. For example, the mechanism by which the sun rises or what events transpire when rain falls. So, human beings believed that something supernatural caused these phenomena.
The false assumption here is that as human beings become more educated, less people will become religious.
- Human beings believe in God out of fear
Society has, throughout the centuries, faced disease, war, and natural disasters. These events were outside of humanity’s control, therefore many people believed if they prayed to a supernatural being, these events would go away. Believing in a Higher Power gave the people a sense of hope.
The incorrect assumption inherent in this belief is if you have a society with advanced medicine and that understands the scientific underpinnings of nature, then religious adherence would regress in that society.
- Religion is a tool to control the masses
Karl Marx famously said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Some say that people use religion to organize societies to create a strong form of governance. The idea is that religion is used by the state to ensure order, and to get people to follow the law without an overly aggressive police state.
Again, the false assumption here is that once you have good governance in a society, then the need of religion will slowly fade away.
However, when all these conditions are met, i.e. educated societies that have advanced medicine, and good governance, paradoxically it is found that people still tend to believe in a religion.
A Pew Research Center studied religion among US adults in the year of 2007 and 2014. They found that the people who believed in God had declined but by only 3 percent; 92 percent in 2007 to 89 percent in 2014. From this data, we can see that religion is still prominent in society.
So why do people continue to believe in God?
People do not follow religion because of fear, ignorance, or to be governed. They follow religion because it is something natural (fit’ra) to them. Seeing the world with God is natural to them. Seeing the world without God is unnatural to them.
Society has advanced greatly, but there is still a tremendous need and desire for religion. As our world continues to develop, religion will always be important in our lives for it talks to our fit’ra (nature).