People need to embrace religion |

People need to embrace religion

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A fascinating aspect of human beings is their propensity to embrace some form of religion.

I have tried to understand the driving force that attracts people to some sort of spiritual venture.

Back at the University I even took a class in Comparative Religion to help sort it all out.

First, it’s easy to understand those who reject all religion. There is the fear of being controlled. The accountability and consequences that all religions contain is a deterrent to those who want to set their own moral standards. It’s nice to say, “Well, you decide what your truth is and I’ll decide what my truth is.” It follows then that if truth is just something you decide then there is no real truth, so you are off the hook. Good luck with that one.

Another aspect is the power and control a religion can develop. A charismatic leader can take advantage of people’s need for security, belonging and identity to the extent that in extreme cases they commit suicide en masse.

One group has been buying land and establishing a work near Smith Center, Kan. Smith Center is the geographic center of the United States. This particular cult believes that they can physically control this country be creating a spiritual power at the geographical center.

Another driving force is a humans’ deep need for identity. Have you ever considered the whole concept of individual names for every human?

The name we are given says much about who we are and our ancestry. Our name is the first step in creating our personal identity.

Dogs don’t give each other names, but humans do. We personalize and humanize our animals by giving them names. Other identity steps are education, dress, vehicles, professions and even tattoos.

Religion then, becomes a huge resource for those who are striving for an identity. You can also join the Chamber of Commerce or the Lion’s Club, but they don’t meet that deep need that humans have to feel that they can be part of something foundational to all of creation.

Religion can also be a great resource for emotional, physical and even economic support. I’m tempted to call it a great stimulus package.

All humans are subjected to deep feelings of loneliness, frustration, discouragement, rejection, failure, anger, etc., etc. Religions then are places to go in an attempt to deal with and give meaning, understanding and justification for those emotions.

We need healing ourselves, in many areas, and we often find meaning for our lives by helping others heal.

As you think about all these aspects you begin to realize that humans have some deep sense that goes far beyond anything else in creation.

We also, almost universally, feel that there is more to our life than just this earthly existence.

We consider other planets, reincarnation, becoming gods, being absorbed into the great force or achieving some sort of paradise.

We are so captivated with the idea of hell that we use it as a curse for people we are angry with.

If there is a heaven and a hell, if there is an afterlife, then getting it right becomes the most critical thing we ever do. If there is eternity, then this life just becomes a blip on the screen.

I studied the Bhagvagita, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Catechism and many other religious texts. There are so many contradictions that they can’t all be right.

I realize that it’s sometimes overwhelming and confusing but the answer is not to just throw up your hands and say, “There is no God.”

The evidence for a higher power is far too great to risk that cop-out, and the stakes are far too high.

I have found that the Holy Bible meets the test and answers all my needs.

I challenge you to search for truth, real foundational truth.

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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