What Is the Purpose of Believing In God?

Rebecca Scarlett By Rebecca Scarlett, 15th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

A brief discussion on the various reaons people might have to believe in God.

Why Do So Many People Believe in God?

For many people, the idea of questioning the purpose of believing in God is like questioning the purpose of believing in trees. For them, it is a meaningless question because there is no purpose to believing in something that is obviously there, one simply believes in it because it exists.

The people who question, not their own individual belief in God, but the purpose behind believing in God, are usually those who study the human condition in one capacity or another, such as anthropologists or philosophers. For such people, a concept that is such a strong prescence in so many lives must have a "purpose;" the belief must accomplish something, either for the individual or the survival of the species, in order to be so ubiquitous.

One theory is that belief in God must somehow improve an individual's chances of surviving and successfully reproducing, which would cause belief to flourish in a Darwinian way. Since studies have shown that optomistic people tend to live longer and suffer less from stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, strokes, ulcers, cancer, and the like, so perhaps the hope and optimism felt by many who believe in God helps them to be physically healthier. In this example, the purpose of believing in God would be a longer healthier life, even if those who believe don't even realize that that their belief is protecting them from stress-related illnesses.

Another theory is that believing in God is simply comforting. Life is hard. There are very few people who can survive, with their sanity intact, without supportive contact from other people. Perhaps many people require the comfort of a friend who will always be with them. God is a friend who cannot die, has enough power to help you rather than just sympathize with you, and is omniscient, so he is never too busy to hear your problems. Depending on the belief system involved, God is a friend who doesn't ask to much of you in return, compared to all that He gives you. It is easy to see how many people would love and cherish such a friend, or the belief in such a friend. Who, after being raised to believe that this friend is there, would want to abandon that belief later in life? It would feel like having a best friend die. In this example, the purpose of believing in God would be the constant comfort of knowing you are never alone. Many people who struggle with their faith due to things like contradictions in scripture, or religious rules that they feel violate certain human rights, struggle because the thought of living without God is too frightening, too bleak and desolate.

There are likely as many theories about the purpose of believing in God as there are gods, goddesses, and religious factions among the people on this planet. In fact, it is likely that there is no one answer. One person's purpose for believing in God may be different from another's. In the end, the purpose of believing in God may not be the important question.

Tags

Belief, God, Purpose Of Belief, Purpose Of God, Purpose Of Religion, Religion

Meet the author

author avatar Rebecca Scarlett
Rebecca Scarlett is a professional freelance writer with over 14 years of experience. She writes articles, essays, blogs, short stories, plays, poetry, songs, novels, and does copy editing. She has been published in print and extensively online. Scar...(more)

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Comments

author avatar Jack Vorster
25th Feb 2011 (#)

It is not so much a question of what the purpose is of believing in God - but more a matter of what God's purpose is for us.

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