“God” can be a loaded term.
It can define how individuals live their lives, and it can encompass the innately divine purposes of our existence.
From Christianity to Islam to Hinduism, different religions have arisen because of mankind’s longing to understand God. In essence, different religions all attempt to define God and identify the true nature of reality.
But can one be religious without God, or are these concepts irreversibly connected?
In Ronald Dworkin’s book “Religion Without God,” published posthumously, Dworkin discusses whether God is “constitutive” of religion.
This discussion got me thinking: Is it philosophically possible to be devoted to a religion without a god?
Two semesters ago, I wrote a column for The State Press in which I agreed with those who believe one can be spiritual without being religious.
Spirituality is the internal attempt to discover the true nature of reality on one’s own. The concept of god, however, is uniquely different from spirituality.
It is not just a concept of a superhuman, transcendent being who governs reality, though that is how many people subconsciously define it, which is an example of how a stereotype has grown to define a concept.
The concept of god is instead inherently tied to what each individual values.
Values are key. Everyone ends up worshipping something. Even atheists, who so adamantly declare there is no god, devote their lives to serving some purpose. That purpose might be wealth, beauty, social justice or some other ideal they consider to be important.
Religion, then, is an avenue wherein individuals choose to channel their worship towards an established ideal — in this case, the god each specific religion defines. Our values become our god. This is universally true for people of all religions and even those without religion.
I, for example, worship the Christian God of the Bible, and as such I choose to live my life according to the values my god considers important.
Essentially, everyone is religious. Humans are religious creatures, whether they acknowledge it or not. Different forms of religions abound among us and we are often enticed into accepting them.
You cannot be religious without worshipping some god. Because you will have to live your life for something, I suggest you live your life for something greater than yourself.
You have your whole life to try and figure that out.
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