Grace Jordan, Campus Carrier arts & living editor
Spirituality can be defined as the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Since the creation of the world, humans have relied on belief systems to make sense of the world around them. The Romans believed in gods, the pagans in witches, Christians in God. Eras have been defined by the spirituality of that time and men have gone to war for their beliefs.
There is a lot of contention today surrounding religion and spirituality. On one side people think religion is a cop-out and entirely worthless, while others believe their religion is truth and will go to the ends of the earth for it. At the end of the day, religion might be nonsense, spirituality might be hokey, atheism might be bunk, but is that really the point of a belief? To be correct?
Most people you ask will say yes. One believes in religion because it is the right way to think, because there is no other truth. But, if there are so many beliefs, so many spiritual paths one can take, some of them have to be false.
Religion and spirituality are about trying to find the deeper meaning to life, to explain away the world, to believe in something, even if it is one’s self. Doesn’t everyone do that? Even if an individual believes there is no meaning to life, is that not still a belief? I’m not saying this is a universal truth, but everyone I have met who is atheist finds comfort in the belief that life has no inherent meaning. And that is what religion and spirituality are all about. Comfort. Meaning. Hope.
People need something to believe in. Our world and our society put so much emphasis on being right, and looks down on people who do not align with the “truth.” It doesn’t matter the truth behind religion; it matters the comfort it gives people. Let people believe in whatever god or gods they want.
I want to make it clear: I’m not advocating for people who use their religion to spew hate. I do not support those who hide behind their religion and I am not blind to the fact that particular belief systems have hurt people. However, that is not who I’m talking about. Once people start using their religion to excuse their bad behavior, they don’t deserve respect or acceptance. Yet, if someone’s beliefs give their life meaning and don’t hurt anyone, they should be left to believe what they want.
The goal of religion in a cosmic sense is to find meaning in life and to find peace and comfort, not to be correct. Humans innately want to have purpose and religion, spirituality and atheism all have the potential to give us that purpose. And we shouldn’t be judged or punished for it.