Religious faith and its spiritual, mental and social consequences (1)

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1. Necessity of the existence of faith and ideal in life
Without having an ideal and faith man cannot pass a healthy life nor can he render a fruitful service to humanity and human culture. A man not having an ideal and faith will either be submerged in self- seeking or will be converted into a lifeless robot groping in darkness and not knowing his duty in respect of the moral and social question of life. He will perforce show queer reaction to such questions. A man who adheres to a school, an ideology or faith, knows responsibility clearly. But a man whose responsibility is not made clear by a school or a system, will pass his life in bewilderment and will sometimes be drawn to this direction and sometimes to that. He will become an incongruous being. In fact there cannot be two opinions about the necessity of being attached to a definite school or an ideology.

It is important to note that it is religious faith alone that can covert a man into true believer and can suppress his selfishness and self-seeking under the impact of a doctrine and an ideology. Religious faith creates in the individual a sort of unqualified submission so that he can no longer entertain any doubt even about the most trivial doctrines of his school. He holds his school dear to his heart, regards his life without it as meaningless and absurd and supports his ideology with zeal and fervour.

B.Abelife in imparting sanctity to ideals
Religious tendencies impel man to make efforts even at the cost of his natural and individualistic feelings. He sometimes sacrifices his life and his social position for the sake of his faith.

This is possible only when the ideal of a man attains an aspect of sanctity and gains absolute control of his existence. It is religious force alone which imparts sanctity to an ideal and imposes its authority on man.

It is true that often people sacrifice their life, their property and all that is dear to them not for the sake of any ideal or religious faith but under the pressure of psychological complexes, malice, revenge or as a severe reaction to the feeling of being oppressed and suppressed. Such cases are common in every part of the world.

But there is a difference between a religious and a non- religious ideal. As the involvement of religious belief imparts sanctity to an ideal, sacrifices are made for the sake of it most voluntarily and naturally. A task performed voluntarily shows a sort of choice, but a task performed under the influence of complexes and perturbing inner pressures, means a sort of explosion. Evidently there is a vast difference between the two.

C. Differences between material and divine conception of the world in their way of seeing the world
Furthermore, should the world conception of a man be purely material and based exclusively on perceptible realities, he will find every kind of social and human idealism contrary to the perceptible realities of his relations with the world as felt by him on any particular occasion.

The American psychology and philosopher of the early 20th century, William James says: “The outcome of perceptional conception is only selfishness, not idealism. Idealization will not go beyond the limits of fantasy if it is not based on a world conception whose logical result is the ideal in question. Man should make a world of his own ideas, consisting of the realities existing within himself, and live with it happily. Anyhow, if idealism stems from a religious belief, it will be based on a conception of the world, the logical result of which will be the espousal of socials ideals. Religious faith is a sort of friendly relationship between man and the world, or in other words, a sort of harmony between man and universal ideals. In contrast, non-religious beliefs and ideals are a sort of breaking away from the external world and building an imaginary world which in no way find any support from the former.”

Religious belief not only prescribes for man a number of duties irrespective of his nature inclinations, but also completely changes his view about the world, in the structure of which he begins to discern new elements. The dry, cold, mechanical and material world is transformed into a living and conscious world. Religious belief changes man’s impression about the universe and the creation. William Jams says: “The world which the religious thinking presents to us is not only this very material world in a changed from but also includes many features of which a materialist cannot think.” (Psychoanalysis and Religion p.508).

D. Firm existence of adorable Tendencies in human life
Besides all this, every human being has an innate tendency to believe in truth and sacred and adorable realities. Man has many hidden capabilities ready to be fostered and promoted. All his inclinations are not material. He has spiritual tendencies also which are innate and not acquired. This is a fact which is supported by science.

William James has said: “Let any number of our motives and incentives have their source in this world, but as most of our desires and inclinations are not in keeping with any material calculations, it is evident that they spring from the metaphysical world.” (Psychoanalysis and Religion, p.508.( New York, 1929).

As spiritual inclinations do exist, they should be fostered and fostered well and carefully. Otherwise they are likely to deviate from the right course and cause irreparable loses.

Another psychologist, Erich Fromm says: “There is none who is not in need of a religion and does not want limits for his orientation and a subject for his pastime. A man himself may not distinguish between his religious and non-religious beliefs and may belief that he no religion. He may regard, his attachment to the apparently non-religious objectives, such as wealth, power or success as simply a sign of his interest in practical affairs and a pursuit of his own welfare. The question is not whether a man has or has not a religious. The question is what religious he has.” (Psychoanalysis and Religion, p.508).

What this psychologist means is that a man cannot live without hallowing and adoring something. If he does not acknowledge and worship only Allah, he is bound to recognize something else as a supreme reality and to make it the object of his faith and worship.

E. “Faith” in the Quran sight
As man is in need of an ideal and a faith and by his instinct seeks something which he may hallow and adore, the only way open to us to augment our religious faith, which is the only faith which can really bring man under its sway.

The Holy Qur’an is the first Book which has described religious faith as a sort of concord between man and the entire creation: Do they seek anything other than the religious of Allah? But to Him submits whosoever is in the heavens and earth. (Surah Ale Imran, 3:83) (افغیر دین الله یبغون وله اسلم من السموت و الارض طوعا و کرها83 :3).

The Holy Qur’an has also described religious faith as part of the innate nature of man: Be devoted to the upright religious. That is the nature in which Allah has created man. (Surah ar-Rum,3:30) (فاقم وجهک للدین حنیفا. فطرت الله التی فطر الناس علیها 30: 3).

Effects and Advantages of Faith
We have already referred to the effects of religious faith. But in order to explain the advantages of this valuable asset of life and spiritual wealth in a better way, we propose to discuss them more elaborately.

Tolstoy, the Russian writer and philosopher says: “Faith is that thing with which people live.”

An Iranian poet and thinker, Hakim Nasir Khusrow addressing his son says: “I have turned to religion because to me the world without faith is like a prison. I would never like the domain of my heart to be ruined.”

Religious faith has many pleasant effects. It creates happiness and delight, promotes better social relations and reduces and relives worries which are an essential feature of this world.

Note: * In the first part of the article, necessity of existence of faith, importing sanctity to ideals, from of the world in material and divine conception of the world, were motioned Now, in this part, spiritual and mental effects of faith will be painted out.


Man and Universe- part Man and Faith - pages: 19to22


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