Positive and Negative Sides to Religion

Positive and Negative sides to religion All religions have one goal for society which is to unite them with a divine reality. People desire this type of reality that exists in all organized religions. Eastern and Western religions all share another commonality which are rituals, prayers, stories about a divine being and symbols. Organized religions have varied attributes. Though the goal is common the structure and rules vary from religion to religion. Organized religion has a positive effect on most people because of the structure and consistency.

It gives a meaningful purpose to everyday life. People who pray are healthier, less apt to do drugs, or even smoke cigarettes (Fisher, 2005). The power of prayer also helps lower blood pressure, promotes healing, and maintains health in the individuals who pray on a daily basis Medical researchers have done studies on the power of prayer and healing with heart patients. They found those who prayed on a daily had a shorter healing time than those who chose not to pray.

There is a negative side to organized religion. Certain groups that have misconstrued the truth about what religion is and use that to manipulate others into thinking their way. By using charisma to brainwash others into thinking that their version of religion is the only way promotes violence against others. Fundamentalists use the outside of the religion to promote their beliefs. The religion of Islam teaches their followers to promote peaceful existence; there are extremists that teach violence and oppression.

Even in Christianity also has fundamentalists and extremists that start cults and brainwash others into believing that their way is the only way. This manipulation and oppression is justified because of the charisma that the heretics use. People who are lost in life, that they do not belong anywhere in society are targets because of their vulnerability by these so-called religious leaders. The example that comes to mind is the Jim Jones incident in Johannesburg South Africa. Jim Jones was a charismatic man whom had followers that brainwashed and manipulated to believe he was Messiah.

He convinced all his followers to drink poisoned Kool aid in the belief that they were the chosen ones and were going to heaven. Unfortunately, all those innocent people died because they just wanted to believe in a higher power. Not all charismatic religious leaders are manipulating. The late Reverend Billy Graham was a charismatic personality that empowered people to believe in God and good things will happen. He did not use the power of manipulation or oppression to obtain followers. He spoke the true word of God and used the positive aspects of religion to his segregation.

Many charismatic religious leaders have made certain impacts in organized religion. The fundamentalists try to enforce the negative aspects of religion by using the outside meaning instead that, which is taught from the holy scripture. The holy scripture of each religion should promote love, well being, and unity. When this is manipulated and the fundamentalists misuse what is originally intended causes not only harm to innocent people but society itself.

Reference Fisher 2005 Chapter 1 pages 1-30

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