Religion on earth: A Report from an Alien Eyewitness

The Criteria for determining whether people on earth are religious or not involve certain acts, behaviors, and beliefs observable amongst the subjects. People on earth who subscribe to a specific religion or belong to a certain faith representing a religious group would have to act in certain similar ways repeatedly.

The first criterion I would use to determine whether people are religious is to determine whether they meet at various places of worship on a regular basis. The second criterion would involve observing people’s behavior at certain public events. This second criterion would involve analyzing whether the people perform any religious acts before, during, and/or after these public gatherings.

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Based on the first criterion of religious persons meeting at certain places on regular basis, people on earth can be said to be religious. One particular religious group, whose religion is called Christianity, meets every Sunday at a place of worship called a Church. A second religious group, Islam, meets every Friday at a house of worship known as a Mosque.

Similarly, there are many other religious groups with similar practices of frequenting houses of worship; for instance, a religious group known as Judaism has a place of worship known as a Synagogue.

Such a pattern is repeated the world over and people have diverse names for their religions but the meeting in venerated places from which they give reverence to their various gods and seek guidance from these gods underscores the commonality in the different religious groups.

People on earth also fit the second criterion for being religious because all public functions of importance in the different societies across the world contain elaborate rituals that seek divine providence from a supposed ‘higher’ being.

Many public functions, from simple social functions like weddings, birthday celebrations, and initiation ceremonies, to more critical functions like swearing in of leaders from different communities, nations, and regions involve elaborate religious rituals. During these functions, people appeal to their different ‘higher beings’ for guidance and divine providence.

Religion, whose characteristics and behavioral manifestations in people on earth are as earlier stated, performs various functions. Firstly, religion acts as a source of communal unity (Culbertson, 2011, p.40). People belonging to the various stated religious groups identify one another as spiritual brothers and sisters.

For instance, a person professing the Christian faith (Christian) regards members of Christianity as spiritual brethrens and constructs his or her sense of existence through this religion and a similar construct applies to members of other religious groups. A specific religious group acts as larger family that the members can identify with and from which they draw a sense of togetherness.

Secondly, religion acts as a source of social guidance and offers a moral guideline that members can reflect on at times of difficulties and uncertainties, or simply for reflective purposes (Becker, 1991, p.147). Most, if not all of the religions own specific religious books from which lessons on living, spiritual guidance, and other such matters are discussed.

These books act as the sole points of reference for social and moral guidance for members of these different religions. Since many religious groups meet regularly on weekly basis, reinforcement and re-dedication to the religious edicts is ensured.

In conclusion, from observation, people on earth can be called religious. They meet regularly in places of worship and perform religious rituals in nearly all their socio-communal activities, fitting the criteria for religiosity earlier developed. Religion also functions as a major guide to the daily lives of most of the people on earth.

References

Becker, C. B. (1991). From pain to philosophy: on functions of art and religion. Journal of Religion & Psychical Research, 14(3), 144-150.

Culbertson, K. (2011). How places of worship help build community. Planning, 77(2), 40.