A few days ago, I visited planet Earth to determine whether it is religious or not. According to my personal view that religion refers to some predetermined set of beliefs and practices, exercised by individuals, who believe in the existence of a supernatural power that needs to be worshipped and respected, I gathered some facts concerning the planet. I noticed that there were a number of religious groups on the planet; people’s beliefs varied from one group to another. Some of the major religious groups are called Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. Members of each of these groups followed some traditions, in respect to their religion, whereby there are teachings that need to be exercised and obeyed. I observed that the most prevalent religion was Christianity, which had a number of sub groups; the Catholics, Methodists, and Pentecostals among others.
The Criteria to Determine Whether People Are Religious
To determine whether people on that planet are religious, I used some criteria based on certain dimensions that helped me to come up with sound conclusions. I employed some religious aspects, including people’s narratives, social and institutional framework, as well as how they carried out rituals in accordance to their religions. I had chosen certain regions around the planet, whose characteristics were quite representative of the main features of the entire planet. Thereafter, I carried out a number of observations to see whether groups satisfied my criteria; hence, this was to help me in concluding whether the planet was religious or not. One of the groups I studied lived on a continent, known as Europe. On this continent, I have chosen to examine a few countries since they appeared to have similar habits and life standards.
All the countries I visited fulfilled my criteria; for instance, a region, known as the United Kingdom, had several social institutions, which included churches, temples, and mosques. They practiced various beliefs and ceremonies, in which they performed certain rituals to celebrate some historical events. The other part I visited was the continent, known as Asia. Just like Europe, this continent fulfilled my criteria in terms of social and institutional organization. People had social beliefs, which were strictly adhered to. In addition, they performed certain rituals during ceremonies, which were used to demonstrate some traditional beliefs. I also visited other continents, known as Africa, North and South America, and all of them satisfied my criteria.
Examples of Behaviors or Beliefs I Observed that Met My Criteria
During my visit, I noticed a number of lines of behavior and beliefs that met my criteria of determining whether the planet was religious or not. The lines of behavior and beliefs were similar for all the regions I observed. One of the behaviors I observed was the performance of rituals among different categories of people. I noticed that Earth was divided among many religious groups. Some of the religions I observed included Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism among others. Each of these religions performed certain rituals, which reflected their beliefs. For instance, Christians had ceremonies, known as Christmas and Easter. During the Easter celebration, for instance, I observed that people gathered around their churches and carried a cross, which reminded how a man, known as Jesus Christ, who they worshipped, suffered during his days. Before this Easter period, I observed that Christians used to fast and help one another claiming that the man, they called Jesus, had died because of their sins. Similarly, Muslims also had their own ceremony, known as Ramadan, in which some rituals were practiced, including fasting.
Secondly, I observed that Christianity had several other sub groups, which included the Catholics, Baptists, and Pentecost, among others. The Catholics had a belief that their religious leaders whom they referred to as priests should practice celibacy. According to their religious teachings, the priests were not supposed to marry and were supposed to dedicate all their time to serving the society. This is in accordance to the narratives included in a religious book, they referred to as the Holy Bible. According to the Catholics, the Bible showed that Jesus had no wife, and, therefore, priests were also not supposed to marry. This belief meets the criterion of narratives whereby people believed in the stories of the Holy Book.
The third behavior I observed during the tour on the planet Earth was that people had special days of the week, in which they converged in their social places to worship. For instance, I observed that Christians met in their churches on Sundays to say prayers. I also noticed that Muslims met in their mosques every Friday to pray to their god, known as Allah, and receive the teachings of their holy book, referred to as the Koran. This behavior of gathering in holy places once in a week met my criterion of social and institutional framework. Therefore, I concluded that the people in the planet were religious.
The Function of Religion on Earth
I observed that religion played a very important role in the life of the planet. Some of the functions I witnessed are that it promoted and sustained moral behavior. Every member of a particular religion was supposed to uphold the moral teachings and practices, as stipulated by their specific traditions. Additionally, I noticed that religion enhanced teamwork and cooperation in handling societal activities. For instance, both Muslims and Christians were seen to undertake some communal activities together to promote unity and offer assistance to the less privileged members (Fisher, 2011). Religion also plays an important role in teaching people about their origin, the nature of life and, therefore, need to live well within their respective society.
Other Ways of Understanding Religion
Religiousness of the planet can also be explained by studying other popular beliefs, such as the evolution theory. During the time I was on Earth, I noticed that some people termed evolution as a new religion. These people based their worldview on scientific knowledge and did not believe in the existence of any supernatural being. These people believed that the planet Earth evolved naturally and, therefore, they did have neither to choose special days for worship nor to participate in ceremonies to celebrate some historical occurrences. Their beliefs highly conflicted with those of the more religious people, who believed that their planet was created by a supernatural being that they worshipped and respected. Although I identified these scientific stories of evolution, which to some extent explained religion, they were highly denied by the majority of people, living on Earth.