Is religion still relevant in the 21st century?

DOES Believing in god make people more likely to do good things? Is religion a version of science which is perhaps misunderstood? If religion was not evil why do we still have pastors and bishops who rape? Why does the Catholic Church domesticate people in a way that depopulates humanity and against the order of biological law of nature?

Why does religion have to be pushed down the throats of infant humans, apparently for moral reasons? Can humanity survive without religion? Is religion the root of all good and bad? These are all perplexing questions that one may ask in order to come into grips with an understanding whether religion (or rather, the idea of the supernatural) is still relevant in our society, given the intellectual developments that the 21st century has been characterised by.

History bears witness to the human psychological disposition of attributing certain events, which are beyond literal explanation to the idea of the supernatural in order to soothe their egos in grasping the basic understanding of events. Science came to provide an alternative by giving theories which explain phenomena that religion finds difficult to explain.

But while scientific theories are evidence-based and can only explain the physical, the metaphysical world remains uninvestigated. Therefore, this gave theology an opportunity to shine. We have come to understand that unlike religion, science gives a more legible explanation in terms of existence to some of the natural events, such as rainfall, earthquake and volcanoes which occurs in the physical world.

However, the fact that science cannot answer all possible explanations regarding all matters does not mean religion can? Was Einstein right in rejecting the biblical idea of god, given that he was Jewish? Perhaps Galileo Galilei was right in his view of Copernican theory, which got him banned by the Catholic Church.

Does the fact that the idea of god dominates much of our lives make it true that God really exists and is relevant in our lives? I am inclined to think that the question whether god exist or not is perhaps counter-intuitive.

Religion having dominated the past ages due to the fact that before science people could not understand complicated events without having channeled their thoughts into religion and therefore through faith believed in superstition. It is a scandalous experience that in the 21st century we still have human species that are so bound to religion to the extent that they see miracles happening in the name of religion but more especially in the name of god.

Did science fail to investigate the belief of god and provide answers in a way which can satisfy religious believers or does theology fail to provide the evidence of god in a way which is scientifically acceptable, are all questions we live with every day. To attribute the ability to do good things to religion is to appropriate the principles of humanity in order to grant religion a monopoly on all good things, for there is no one thing which can be the root of all good or bad.

While society blames church individuals such as priests for committing crimes, the fact that these individuals are part of the leadership which preaches moral values cannot be ignored. If a church is failing to discipline its own faith ambassadors why should anybody take its message of morality seriously?

The fact that most of us did not have a choice to a religion and found ourselves with certain religious principles forced down our skulls is a question worth examining through a mini-thesis. When humans domesticate animals it is called “farming”, but when the Catholic Church literally domesticates people to becoming priests and “sisters”, depopulating humanity and defying the natural order of biology, it is called a religious commitment, and we wonder why we have so much rape cases involving clergymen.

Science relates the idea of death to the metamorphosis of energy, science relates that death is a change of form of energy that when living things die they turn into energy of different forms and become part of the physical, and then here comes religion which promises heaven and hell exclusively for the human species that when one dies one goes into eternity. What a soothing sensation?

Religion is perhaps a soothing sensation made for the psychological survival of the human species that has so many egos and wish they could not die just like any other being. But why should it be that religion dominates so much of our consciousness? Is it perhaps an indication that human beings have inherent traits of intellectual cowardice?

That religion has caused wars and polarized the world is a statement worth noting. It is not worth blaming the Stone Age and Iron Age, as well as our ancestors for believing in the supernatural but to see sophisticated persons with intellectual wellness praying to a deity so that they can supposedly be forgiven their sins is a tragedy we face today, especially here in Africa.

The fact that we have PhD holders and professors who can go on their knees before the “caricature of ‘Maria the virgin who gave birth to Jesus” for the miracles they wish to see at church is literally a degeneration of intellectuality. I am inclined to think that with religion being a tool still used in the social development of humans we are practically slaves and idiots of the 21st century.

What role does religion play in the 21st century intellectual revolution? The relevance of religion is no longer that of morality but of looting money from the poor and the chronic enslavement of the less intelligent.

* Shivute Kaapanda is a critical theorist from Eyanda village; He is an author of the book ‘The Conscious Republic’ to be published soon. He can be reached at iskaapanda@gmail.com