Some people assert that there is no need to acquire a religion. They think:
Why should one consider religion at all?
By acquiring a religion one has to give up his freedom. We are born free and should remain with free will. A religion imposes restrictions, so one should not adopt it.
We aim to show the weakness in this argument by means of the following explanations, and we shall demonstrate in two ways the necessity of adopting a true religion.
1. Wisdom dictates that everyone should be thankful for the benefits he has received.
2. Wisdom dictates that everyone should safeguard against any possible danger or risk.
So now let us consider each of these two points.
The Obligation of Thanksgiving
We all know that we are born gifted by so many extremely valuable benefits without which a normal life is not possible such as our digestive system, respiratory apparatus, the heart and other organs of the body. Similarly, the sunlight, the plants, the mines and other resources hidden deep in the heart of the earth; all of them are great benefits which a man enjoys to survive and to pass a decent life.
Above all, however, is the ability to think and acquire knowledge, which can break a mighty mountain into pieces and create from water and iron the most enormous electrical and mechanical power.
By nature, we always want to be thankful to someone who has continuously given us so many natural gifts without any self-interest. We are eagerly interested to know the benefactor of all these great gifts. This is the call of our conscience and a call of practical wisdom.
Suppose a kindhearted man adopts an orphan baby and provides this baby every kind of support for life and spiritual growth. He raises the child in best possible way by providing healthy food and useful education.
Naturally, as a grown child the moment he realizes the sacrifices, food, training and education this man provided her, his whole soul will be overflowing with thanks for his benefactor.
The same line of thinking lends itself naturally to acknowledge One Almighty God who created us and indebted us by providing uncountable natural bounties to think, talk, express, work, acquire knowledge. He gifted us with a healthy body and a pure soul. We must be thankful to such an Almighty Creator.
Sincerely searching for a true religion is also a command of wisdom. One must not stop such a noble task of searching a religion unless he founds a true path and a true religion. Such a religion must clarify all his doubts about the meaning of life and provides enlightening proofs about the existence of an Almighty Creator.
Once a man reaches this goal, his heart will be full of great peace and rejoicing. This is the stage when he will and should begin to offer his sincere thanks to the Creator and Provider of every thing that he benefits of.
The Prevention of Possible Danger and Harm
Suppose a child were to come and tell you that he saw a poisonous snake going into your bedroom, quite naturally you would immediately call someone for help or undertake yourself a thorough search of the bedroom or even whole house until you found it, or were satisfied that it was not there.
Similarly, if, while traveling in the night in a dangerous area, you came to know that robbers were waiting on the road ahead to ambush you. Being wise enough, you would wait until the way ahead was clear of danger, and would not take a single step forward until then.
Such examples can be easily found in our society where it is observed several times that a school or university or an office building was evacuated just after receiving of a bomb threat.
Thus according to the dictates of reason, it is our responsibility to investigate and remove all conceivable dangers. It is possible that some of the harmful things may turn out to be nothing at all, and other people may not pay any attention to them, but if an injury carries the price of a human soul, and a life is destroyed, it cannot be ignored.
The Most Dangerous Harm
In the history of mankind, we learn of people who were famous in their society for always telling the truth and acting honestly. Then a time reached when they claimed that they were messengers of God, and they persistently invited people to have faith in One God and to act in a certain way.
As a result of their efforts and the persistent hardships faced by these special people in different areas of the world, many groups had faith in them. Thus the efforts of Moses caused the inception of Jewish religion, the birth of Jesus became the beginning of the Christian calendar and the migration of the Prophet Muhammad started the Muslim calendar.
Now, we see that how these messengers attracted human beings to religion and to follow particular rules, caused them to fear punishment for their bad deeds and made them sure that they would be tried in the Great Court of Justice before the Righteous and Wise Judge, the Almighty God.
They trembled at the imagination of hardships and dangers of the Resurrection and the severity of the punishment in the Day of Judgment, and made humans fearful of these things.
Do the warnings of such noble, truth telling and honest group of people make us realize the possibility of harm and danger as we found in the warning of the small child, warning of a possible robbery or reception of a bomb threat?
Is it right that we should ignore the words and deeds of such truthful, honest and righteous people of this world, when we see that they spared no efforts and sacrifices, to deliver a true message of the Almighty about how we should spend our lives here and what is coming after death?
Clearly, the words of the messengers, if they do not convince someone, at least provoke us to think: that perhaps what they say is true. Then what in fact is our duty, if it is correct that these Messengers of God tell the truth? What answer will then we give in the Court of Justice of God?
Here reason reckons the necessity of preventing this possible harm, and urges us to at least search and find a true way of life, a true religion.
What is more, these messengers invite us to a healthy and civilized life, and they also say that after death an extensive new world and everlasting blessings await one who has performed his duty, and give happy news that in that place is another existence overflowing with peace of mind and certainty of spirit, where there is no disease, distress, agitation, anguish or fear. Does reason allow us to ignore this important message?
Must we not give weight to the fears and threats of such messengers, who say that sins and transgression have their penalty and good deeds and noble tasks have their everlasting rewards? Should we not follow a true religion and reflect on the call of true, honest and noble people?
Further benefits of adopting a true religion include:
- A true religion directs us towards everlasting happiness and prosperity
- Religious tenets affect the hearts of peoples and always accompany him. They keep man away from moral wickedness and force him to be virtuous
- Without religion, there would be no prosperity and bliss
A person practicing a true religion is the most happiest and prosperous because he:
- Has a true objective in his life
- Possesses a good and praiseworthy character
- Performs good deeds
- Has a confident, strong, and peaceful heart in this turbulent world
- Does not live in misdeed and deviance
The following sources are used to prepare the above article. Some hyperlinks may not be still active.
1. The Roots of Religion (1982), Dar Rah-e Haq Publisher
2. Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'I, Islamic Techings in Brief, Ansariyan Publication