THE ORIGINS OF RELIGION
Man Seeking for Material Blessings
The Lord’s salvation is greatly different from any religion. Religion has been widely practiced mainly because of three reasons: firstly, man’s seeking for material blessings, next, man’s pursuit for improved behavior, and lastly, man’s search for inner satisfaction. From a shallow point of view, everyone hopes for material blessings because everyone seems to need them. At the same time, man does not have the power to handle many of the situations of human life, so naturally he tends to seek some other power or way. Under such circumstances, religion came into being. Man pursues religion, believing that there is a supreme being who is above all men and who exercises supernatural power to solve the problems in human life and to meet human needs. Do not think that religion is practiced only by village men and country women. In fact, innumerable people who are famous and successful have also accepted religion in hopes of obtaining the material blessings of human life.
Man Pursuing the Improvement of Behavior
Not only so, as the noblest and highest being among all living creatures, man naturally pays much attention to the question of morality and therefore tends to pursue the improvement of behavior. Thousands of years of human history have proved that religion is the best place for the practice of moral culture. Throughout the generations those who have been occupied with the improvement of behavior have always attached themselves to a religion. People pursue and seek a noble religion to help them with the cultivation of their morality. In human society many upright people have accepted religion for the sake of self-improvement. This is why religion is popular among upper-class people.
Man Searching for Inner Satisfaction
The third reason for the widespread acceptance of religion is that man has an inner need. Within man there is a spirit, and within the spirit there is a need. In the beginning God created man with a spirit for man to receive God. To illustrate, for man to drink water, he needs a stomach to contain water. Without a stomach, man would have no need for eating and drinking. According to the same principle, there is a need deep within man which can neither be touched nor seen. We all have this kind of experience. We may be rich in outward material things and may have sufficient psychological enjoyment, yet in the deepest part of our being we are still not satisfied, and we still have a need. That need is the need of our human spirit. Throughout the generations many people who were thoughtful, moral, and idealistic have repeatedly discovered this need deep within man. In seeking to satisfy this need, man continually seeks after religion. People seek religion not merely for outward blessings and not even for the cultivation of morality. Rather, their seeking religion is for the need deep within their being.
(Dead to Law but Living to God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)