Why Is Religion Necessary?
Man wants to give meaning to the universe he is in, the life he lives, events and, most importantly, himself. In this effort to give meaning every person asks questions to himself and the universe according to his mental capacity. Essential questions like "Who am I? Where did I come from and where am I going? What is the meaning and purpose of life?" have always occupied man's mind. It is not possible to give satisfying answers to these questions without turning to religious teaching and explanations. When the desire for immortality and perfection, which are an unquestionable part of our inner world, are added to this search for meaning, our limited existence and mind remain inadequate to the task. Religion gives us direction as the most influential factor in this search for meaning which determines the whole course of our life. For the knowledge that man has produced with his own mental capacity aims to find the answer to the question "how?" as he opens up to the realm of existence. Religion, on the other hand, answers the question "why?"
Actually questions related to the search for identity and meaning are religious qualitative questions. And because the answers to this type of questions, which can be found under the guidance of religion, address two essential elements of our creation -body and spirit-, they prevent alienation from human nature by protecting the integrity of the self. Because man and the true religion are both from the same source, a single creator, in their unpolluted condition they are compatible to one another.
From the time of the first human being until today no historical period has seen a totally non-religious society and no universal idea has been produced that has not been influenced by religion. A religious idea we can follow without betraying our own existence and without belittling man's honorable existence on the earth can only have a divine source. Just as each of our needs has a remedy in the universe, since the beginning of time God did not abandon man to himself without a guide in regard to our search for meaning which comes from our creation. The first human was a prophet at the same time and there is no difference between the principles of faith sent with him and the principles of faith brought by the Last Prophet. As knowledge sent by Allah was spoiled by the intervention of man over time, this covenant was renewed with every new prophet sent and our search for meaning was not left unanswered.
Regardless of which historical period is looked at, at every time and in every place man has felt the need to take refuge in a powerful and sublime being, and to trust and seek help from it. These emotions are so deeply rooted in man that throughout history all people have compared some thing or being to sacredness and sublimity and become attached to it. In this respect all idols on the earth point to the real creator. Meeting this need for refuge and trust should be realized without harming a person's personality and spiritual world. This can only be achieved by possessing a belief that derives from a divine source and has not been tampered with my man.
If the need for religion in man is not met by a religion sent by the Almighty Creator, then the search for a deviant, human produced, "supposedly transcendent power" is inevitable. Throughout history religions that reject every kind of servanthood to anything other than God have given their greatest struggle in this area and, warning people against artificial gods that are a product of man's own fantasy, they have called man to a belief appropriate to his honor and freedom.
It can be claimed that beliefs produced by human beings can meet this need. This is just like people who cannot meet basic needs like hunger and thirst turning to other things to meet these needs. Whatever is the compatibility of water from a pure, unpolluted source to the human body, the compatibility of a pure, divine religion to human nature is the same. It does not emasculate or enslave someone to others or enslave the human personality in exchange for meeting the need for refuge and help. Reuniting spiritually with the Creator from whom we were separated gives us a feeling of fulfillment.
The aspect that makes religion most necessary for social life is its directing man from an exclusively internal motivation. Even non-religious administrations wanting to take advantage of this special quality of religion in order to rule their followers more easily is not in vain. (However, since this effort needs to be broken up in religious understanding, it has been a problematical approach from a religious perspective.)
Everyone who lives his religion consciously knows well that religious values give meaning to our life, present us with a plan and purpose in life and show us the way, fill the emptiness within us, enrich our lives, and gain us a view towards the future. Just as devoutness that is not turned towards ourselves is not true devoutness, an answer found by a search for identity and meaning that does not consult religion is not a true answer.
Religions want to make a profound, spiritual and social transformation in the societies they are revealed to. As a moral institution, religion becomes activated by a power from the inner world of people. By girding man with a feeling of responsibility towards himself, his Creator, society, other animate beings and all creatures, it inspires man to behave in accordance with divine will. For this reason, isolating religion from active life and imprisoning it our conscience and inner world means to act contrary to the essence of religion.