Religion Can Help or Hinder Human Relationship

Religion can be a help or a hindrance to human relationships, because some individuals believe that a person should have spirituality without some type of religious experience or background. Without that religious experience, people suffer because humans do not encounter some kind of interpretation or understanding of their human experience.

To Robert G. Ingersoll, religion is considered cruelty. He explains that religion has been too much of an “intolerance and illiberality” (105) hindering a person’s human experience. Religion has also been the enemy of science and investigation, but has the ethics with God actually hinder religious experience of human relationships?

Another hindrance in human relationships is when someone believes that religion is a myth; not believing at all. People begin to question if religion itself is a myth or something make-believe. We accept, among other things, that the reality of spirituality and happenings of human relationships are associated with the myth of religion. Regardless of whether the great religions are historically true, Fontana argues that belief in religion implies a “belief in spirituality” (35).

Even though Ingersoll says that religion is cruelty, there are also several ways that religion can help an individual’s human relationship. One way religion can help human relationships is by the influence of churches. By having the influence of churches, Donald McGavran explains that life becomes more “honest and humane” (109). Churches flourish and create the standard of human relationships. To explain, religion can help the stability in weekly church attendance. Religious ceremonies bring families together and create human relationships. John D. Wilkins argues from his internet article that religion promotes “happiness in people…and increased self esteem” (http://americanaffairs.suite101.com/article.cfm/religiosity_and_community). This statement is only true if relationships develop and people have the willingness to find their religious experience. Wilkins also argues that religion is “man-made” (http://americanaffairs.suite101.com/article.cfm/religiosity_and_community). Religion is developed within an individual and by creating human relationships between two individuals. Scenarios are generated to explain the development of human experience that is proven in a book written by Denis Edwards Human Experience of God. One scenario includes a woman named Margaret who raises three children in government housing. The neighborhood is one of the poorest parts of the city surrounded by gangs and drugs. Margaret finds religious experience “irrelevant” (2) to her human relationships with her children and the world. The scenario explains that Margaret should be in search of some type of encounter and understanding of her relationship with her religion and her children, because her relationship will help her find her own spirituality.

Religion can also help a person’s spirituality. Ellis uses “faith” (113) as a help to human relationships, because it serves to develop flexible thinking processes. Religion in spirituality can give, what Ellis explains as, “self acceptance” (116), because religion gives the interpretation of a person’s human relationships. In order for a person with religious experience to encounter or understand human relationships, a person has to examine their spiritual structure and function of their religion and spirituality. A person’s spirituality is the ultimate analysis in search of understanding human relationships.

What is the real meaning of spirituality? Spirituality comes from the root word spirit. Fontana defines spirituality in his book called Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, as even “more difficult than defining religion” (11), but when people talk about spirituality, it has been about the feeling or showing of the spirit. The feeling or showing of spirituality can be a hindrance to human relationships, because people move more quickly from place to place in the wrong spirit.

Spirituality contains two main approaches for human relationships. The first of these, known as the outer approach, is recognizing religious groups and traditions. The second approach, known as the inner approach, seeks to explore the nature of religious experience. The outer approach, as what Fontana calls “more exoteric side” (33) of spirituality, actively seeks to explain spirituality as a wish-fulfillment. The inner approach, as what Fontana calls “primary” (34), because the inner approach relies upon self-reports, whether it is historical or contemporary. These two approaches give the technical or theology basis of spirituality in human relationships.

To understand the spirituality of human relationship one has to understand the spirit. What is spirit? Is spirit a word or is it a meaning of reality? It is a greatest challenge to define spirituality, but Daniel A. Helminiak explain in his article, Sexuality and Spirituality: A Humanist Account, that spirit names a “transcendent dimension of human experience” (120). Another meaning for spirituality in human relationships is that the spirit is nothing more than the integration of a human being. This means, in what Helminiak explains as “understanding what a human being is” (120), the spirituality of human relationships is the dimension of the human mind that makes a person self-aware, self-transcending, open-ended, and one step beyond our unmistakable articulations.

As a human being, people seek the human relationships of others. Ironically, Helminiak explains that our spiritual capacity in human relationships allows us to “subvert” (121) human spirituality. The spirituality, of course, relates to the human spirit, but individuals express their spirituality by interaction and understanding of human experience. Today the doors are wide open for spiritual attention for human relationships. Helminiak makes it clear that “explicating” (125) the spirituality remains a challenge, but the nature of human beings opens the perspective of spirituality.

Spirituality and relationships are used interchangeably, but have important differences. For example, religion is described as an “adherence” (Chae, 17) to organized beliefs. Spirituality is described as a way of “being and experiencing” (Chae, 17) the transcendent dimension of human relationships. Spirituality emphasizes the process of developing harmony human mature faith. Individuals who hold a spiritual means of perspective feel a sense of spirituality and harmony with human relationship.

Spirituality involves relationships with someone or something beyond ourselves. It is that individual that guides out decision making and forgiving our imperfections. Leroy Spaniol explains in his Spirituality and Connectedness editorial that an individual of spirituality have the belief in the goodness of human nature. Human nature is the keyword for successful human relationships Sometimes people need periodic redemption through repairing a hindering relationship. There are many way to repair a hindering relationship. Reaching out to an individual can benefit in a stronger relationship and spirituality.

Spirituality can generate religious beliefs based on therapy and how, we as humans determine our relationships with others. Thomas J. Anderson argues that religion fulfills the need of a “promising afterlife” (34) for ourselves and loved ones. Anderson’s argument is only true if a person can find the nature of experience in which they can “interpret” (Edwards, 7) their human encounters with their own spirituality. The human relationship then involves both the encounter and the interpretation of the encounter. The encounter element of the relationship is best seen when a person is aware of a meeting or contact from an individual. However, the interpretative element in human relationships can only occur after the encounter.

There are several types of experiences that can help a person’s human experience. In a United Kingdom table shows the percentage of people of various religious experiences (Fontana 109):

Type of Experience:

Percentage reporting experience

God’s presence

27

Help received in response to prayer

25

A guiding presence not called God

22

The presence of someone who died.

18

A sacred presence in nature

16

An evil presence

12

The unity of all things

5

 

In this table, the percentages of positive religious experiences that greatly outweigh the percentages reporting negative experiences. There could be several reasons for these differences. Fontana argues that people are more reluctant to admit to the negative experience than positive experience that hinders a person’s human relationships.

There is another unique way to encounter human relationships; the experience in dreams. Believe it or not, these dreams can help one’s human relationships precisely with themselves. Dreaming minds duplicate one of the important conditions which serve to generate the experiences in waking life. In a dreaming unconscious state, it appears better able to bring experiences to attention. A human relationship can develop with their inner conscious self. These dreams can also pass off as spiritual dreams making a doorway for communication. It is believed that the best way of understanding human relationships is the communication in an unconscious state.

When you examine your dreams, you raise deeper questions about what they truly mean and why these dreams are happening. Dr. James Taylor explains that spirituality is “forming” that is deeply held within an individual’s humanity (http://www.dreamreplay.com/dreams_and_spirituality.htm). It could be a practice of a religion and a person’s relationships with humans and environment, which becomes clear in an individual’s dream. Dr. Taylor’s approach is to free up the harmful energy in an individual’s dream, which makes it easier to create human relationships.

One fascinating aspect that can help human relationships is through medicine and physical health. The religious beliefs and the relationships of doctors and nurses help patients cope better with their illness and give them social support. Spirituality is what Dr. Harold G. Koenig of his Sothern Medical Journal call “common” (1194) among medical care, even those who are not religious. The relationship between a doctor and a patient in hospitals give a powerful religious communication and understanding of human relationships to help patients find their faith to survive.

Why are so many patients religious? One reason is because of the widespread of religion and human experience throughout the United States and the rest of the world. The increase of steady age is shown in religious beliefs, membership, importance, and attendance. There is also some connection between patients and doctors’ levels of religiosity. When the patients are ill they experience some encounter with the doctors on a personal level. Statistics show in Dr. Koenig’s medical journal that religion can affect medical decision making, generate beliefs that can conflict with medical care, can create stress and impair health outcomes, and interfere with disease detection and treatment (1196). This small hindrance can be solved if some doctors and physicians regularly address religious issues as part of health guidance.

In conclusion, medicine and church attendance are the two best ways to help spirituality in human relationships. Doubting hope or faith will hinder any communication in human relationships. Acknowledging the urge to spiritual experience generate consequences of the human mind. On the basis of the research summarized in preceding paragraphs, it seems clear that spiritually can help more than it can hinder human relationships, because if people allow themselves to be more open to other individuals than there would not be a hindrance in human relationships, whether it is siblings, dating, friends, etc. Religious beliefs and spiritual experience appear to enhance well-being and positive relationships. In addition, such belief and experience potentially influence self concepts, moral values, life-style, life goals, and human relationships. The value of human relationships will strengthen and continue to play a role in people’s lives.

 

Works Cited

Bender, David L., and Bruno Leorie. Religion and Human Experience. New York: Greenhaven P, 1981.

Chae, Mark H., Deborah B. Kelly, Christa F. Brown, and Mark A. Bolden, eds. “Relationship of Ethnic Idenity and Spiritual Development: An Exploratory Study.” Counseling and Values 49 (2004): 15-26.

Denis, Edwards. Human Experience of God. New York: Paulist P, 1983.

Fontana, David. Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. Malden, MA: BPS Blackwell, 2003.

Helminiak, Daniel A. “Sexuality and Spirituality: A Humanist Account.” 47 (1998): 119-26.

Jenkins, David. “Dreams and Spirituality.” Dream RePlay. 16 Mar. 2004. 16 Apr. 2009 <http://www.dreamreplay.com/dreams_and_spirituality.htm&gt;.

Koening, Harold G. “Religion, Spirituality, and Medicine: Research Findings and Implications for Clinical practices.” Sothern Medical Journal 97 (2004): 1194-1200.

Pargament, Kenneth I., Hannah Olsen, Barbara Reilly, Kathryn Falgout, David S. Ensing, and Kimberly Van Haitsma. “God Help Me (II): The Relationship of Religious Orientations to Religious Coping with Negative Life Events.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 31 (1992): 504-13.

Spaniol, Leroy. “Spirituality and Connectedness.” Editorial. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal: 331-322.

Wilkins, John D. “Religion’s Role in American Life: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Religion and Faith.” American Affairs @ Suite101.com: Discussion of US domestic and foreign policy, military spending, George Bush’s legacy, US economic trends, Democrat and Republican hopefuls, Congress, Senate, and the vote. 29 Apr. 2008. 03 Apr. 2009 <http://americanaffairs.suite101.com/article.cfm/religiosity_and_community&gt;.

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