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Organized Religion

Religion is as old as the rise of self-consciousness in man, but its origin, as that of man, is shrouded in obscurity. Religion can be traced back to the dawn of human civilization. The caverns of primitive men, wherein dead bodies were laid with a provision of food and weapons, suggest beliefs and practices, which are unmistakably religious in character. It would seem that no sooner had man attained the stage of mental development, represented by self-consciousness, and started on the road to civilization, than his breathless wonder at the world around him gave way to speculation on his origin and destiny and on the power which created the world and sustains it. His thinking took the form of myth making and his tools of thought were not concepts but symbols. He felt vaguely but intensely an infinite power at work in the world around him.

This dimly sensed power evoked in him the responses of fear and reverence, or worship. The urge to worship appears to have always been there, but man can worship only that which he believes to be both good and powerful, because of his own helplessness. Primitive man was slowly and painfully groping his way to the idea of religion. He was seeking, with his scanty resources, for an object, which he could appease or revere and worship. No doubt, he worshipped crude objects or simple natural phenomena, but we must not forget that for him they only symbolized the supreme power at work in the universe.

Worship is a characteristic religious activity and the anthropologists have amassed ample evidence to prove that primitive man did worship something or other. It has also been proved that primitive tribes, even now living, cherish beliefs and engage in practices, which are undeniably religious in character inasmuch as they refer to some deity or deities and to life after death. In the course of time religion took organized form. Examples include Judaism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. The organized religions follow certain traditions, norms .They have prescribed certain rituals which help the adherents in following the religion. Adherents of a particular religion typically gather together to celebrate holy days, to recite or chant scripture, to pray, to worship, and provide spiritual assistance to each other.