Religion can be defined as a practice or belief intended to create long-lasting and influential meaning by establishing symbols that relate to a specific set of human values. Religion seeks to explain origin of the universe and life, giving meaning to life and explain other phenomena. Examples of religion are Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. The debate about whether questioning religion is morally right is as old as religion itself. In my opinion, rational questioning of religion is not morally wrong; in fact, it helps to advance religion positively.
It is through questioning and debating that we get an in-depth understanding of religious beliefs. Even in instances when people conclude that the initial beliefs they were questioning were true, they understand it better and are more likely to practice it than those who keep their doubts to themselves. Questioning religion also strengthens people’s faith in religion. This is because it helps in clearing doubts concerning religious beliefs.
Questioning the beliefs of our religions will also improve our tolerance for other peoples’ religion. Religion has sometimes used violence, terrorism and wars to promote it. An example is the religious violence such as was experienced in the first crusade which was inspired by jihad during Islam civilization. By questioning religion, we will seek to learn more about other peoples’ religious beliefs to compare it with our own. This will make us more accommodative of people from other religions hence promoting peaceful coexistence in the society.
Religion has been used to oppress people. It has often been used by leaders to instill fear among their subjects. In the ancient Roman Empire for instance, the Bible was written in Latin and it was forbidden to translate it. At that time, only the ruling elite and the priests understood Latin. They therefore used the bible to silence those who questioned their authority. Even in recent times, religious leaders have used religion to meet selfish needs such as amassing wealth. They interpret religious scriptures to suit their needs at that time. When people blindly obey and do not question, such uncouth leaders will continue to manipulate them.
Religious leaders are human and hence prone to make mistakes. Their interpretation of religious scriptures may be clouded by prejudices. It is not uncommon for the same scripture to be interpreted differently by different religious leaders. By being inquisitive, we will be able to get the correct interpretation that was intended.
Following religion blindly without questioning interferes with our ability to think freely. Historical events show that Christian faith leaders have oppressed free thinking. For instance, it is indirectly written in the Bible that it is the sun that moves around the earth. The Catholic Church consequently prosecuted people who proposed that it was the earth and not the sun that moves. Christians were also known to have burned mathematical theories of Muslims because they had zeroes which they did not understand. They therefore assumed that they were evil. Following religion blindly can hence be an impediment to progress and the ability think freely and change things.
Questioning religion is important and should be encouraged. It strengthens our understanding and faith, promotes peaceful coexistence and brings about progressive change in society. It is morally right to question religion as long as it is confined within certain limits. We should not question the existence of God but we can question the interpretation of religious doctrines by religious leaders.