The role of reincarnation in change is another difference with the Abrahamic faiths, but when we look at the hoped-for effect of spiritual transformation, we find again the idea that we need to become less anxious about our own wants and more concerned with the needs of others. How do we change so radically that we are more concerned about other people's happiness than our own? Ramadan, she says, is gradually making her a less anxious person, giving her the confidence to think about changing from a clerical job to a more service-oriented career. 7 Ways Religion Can Change Your Life Increased Gratitude. Part of HuffPost Religion. When people want to change, they often turn to religion. Whether God created man or man invented gods, religious beliefs have for centuries impacted on society, and so, on human behavior. Most religions carry a social element. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote. Beliefnet is a lifestyle website providing feature editorial content around the topics of inspiration, spirituality, health, wellness, love and family, news and entertainment. Though the specifics of what we should change and how vary by tradition, the promise that our lives will become more peaceful through spiritual practice runs through many traditions. Although Thich Nhat Hanh makes it sound simple, Buddhists recognize that there are different levels of practice, and reaching total peace will take many lifetimes. Religion is one of the effective tools used by people to dominate society. "Sometimes, thank God, there's a breakthrough," he says. "Sometimes we work on micro-increments of change.". "It's a very intense period," she explains. Others have a decent, clean social life because of what their religion has taught them. There are even atheist churches, and the comment section of just about any article on faith is riddled with atheists who are every bit as zealous as the religious practitioners they mock. When people want to change, they often turn to religion. Author of "Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope" and board leader of Earth Quaker Action Team, Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. or 'What shall we drink?' This optimism may partly explain the appeal of Buddhism in the West, where many people yearn for the peace offered by traditional religion, but expect their fate to remain in their own hands -- or perhaps their own minds. "The reasons people change religions are as diverse as the religious landscape itself," he told CNN by phone. Truthfully, today atheism, despite claiming to be a distinct lack of faith, is technically a religion in its own right. No doubt the rules were designed to encourage ethical and moral behavior, but as always, these have been bent, altered … We can nurture the unconditional love that does not expect anything in return and therefore does not lead to anxiety and sorrow. Some factors that might be expected to drive people away from religion -- … A practicing Muslim, she says that fasting during Ramadan helps her to feel more peaceful, despite the physical difficulty. Similarly, Quakers starting in the seventeenth century adopted a form of silent worship in which they felt the "Inner Light" reveal to them the parts of themselves that needed to be changed. One of these areas is the area of social values. On the other hand, he teaches, "If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.". But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you" (Matt 6:31-33). How do we find true peace? I'm a freshman in college studying psychology, and it seems to me that psychologists can do a lot of good to help people—maybe as much as religion does. There is an aspect of change that is a mystery, though that does not mean we are powerless. Courage to change the things I can change. Self-denial, daily prayer, and heightened compassion for the poor change her. or 'What shall we wear?' You should think differently. As Hanh explains: Compassion is a mind that removes the suffering that is present in the other. In the recovery movement, they talk of willingness to change, rather than willfulness. Religion provides a sanction for the principles of morality like justice, honesty, righteousness, brotherhood, equality, virtuousness, tolerance, sacrifice, help to the needy and other kindred virtues. Today is National Voter Registration Day! For some, God is the potter, and we are the clay, reshaped by something greater than ourselves. Melvin, who became less anxious himself and more dedicated to selfless service through a combination of Torah study and dealing with cancer, says that in Hebrew scripture, some people, like Joseph, are changed gradually, while others, like Moses and Jacob, are changed through a vision or moment of dramatic encounter with God. Religion makes people act better, supporters have long maintained. How Religion Impacts on Human Behavior. People converse and bond with each other before or … The person should not automatically inherit fathers’ religions. They would be, actually, incorrect. This sounds rubbish, but if you go into details of most religions, they have been misused in the past and are being even now.But we will see those details in the article problems with religion. In a society where anxiety seems higher than ever, this may be one of the most appealing aspects of religion. For others, we have the power to initiate change, or at the very least, we choose to yield to the potter's touch. Spiritual practices -- whether fasting, study of scripture, prayer, or works of charity -- are meant to gradually transform us. For as long as people have believed in heaven and hell, a debate has simmered. Persons newly adhering to Buddhism traditionally "take Refuge" (express faith in the Three Jewels—Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) before a monk, nun, or similar representative, with often the sangha, the community of practitioners, also in ritual attendance. In this theory, it is hypothesized that the person ends up creating an idea of God according to what the individual needs, and how he or she perceives the world. Both of these are things I have to accept. Further, religions can be used to dominate countries. He will give strength to your bones and you will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry. The Qur'an promises relief from anxiety for all believers (including Christians and Jews), saying that those who believe in God "on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Qur'an 2:62). Cistercian monk Thomas Keating writes, "The conscious resolution to change our values and behavior is not enough." Meditation practice helps us to see the grasping of our minds and gradually teaches us to let go of our attachments. Why do you say that only God can change a person's heart? Many people choose to have very moral, social values and their reasoning has nothing to do with their religion. Well, the first benefit of religion is that gives the access to the group of people who think similar to you and who believe in … An advocate of the centuries-old practice of silent contemplative prayer, Keating says we have deeply embedded patterns of selfish and unhealthy behavior, so we need help from what he calls "the Divine Therapist." Sign up for Beliefnet's Inspiration newsletter. Even in Buddhism, where more emphasis is put on a practitioner's dedicated practice, striving for enlightenment is not the way to achieve it. The promise of practice, he teaches, is that we can "smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available.".