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People are used to living in a certain way of life depending on the place they are from. Man is used to being guided. He cannot live without following a certain ‘guide book’ whether it physically there or in his imagination. He has to have certain rules, laws, principles, instructions that he follows every day of his life. That is why we have the Bible, Koran, Guitar, scrolls, constitutions, etc being used by the people. Long, long ago, when people could not read or write, they still used their fellow men to guide them which we taking place even today. Man is used to look up unto some supreme being and that is why different people and communities worship differently.
Man was and is there to worship
Man was and is there to worship. Whether you think he was created or evolved, is another topic for another day but let’s just assume how he came into being and just start from the fact that he exists. Before one jumps up and shuts me down in the name of not being diverse or open minded or whatever other terms are used, let me argue my theory out. Since time immemorial, man has been known to worship a certain supreme being and different communities did this in their own different way. African communities worshipped their god in shrines and under trees. Some also did it in river banks and others did it in caves and on top of mountains.
The Asians did it and even still do worship in temples. Other different people from different parts of the world did it in mosques, synagogues etc. Even today most of these places mentioned have are still being used as worship places (Bunk, Diamond, Perkins and Smith 245).
One may argue out that there are atheists (people who don’t believe there are deities) but I will also show that they also worship.
What is worship?
Let’s first define the word worship. Worship according to the Oxford dictionary is “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration of a deity”. In all the religions that are there, there is the presence of a deity that people look up to for guidance, encouragement, spiritual nourishment, help etc. this deity lives in different places depending on the religion.
Which are these religions?
There are very many religions in the world and that is why I continue to believe that man is there to worship. Why should there be so many religions if man was not so much into worship? There are more than twenty major religions in the world not to mention the minors. These are Christianity, Islam, Secular, Hinduism, Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism, primal indigenous, African traditional, Sikhism, Juche, Spiritism, Judaism, Baha’I, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo, Neo-paganism, Unitarian Universalism, Rastafarianism, Scientology, just to mention but a few. All these came up due to the need for man to identify with a certain deity but they could not agree which one or what to call him.
As we continue to live, more and more religions are coming up depending on the interpretation of life.
Why do people worship?
There are a couple of reasons why people worship. One of the reasons is because of identity. Man always looks for something to identify with. When he worships a certain deity, he has found identity. Most of these gods have been given names according to ones community.
Another reason is that he wants somewhere he can get answers. In the past, it was hard to explain why some things happened, the rising and setting of the sun, how man came into being, why people died, why there were the different seasons, etc. All these were referred to as the doing of the gods. Today, we still do not have all the answers and so we still believe that there is a certain being that is in control and makes things to happen (Hopfe 61).
Another reason is that man wants someone he can turn to for help and guidance. In most cases when one is in trouble or sick, most of them turn and ask for help from a supreme being which is normally done in the form of prayer. When one comes across the word prayer, the first thing that would most likely come in their mind is god. Man prays to ask for help, guidance and even thanksgiving.
Different ways of worship
There are many different ways that are used to worship. One of them is through prayers. As mentioned earlier, man uses prayer as a way of worship. For example, the Muslims must pray five times in a day facing a certain direction (Mecca), Christians should pray at all times, etc. people pray for different reasons. In the African religion, people prayed for rain, when there was a calamity like floods, when there were strange diseases, when they were going for a battle, thanksgiving, etc. Today, people pray for more or less the same things (Holm 78).
Another way of worshipping is through music. People use music to worship. This has been used from way, way back. People used to really dance and sing in front of their gods. This was usually done to appease them in case they were angry or make praise them and even thank them. Even today, this is still done, different instruments and other accompaniments like drums, string instruments, wind instruments, etc are used.
Another way of worshipping is through offerings sacrifices. This was especially sacrificed longtime ago. People would make sacrifices of animals, farm produce and even of people to please their gods. Today, some religions still practice their animal sacrificing e.g. the African religion although most religions prefer giving offerings. These offerings are in foam of money, food, clothing, service, time, gold, etc. all these is done in the name of worship.
They believed in the existence of a supreme being or a deity which has in a way contributed to the way the world is a better place. Most religions encourage people to be good so that they please their deity or they do not get punishment.
The atheist who do not believe in any god or Supreme Being, also do worship. They worship what they believe in or what they value most. Whether it is money, their education, families, jobs or businesses that they value most, all these is what they will worship.
As a conclusion, I will say that man must worship. It might not be a deity necessarily, but it can be another thing. We have seen and heard people who sing to other people as if their whole life depended on them. These people worship, the people they are singing to. Some put their businesses and jobs first so that they would absolutely anything to have or maintain them. That is a form of worship.
If one treasures or loves something or someone so much that one would do almost anything to have it, it is said that that person worships that particular thing. If he is not worshipping the Supreme Being he fills that gap with worshipping material things.
So, whatever or whoever you worship, we must admit that man is there to worship. That is why he does some things that are considered inhuman like sacrificing people not to mention the children, all in the name of worship.