In western culture there are two different, or in a way two opposing understandings on the relationship between religion, theology and philosophy. On can be understood as that only by some sipiritual guidance, like God's instruction can human beings gain comprehension towards this world and the understanding towards human beings' origin and where human beings will rest in this world. Spiritual existence are the way through which we can get the meaning of life. So the philosophy that is based on reason should serve for the theology that is based on enlightenment. The other ones claim that reason is above on, it is the standard of any judgement made in this world; philosophy illuminates religious beliefs so philosophy is beyond theology.
Then what is religion? In modern Chinese “religion” is the translation of Latin word “religio”, it has the meaning of awe and piety. These two concepts show the important features of religion. Only with awe and piety the religion exists, and without them it doesn’t. Think about it, as a tourist we come to a temple or a church in order for recreation, we take a look at the figure of Buddha or Jesus Christ, but we don’t feel much because we don’t have the heart of awe and piety. But religious disciples are not the same. They come with a devout heart to participant in the religious and worship activities. In their eyes these temples, churches, figures of Buddha or the cross are not what they resemble in our eyes, which are just places of
interests for people to appreciate, but is a sacred place or the admirable objects.
Different religions have different objects for people to believe in. Although the objects are slightly different, they are all seen as transcendences. No matter the god is a human-like god or a nonhuman-like god, they are regarded as a transcendence, beyond the real world and rule over the real world as a “ultimate existence”.
The purpose of religion is to be saved. In human world people suffer from time to time, and disciples hope to rely on the spiritual power to save themselves. The higher-level religion relates the suffering of human beings to their moral issues. The reason why human beings suffer a lot is because they experience a moral degradation, and following the guidance of religion to start over is the way they seek for help. That the reason why most of the religions persuade people to do good deeds, to behave well. In the light of why human beings experience moral degradation and how to get saved don’t have a uniform saying, but after all those reasons and methods are connected with morality.
Although I don't have any religious belief, I think many prcactices are quite beneficial to people nowadays. For example, many appeal to the method of meditation and gaining inner peace through methods of self-reflection. Silence and solitude are universally recognized spiritual practices, and there are good reasons for this. Learning how to discipline our speech is a way of preventing our energies from spilling out of us through the rupture of our mouths, exhausting us and filling the world with words, words, words instead of serenity, peace and bliss. So I think although not everyone should convert to a certain kind of religion, we could still draw some inspiration from those religions to help cultivate our inner world.
I agree with you about the inspiration power of religion on saving people themselves. I’ve
read a lot of literature works talking about the inspiration power of religion. We always say that the aim of religion beliefs is all leading people to be good originally, so I do appreciate the power of religion. And apart from religion, it is also important for us to have a spiritual pillar which is functioned like religion belief in one’s life. But we also see many people are actually using
religion as a tool of ruling people throughout the history. Even today, we still have ISIS who is manipulate the people on the excuse of practicing really Islam and people were brainwashed by the misinterpreted Islam by them, so we see a lot damages were done because of the “power” of religion. So it’s very important for us to understand religion critically.