Motivation and Religion
According to Dr. David Elkins, "Contemplation, meditation, prayer, rituals and other spiritual practices have the power to release the "life force" in the deepest levels of the human psyche, levels that secular interventions cannot
reach" (Elkins 1999). Spirituality may not just about one person healing. It may be about the look of wonder on a child's face or the love we feel for a family member. It could also be about finding the place that attaches one person to another. It's about seeing the sacred in our lives and opening the door to a life of passion and depth or even strength and power. There is no right or wrong answer. To each their own, but there must be something that motivates each and every person to religion and/or spirituality. As a religious and spiritual person, I have purely internal motivations for what I do and why I do it. What I want to research is what motivates people in general to seek spirituality and/or religion.
Religion could very well fulfill a need for affiliation. Would one person become a Christian, just to say that they are a Christian? Christianity is a world-recognized religion. Is it possible that one would become a Christian to feel a part of such a large group? Christianity has many aspects and standards that have to be upheld. Would someone become and Christian, uphold all standards, and become a devout follower, just to fulfill a need for affiliation?
Another reason for turning to religion could very well possibly be for an internalization of values. This would be maybe an instance of inter-faith marriages or relationships. Someone who is Jewish, could marry someone who is Christian, and one of the individuals could take on the religion of the other, because they know it is important to the other person. When one person loves another person, and one of them holds something very close and dear to their heart, the other individual is bound to hold the very same issues close to their heart as well. That could definitely make one embrace another religion.
A major role in embracing a religion or spirituality has to do with internal motivation. Anger, fear, and/or hurt could motivate someone to seek out those unlike and uncomfortable feelings and find happiness, love, and security in religion. Someone could easily find a belief that gives him/her hope. "People in general define their god, not as a person, but as a force, a principle, . . .an integrating power that expresses the unity and the meaningfulness of a higher-being" (Maslow 1976).
"Some recognition needs to be given to factors which are basic to an understanding of any religious experience. [Religious] attitudes in general are born of conditioning circumstances which have been more or less persistently present in the formation of the psycho-physical personality. Man gets his attitudes from longstanding associations with parents, social groups, intellectual constants; in short, with those...