There is an innate psychological need to belong; to be accepted. On top of this, there is also a certain knowledge of God that is planted in the hearts of all humankind – a certain knowledge that we are not the center of the universe and we will eventually end up somewhere.
This longing to be accepted by the divine can be identified in almost all major religions around the World. From polytheistic religions to monotheistic religions, from the conservative worshippers to the secular atheists, we all sing the same tune – We want to be loved.
This idea of being accepted formed the foundations of all human relationships. On the macro level, the need to belong sparked the rise of religions and their purpose in establishing a divine connection with the gods in order to fulfill the innate desire. On the micro level, the need to belong helped humankind to continue the institution of marriage and other interpersonal relationships across time and space.
Based on the assumption that the observable universe is the work of a creator rather than the result of a random explosion, the psychological desire to be loved should also be placed in the hearts of created beings by a divine authority that is beyond the observable universe.
Throughout human history, people have devoted their time, even their lives, in their pursuit of a sense of belonging on the divine level. The Abrahamic Religions spoke of the Creator of the Observable Universe actively seeking to dwell with His created people.
Polytheistic religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism revolve around the central concept of “Dharma” – a moral order of the observable universe and a code of living that governs all reality (Dharma, n.d.). In many instances, “Dharma” is related to the purification and the moral transformation of an individual. In others, it refers to the path of righteousness.
In essence, both Abrahamic religions and polytheistic religions share something in common – they help people establish a divine relationship with God. This divine relationship is either attained by a union established with God where one can be with God (for Abrahamic religions) or a divine purification of oneself to become like God (for polytheistic religions).
This divine need to be accepted is also manifested among people, forming the very basis of interpersonal relationships. The need to belong made the formation of social bonds relatively easy and the lack of social bonds may lead to detrimental effects such as the decrements in health and happiness (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). However, one would not take much effort to find out that the social bonds established between people will not have the similar lasting rewards that a bond with a deity promises. A quick search on the internet will show that infidelity is on the rise, new sexual patterns are becoming a norm, changing societal trends is now viewed as something as natural as fashion. All of these shows that interpersonal relationships are unable to meet our needs to belong, leading to moral degradation and the like.
Emile Durkheim would recognize that the weakening of moral regulations has an impact on social integration, leading to a weakening of social bonds in general. Only a community that adheres to mechanical solidarity with a strong religious foundation can uphold moral regulations.
Having established that the desire to belong is planted in the hearts of people by a divine authority beyond the realm of the seen, and that religious foundations are required to uphold social integration and moral regulations, one must look logically at the fulfillment of divine promises to belong in order to ascertain one’s standing in life. By determining the root promises of each religion, one will be able to find the love that suits them most. And through the adherence to its laws, one will find fulfillment in life and an eternal satisfaction that is unmatched.
Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The Need To Belong: Desire For Interpersonal Attachments As A Fundamental Human Motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497-529.
Dharma (Hinduism). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/dharma-hinduism
Farooqi, S. (n.d.). Long-term Good: Barakah in the Light of Quran & Sunnah. Retrieved from http://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/living-islam/long-term-good-barakah-in-the-light-of-quran-and-sunnah/
Gach, G. (2010). Is Buddhism a Religion? Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/blog/2010/may/6/buddhism-religion-gary-gach/
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Larson, V. (2013). Is Infidelity A Societal Problem? Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/is-infidelity-a-societal_b_3944920.html
Martin, J. (2015). Could infidelity become the new relationship norm? Retrieved from https://www.news.com.au/news/could-infidelity-become-the-new-relationship-norm/news-story/65884d41661a91c74fec415e736e5877
Our Need to Belong. (2014). Retrieved from http://sites.psu.edu/aspsy/2014/04/13/our-need-to-belong/