What are the effects of ethics on society?

The Details of the Question
What are the effects of ethics on society?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is impossible to distinguish ethics, faith and worshipping from each other with precise definitions in our religion. Ethics is discussed in many places in the Quran and hadiths. High ethics is praised and people are told to avoid any kind of unethical manner. The fact that when Hazrat Aisha was asked about the Prophet’s ethics, she said “The Honorable Messenger’s ethics consisted of the Quran” (Muslim, Salatu’l-Musafirin, 139) can be an indication of the scope of ethics. As a matter of fact, Allah extols His Messenger (pbuh) in the Quran saying “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.” (al-Qalam, 68:4). 

Islam attaches much importance to ethics and considers it “the envelope of the religion.” The Prophet points out to the importance of ethics in Islam saying, “I have been sent in order to complete the high ethics.” (Muwatta, Husnu’l-Khuluq, 8). 

The religion has got orders related to ethics in almost all fields; in other words, it is possible to find all ethical rules which are valid for all people in the religion. Actually, religion is, in a sense, a system of ethics the source of which is from Allah. (Gungor, 1995, 17). 

Religion is the greatest support for ethical merits one has got. Ethical rules such as employee loyalty, uprightness, justice, affection, respect and helping people can endure only if they are supported by the beliefs in Allah and in the Day of Judgment. One who believes that he will be punished if he violates rights of other people will refrain from violating people’s rights, will follow social rules and avoid unfairness. Unless the idea of divinity of the source is not accepted, the power of ethical rules will decrease. Therefore, the firmest foundation of ethics is religion and it must be religion. (Pazarli, 1987, 39). 

Laws cannot control individuals when they are in privacy, away from other people. Since laws are inadequate for disciplining and raising people, and enabling harmony in social life, it is necessary to take people under control by a spiritual authority. And this authority can only be religion. Religion has placed in our hearts a supervisor that supervises all our behaviors at all times. When we are about to do something unethical somewhere far from the police and eyes of other people, the religion which tells us that Allah sees us and He will not leave this behavior unpunished stops us. (Kandemir, 1986, 34, 49). 

Crime and Religion 

Certainly, reasons of committing crimes and of increase in crimes are various and not criminals are of the same character. Therefore, it is essential to get to know criminals with all their characteristics in the first place. One of the characteristics that should be found out is the religious belief of criminals because the religious belief, or faith, has got a determining role in one’s social behaviors. “Religion is an institution that affects both the individual and the society”, and it is a factor that shapes one’s behaviors in daily life. (Peker, 1990, 95). Certain religious beliefs and attitudes can shape one’s relations with others, ethical behavior and judgments to some extent as religion addresses one’s all abilities and tendencies such as thoughts, feelings, self-control, consciousness and manners. Therefore, the relationship between the level of religiousness and crime has been discussed and researched. Normally, as religion considers committing a crime a sin, one who believes in Allah and that he will be either punished or rewarded after death and fulfills his worshipping is not supposed to commit a crime.

The religion of Islam tells believers to be good and to prevent others from committing evil. We see it in this verse clearly: “They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. (Aal-i Imran, 3:114). Allah the Glorious also states that blasphemy and evilness are not for believers’ hearts: “But God has endeared the Faith to you, and has made it beautiful in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you unbelief, wickedness, and rebellion.” (al-Hujurat, 49:7). Requirements of faith and good deeds must be performed with free will, not under pressure, which will please Allah and Allah will reward those behaviors. No matter how many hardships believers may experience in social life, their religious belief prevents them from committing crimes. 

Religion is the leading one amongst factors which can control and prevent immorality and crime witnessed within the society. Considering crime not only a crime but also a sin would be a double-preventive reason against committing crimes. According to researches conducted on young people, they have said that religion made their souls peaceful and provided them with a feeling of safety that the religion was the only reality that they could count on and that they would lose their everything if they lost their religion. (Hokelekli, 1993, 115). Feeling of guiltiness results in restlessness in people. And restlessness directs one to return back to his roots. Therefore, getting over restlessness is directly proportional to being closely connected with religious beliefs. (ibid, 114-115). 

Once religious belief in society has weakened, ethical and legal crimes follow, because without religion, ethics do not have an enforcing power. When beliefs of halal-haram and punishment-reward in the hereafter are taken away, the order in the society weakens, crimes and anarchy emerge and thus various problems begin. However, one who believes in the Ruling Being who supervises him everywhere always behaves accordingly and prefers goodness to evil. Social dissolutions begin in societies where religion has lost its influence. It is possible to see the most remarkable examples of it especially in western societies. The decline of the family institution, dissolutions of parent-children relationships, regarding sexual deviation as normal, individual and social crises resulting from them, even physical illnesses, abnormal increase in rate of committing crime, over-egoism and over-individualism, absence of feelings of helping and charity in society are enough to show us the importance of the issue. 

The negative factors that result from urbanization due to the same reasons in modern societies today are also added to the negative factors that we have mentioned above. Western sociologists find a direct proportion between urbanization and crime. Compared to small towns and villages, more crimes are being committed in large cities and, however, most of the criminals are immigrants, who were not born in those large cities but moved there later. Relation between urbanization and crime, and social dissolution resulting from urbanization are thought to be linked to the dissolution of social relations. (Bilgin, 1997, 137). Powerful control mechanisms in societies in which religious factors are strongly influential prevent violence and crime to a large extent. After all, religion attaches great importance to family and responsibilities of family members for each other. (ibid)

Religion is also a powerful control mechanism in societies in which it is influential. With the help of this mechanism, social values are protected and enabled to prevail. One of the principles of Islam on this issue is to block the roads leading to crime. Islam does not evaluate moral values as abstract values isolated from life. On the one hand, Islam tries to enable individuals to develop and to enable the social control mechanism to function; and on the other hand, with its social and financial principles, it tries to eliminate external factors that lead to crime, at least to minimize them. Crime does not occur all of a sudden. It takes place in the focal point of a large circle which we can call “circle of attraction”, surrounded by psychological, socio-cultural and economical factors. Of course, it does not mean that anyone who gets in this circle will commit a crime but it means that they are potentially ready to do it. The religion of Islam tries to prevent people from getting in this circle. It is possible to liken this circle to a marsh. The marsh must be eliminated in order to cure diseases. The fact that social problems are failed to be solved in secular societies results from overlooking this principle. For instance, although it is known that programs including violence on media encourage people to commit crimes and violence, they are not being restricted anyhow. Similarly, although prostitution is considered a crime and sexual crimes record an increase each year, daily life factors that cause sexual arousal are not prohibited; perversity caused by those factors are overlooked and no control mechanism is employed. However, religion objects to this situation which causes deep damages especially to the ethical structure. After all, allowing factors that cause sexual arousal to roam around leads to not only sexual crimes but also increases other crimes of violence. According to the large-scale research conducted by the Ministry of National Education on high school students, students who watch erotic movies tend towards violence much more than the ones who watch adventure-action movies. (ibid, 138-139). 

Many researches have been conducted in order to determine the differences in morals, moral values and the likes between religious and unreligious people and the effects of religion on unreligious behavior. According to the results of these researches, religious people show a better course of conduct compared to unreligious people. For instance, religious people are friendlier towards strangers and foreigners, more generous to charity institutions and far more honest and kinder. (Argyle, 5-6). 

Religion and Mental Health-Religion and Depression 

Religiousness can affect depression from at least three aspects. First, according to the hypothesis of “social bonding”, religion provides social support from religious society. Such a support earns one some traits, both sensual and intellectual, which decrease the risk of depression. Second, according to the hypothesis of “consistency”, religion decreases depression by giving one hope and optimism. Third, according to the hypothesis of “wisdom”, religion changes the potential of comprehending sorrows and troubles negatively for positive comprehension (Stack, 8). That is to say, it causes people to believe that there is Divine Wisdom, a destinal reason in everything and enables them to approach incidents with a more reasonable and more optimistic point of view. In fact, these three hypotheses are not entirely different from each other and all of them can occur at the same time. 

Troubles and the Feeling of Religious Safety 

Human beings seek for a support in maelstroms of both “natural” and social lives. Modern philosophy assumed that human beings could defeat nature with the help of science and that they could be saved from the fear caused by “natural events”; however, this philosophy has not earned human beings anything positive, and contrarily, it has caused them to feel lonelier, more isolated and weaker in a meaningless life and a cruel environment, with continuing fear of death. However, religion earns people a different point of view which enables them to trust a merciful and omnipotent Being, who is the Owner of all beings, to feel strong by turning to Him when encountering all kinds of difficulties in life. It also enables them to see the whole universe as an environment of brotherhood and fraternity, and death as a higher degree of life, as a break or retirement from the duty. Human beings find exact peace through faith, through loyalty to Allah and evaluating everything from this window of loyalty. Although they also like this worldly life, which they consider to be a stairway to the eternal life, they are freed from the trap of greediness and jealousy which are the results of considering the worldly life the main aim, and from sensual desires which cause more thirst and greediness once they have been thought to be satisfied. 

Faith and Psychological Disorders 

The following factors are the leading reasons of psychological disorders: 

1- Neglecting the spirit and the needs of the spirit,

2- Losing faith or weakening of faith,

3- Being helpless or feeling helpless about troubles of life,

4- Having contradictions in life,

5- Having guilty conscience because of the people one murdered,

6- Losing the mood of peace safety and getting into a terrible and pessimistic mood,

7- Various disorders caused by some sexual diseases. (Yalcin, 1997, 33). 

American psychiatrist Henry Link found out that the main reason for psychological disorders was faithlessness; he returned to faith and invited his patients to return to faith as well. Henry Link, in his book named “Return to Religion”, says, “At first, science caused me to alienate from religion and then it made me return to religion again.” He states that religion helped his patients recover and he encouraged his patients to visit places of worshipping and religious institutions. Explaining the psychological advantages of religion for people, Link says: “Therefore, I would like to say that what matters is not my return to religion, as an individual of the society. What matters is that the science of psychology has discovered the reasons of such return. Various sciences might have earned humankind a lot of values. However, the only factor that provides individuals and the society with eternal peace, relieves the sick by giving them hope of recovering and pours down lights of happiness onto families is faith.” (ibid, 33-34). 

A German philosopher Leibniz says: “One should believe in God through reasoning in order to get over psychological disorder or restlessness. Actually, this disorder stems from suspicion firstly and suspicion causes hearts to be destroyed.” 

Alexis Carrel states the following on the same subject: “If we are in a terrible situation today, the only and the most important reason for it is that modern society is too much addicted to material values and neglects spiritual values. Addiction to material values failed to prevent humankind from destruction, let alone giving them happiness, because losing real faith has taken people to the edge of a terrible cliff.” (ibid, 34)

If one has got a strong belief in Allah, various beliefs and ideologies cannot conflict in his heart. Thus, he is saved from destructive restlessness caused by these conflicts. It is this destructive restlessness that scholars of psychology want to protect people from. Faithless people or people with weak faith can have psychological chaos because especially such people experience very violent ideological conflicts. As a result of this, they can have various psychological disorders. For this reason, some educators state that it is essential for people to have a strong faith in order to be protected from such terrible consequences in the future. And faithful people are not liable to “psychological disorders”, which are the results of lack of spirituality (religion) since they have got spirituality in their lives as the main element. (ibid, 35) 

We can summarize the vital importance of faith as follows: 

1- It saves man from dilemmas and conflicts by canalizing the desires and instincts, which were placed in human disposition for certain aims, to the way of Allah.

2- It gives people enthusiasm and freshness in order to advance in the sight of Allah, and thus, they begin enjoying struggle in life.

3- It gives people a feeling of responsibility towards Allah and thus enables them to follow the right path and avoid perversity.

4- It makes people avoid the wrong path, murder and unlawfulness.

5- It enables people to be righteous and to avoid hypocrisy.

6- It gives people endurance against difficulties by directing them to seek refuge with Allah, the Omnipotent.

7- It protects people from “psychological disorders.”

8- It saves people from eternal Hell.

9- It teaches people the meaning and reason of existence.

10- It saves people from the thought of eternal absence. (ibid, 36) 

In short, with Badiuzzaman’s evaluation, faith is a seed of Heaven in the heart and faithlessness is a seed of Hell. Faith is the source of courage, and of all kinds of virtues. A believing person can challenge the universe and gets over all kinds of groundless fears. 

Uniting Function of Religion 

Religious people are more resistant to the depressions of daily life. Religious people have got a spiritual haven they can seek refuge in against difficulties. They have got a stronger self-control. They think that life is full of tests and they have got to be patient. Religion also symbolizes stability in our constantly changing society. Therefore, religious people in changing societies feel the psychological effects of changes more slightly. This is important because Durkheim considers that the main reason of the increase in suicide cases is changing the structure of the society. According to Durkheim, it does not matter whether the change is useful or harmful for the society. Changes in social structure turn individuals’ life conditions and spiritual values upside down. And the real reason of suicide is this situation of chaos. (Bilgin, 140-141).

According to the report presented in the Doctors of Psychology Congress that was held in Istanbul, 1st October 1967, it was recorded that a substantial number of people in our country suffered from psychological disorders. It is the same in the United States. Doctor Link states that 47 % of patients in hospitals which he visited suffered from psychological disorders. The American doctor states that the only way of getting over these individual and social problems, which are constantly spreading, is to return to religion, at the end of many researches. And actually, he wrote his book in order to prove this opinion. (Pazarli, 37). 

Henry Link writes the following in his book: 

“Like many of my colleagues, I did not care about religion and religious matters at first and I was always busy with my daily works and my patients. In a period of 15 years, I examined and treated about 4000 patients. The majority of my patients used to complain about problems at home, failures in jobs, not getting well with people around and that religious teachings and rules which they had learnt in churches did not comply with scientific and technological developments. These illnesses are psychological disorders which can be witnessed everywhere and within any group of people. Nevertheless, I noticed that most of my advice to these patients was about religion. And actually, they understood and put into practice these religious and moral advices rather than scientific explanations. This is how I began to be interested in religious matters, due to my professional obligation.” 

Later, Doctor Henry Link worked in New York Center for Psychological Studies for a few years and conducted 15.226 psychological tests. Eventually, these tests came up with this result: “Personality and character of people who are followers of a religion and who visit a place of worshipping regularly are stronger than and superior to those of people who have got no interest in religion and do not visit any places of worshipping.” (Link, 1949, 22). 

Although psychological disorders can be witnessed in people from all professions and all personalities without any discrimination, only people who continue their lives in accordance with religion are an exception. 

Dr. Mehmet Tevfik Ozcan, in his book named “Ruhi Bunalımlar ve İslam Ruhiyatı (Psychological Problems and Islamic Spirituality)”, says: “Depending on thousands of examinations and medical notions that I carried out in Bakirkoy Mental Institution, I stated in International Neuropsychiatry Congress on 7th May 1970 that psychological disorders were not witnessed in faithful people who followed the path of religion and they will not. Neurotic problems stemming from mental illnesses and all kinds of depression, loads of psycho-somatic organic illnesses and behavioral disorders happen only when one is away from the path of religion.” (Ozcan, 1985, 117). 

Clinic Studies and Examinations on the Role of Lack of Faith in the Emergence of Psychological Disorders 

“In 19th century and at the beginning of 20th century, the science of medicine was entirely materialistic. Through the end of 20th century, “esprit medical” (psychology-psychiatry) was on the agenda again. And now religion has become a subject for study and research in psychiatry because, it is accepted that lack of spiritual and religious conscience lies in the origin of psychological disorders. And this lacking is the main reason of many psychological disorders from melancholia and hebephrenia to schizophrenia. (ibid, 119). Prof. Jung and his students stress that it is essential to strive for the development and advancement of religious in disposition in order to cure mental disorders. On the same subject, H. Sing says, in one of his articles that was published in “Magazine of Psychology” in India in the year of 1965: “I suggest and hope that the importance and value of a treatment based on religion and morals would be appreciated and we would reach this level.” (ibid, 119). 

Consequently, both in protection from psychological disorders and in the treatment of psychological disorders - as Arlette Bouruer says - many authorities agree on the importance of religious discipline and religious treatment. (ibid, 120). 

Suicide and Religion

Suicide is prohibited in religions and it is stated that those who commit suicide will be exposed to eternal punishment in the Hereafter. In parallel to this, cases of suicide are seen less in the societies which are more attentive in the practice of religious rules and which have got a strict attitude towards suicide. For instance, statistics show that more cases of suicide are seen in Protestant countries than Catholic countries. (Bilgin, 1997, 141). 

On this subject, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron (commits suicide) he will keep stabbing his own stomach with that piece of iron in his hands in Hell. Whoever kills himself by taking poison in, he will keep drinking that poison in Hell. Whoever kills himself by jumping off somewhere high, he will keep throwing himself off high places in Hell.” (Bukhari, “Medicine”, 56; Muslim, “Faith”, 175). 

When we look at cases of suicide committed in developed countries, we will see that the rate is quite high. For instance, the rate of suicide cases amongst young people in the United States has tripled in recent years. Suicide is the third death reason amongst young people of this country, following accidents and murders as first and second death reasons, and it is likely to be the second one soon. The situation in other developed countries is not different from the States. The fact that young people in countries such as Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary and Japan have chosen suicide as the solution of their problems is a terrible reality that those countries have to deal with. (McCullough, 1987, 107).

Why do people commit suicide, ending their lives, the most precious thing they have got? What are the reasons that make people commit suicide? What do they think ending their lives will solve? Many questions like these can be asked. And in response to them, the following can be said: lots of money, lots of alcohol, lots of wealth, lots of chemicals and inadequate love provided by parents. It is necessary to add boredom, nervousness, fear, obstacles, hopelessness, low self-esteem and feeling of guiltiness to them. (ibid) 

Therefore, it is seen that cases of suicide are increasing in number day by day in faithless societies. It is possible to deduce that to what extent the number of suicide cases has increased from statistics uttered by scientists while discussing social problems. Thousands of people commit suicide every year, ending their lives with their own hands. Apart from those thousands of people, many other people commit a different suicide: This suicide is an internal suicide. Their lives do not end all of a sudden. They die slowly. They are first defeated by feelings of defeat, dissatisfaction, hopelessness and despair. (Yalçın, 27-28). 

The most significant and the most effective way of preventing suicide is a firm faith and religious life. Actually, one who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment is patient with and resistant to troubles and difficulties of life. Religion enables individuals to develop in terms of ethics and to have a strong personality. What matters is not one’s following social norms only, but also following religious and moral rules in his private life and inner world. We see that almost all religions have got practices related to “self-control training”. For instance, excluding some extremist practices of some religious philosophies, five times daily prayers of Islam performed within certain time-spans and Ramadan fasting are practices which are quite simple but which discipline and enable self-control. In addition to this, behaviors such as avoiding lying and backbiting while speaking, refraining from unfairness and cruelty in relationships with other people help one to develop a strong self-control and a strong personality. Religious people are resistant to daily life’s troubles. They have got a stronger self-control. Religion also symbolizes stability in the rapidly changing society. (Bilgin, 134-135). 

Two important aspects of religious life are “faith” and “regular worshipping”. The stronger these two aspects are, the more positive one’s harmony with society and life is and the less the possibility of committing suicide is. (Stack, 2).
Stack determined the main theses of his theory, in which he showed the relation between religiousness, religious belief and suicide, as follows: First, as the otherworldly life promises happiness, it can balance troubles of people, who are stressed by - for instance - unemployment, divorce, poverty and so on, in a positive way. If people consider this stress as a temporary phenomenon, with the help of the notion of eternality stemming from belief in the Hereafter, their resistance to stress increases. Second, sorrows and troubles may have a meaning. One meaning of troubles encountered is to show the importance of patience against sorrows and troubles. Third, believing that God supervises us and knows people’s troubles makes people more patient. Fourth, religion offers a holy rank or system of classification in alternation to the system of classification based on the materialistic understanding of the society. Therefore, one can develop his self-esteem and personality by aiming at success in spirituality and religion, especially if he failed in the hierarchic order of society. Fifth, belief in a God who hears and responds to wishes can enable some people to get over problems of life conditions. Sixth, religion usually talks of poverty by praising it. Seventh, belief in the existence of Satan directs one to struggle against evil. Eighth and the last, religions offer ideal models (ideal type of person). For instance, Prophet Job (Ayyub) is one of them. This kind of people endured sorrows and troubles and did not attempt to commit suicide because of difficulties in life. These eight items of course should not be considered a list of life-saving beliefs. Nevertheless, it must be seen as a list of examples which show how a few basic elements of faith decrease the risk of suicide. (Stack, 5). 

Stack also proved that the rate of suicide cases was low in regions where the rate of religiousness was high, in his study that included 25 industrialized countries. This discovery is valid especially for women. (Stack, 6).

Dissolution in Families, Divorce and Religion 

The family is, probably, the most important basic element of the society, as a sociological reality. The family is a small model of the society and a strong family institution is the base of a strong nation and state. The religion of Islam considers the family an indispensable element of social life. (Kostaş, 1995, 76-78). 

The family is the leading one of the matters which religion attaches great importance to. The stronger is the structure of the family, the stronger is the structure of the society. Therefore, not only governments as political authorities but also religions deem family very important and take it under their protection. For this reason, divorce is not favored in religions. The religion of Islam does not prohibit divorce but considers it a permissible option under some certain conditions. However, it is stressed that it is not favored by Allah. 

Religion has got deep and permanent effects on health and happiness of the families and the society. Cases of divorce is seen less with religious people and they maintain their marriages more successfully. Religion certainly rejects some factors that threaten the family. The leading one of them is fornication. The religion of Islam prohibits fornication certainly. Therefore, we can easily say that as religiousness in a society increases, the number of unmarried relationships can decrease in that society. (Aktaş Y, Köktaş M, 1998, 115). 

One of the most remarkable indications of dissolution in a family is the increase in divorce rates. Today, societies with the highest rate of divorce are Western civilizations, and United States and Russia are the leading ones amongst them. (Arıkan, 1996, 21). 

It is seen that Turkey is one of the countries with the lowest rate of divorce when the rates of divorce in some countries and in Turkey are investigated according to the Annual of Demography 1992 by United Nations. (ibid, 21). Although the rate of divorce is quite low when compared to Western countries, it shows a constantly increasing graphic and it is increasing year by year in parallel to the increase of religious and moral degeneration. While the rate of divorce in Turkey was 0,37 per mille, it was 0,46 per mille in 1994. According to the regions in Turkey, the rate of divorce is higher in the Aegean and Marmara regions by 0,63 per mille and it is 0,13 per mille in the East and South-East regions. As it can be deduced, in regions where traditions based on religion prevail, the cases of divorce are less. (Aktaş, Köktaş, 118). 

Harmful Habits and Religion 

The religion of Islam adopts an obvious attitude against harmful habits that cause deep damages to social life and lead to individual and social problems; and Islam wants believers to follow its rules about them. 

There are many Quranic verses and hadiths related to this subject. For instance: 

“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (al-Maidah, 5:90-91).

The Prophet (pbuh) says in one of his hadiths: “A fornicator is an unbeliever while s/he fornicates. A thief is an unbeliever while s/he steals. An alcohol drinker is an unbeliever while s/he drinks.” (Muslim, “Faith”, 24).

Religious Belief and Hope

People want to get over difficulties of daily life, weakness, fear, awe and bewilderment they feel due to problems which they cannot get over and situations they cannot solve, to eliminate their worries about their future and their end and to find a continuous inner peace. (Ünal, 1998, 88).

Religion eases one’s pains and sorrows and consoles him. One can find peace by getting over his hopelessness with the help of his faith. Religion also protects people from hopelessness as a power which eases their pains by strengthening feelings of self-renunciation, self-sacrifice, patience, struggle and hope. (Uysal, 1996, 123). Religion gives people information, trust and confidence about life and after-death. It also places a feeling of safety – which is not temporary - in people’s spirits. Therefore, religion is the source of basic feeling of safety. Actually, one happens to find safety, which does not exist in the world he lives in, by believing in a sublime Might and following Him. A faithful person can get over the crises of hopelessness, which unfaithful people often fall into, with the help of his trust in Allah. (Ünal, 1998, 88)

Man struggles to get over difficulties he encounters from his birth to death and to adjust himself to constantly changing conditions. One’s endurance and resistance increase with the help of his belief and he becomes free from dependence on others and he can find in himself the power to deal with problems of life. For this reason, it helps develop a strong personality structure. Absence of belief in Allah means the absence of a strong personality. Such a person is quite weak in his personality and is likely to be depressed and to lose his hopes easily when he encounters small problems and difficulties. (ibid, 89)

Moreover, belief in the Hereafter is quite effective on making people hopeful by helping them find response to their desire of immortality, to justice and happiness which they cannot find in this world, by helping them to get over their disappointments and enabling them to get rewards for their good deeds and making them hopeful. (ibid., 93-94).

Social Dissolution and Religion

Western civilization, and the whole world influenced by it, have experienced a great change in the process of industrialization and urbanization. People’s style of settlement, life-styles, socio-cultural and economical values, which went through little change for hundreds of years, have gone through changes. And religious beliefs have also had their share from these changes. (Bilgin, 75)

With the emergence of industrialization, inequality between people reached its highest level; social classes emerged, with large gaps between them. Even women and children started to work for livelihood. As industrialization developed and cities enlarged, communities of solidarity diminished. (ibid, 78). Urbanization resulting from industrialization has emerged as a different problem., People experienced depressions especially due to difficulties of migration to cities and of adjustment to new environment.

Religion emphasizes helping each other and cooperation instead of relations based on interest. It is the source of spiritual values that keep one standing. It protects one from loneliness, as an individual who gets lost in cities and in modern society, with its rules and institutions that provide congregation. It never leaves individuals alone. It provides them with a spiritual shield, which is relatives, and it guarantees their livelihood in a sense. It also attaches great importance to relations with neighbors and relatives. Religion also creates a mutual culture and nobody feels left out in the atmosphere of this culture. Religion is, after all, the sum of rules determined by the Creator who knows mankind and its nature. The more effective is religion in social life, the less cultural conflicts there are between social groups. (ibid, 79). It is seen that urbanization, distorted city life, and some practices which are based on imitating the West only in Turkey do not cause as much depression as they cause in Western civilizations. This is because people have got opportunities of cooperation, helping each other and reuniting with society, self-realization and expressing themselves especially with the help of congregations.


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Abdurrahman KAYMAK

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