Question to Menachem Bluming this week: Who needs Religion?!

Q: I am an atheist. I dropped my faith a while ago. To be honest, I don’t feel I am missing anything with G-d out of my life. If anything I am more free. It has made me wonder, if I lose my religion, have I really lost anything worthwhile?
Here’s a thought:

People often make the mistake of thinking that if you take away religion, you just get rid of believing in G-d. This is not true. You lose much more than G-d when you drop religion. Something else you lose when you drop religion is the idea of family.

Family is a concept that cannot be taken for granted. The family is built and sustained on a belief system, a set of values, a worldview that sees marriage as a sacred covenant and parenthood as a moral responsibility. Without these supporting beliefs, the family is a baseless ideal that will erode with time. And these beliefs are religious.

Only religion can provide a meaning to life that is higher than me. I was created with a purpose that is beyond myself. I am here to serve. I was given the gift of life, and I should share it with others. Without these beliefs, there is no ideological base for the concept of family. No secular argument is strong enough to inspire you to give up your own freedom, get married and have children.

Look around at secular societies. The less religious the society, the weaker its families. Marriage is replaced with casual relationships, and having children is optional, as long as it doesn’t interfere with career and living my life my way. In a godless world the lonely, unattached individual is idealized. The disintegration of family life in the west is a direct result of its secularization.

Of course there are atheists and secularists who make devoted husbands and loving wives, dedicated mothers and attentive fathers. But this is in spite of their atheism, not because of it. People often do things that are not consistent with their beliefs. A secular family is one example. Having a family is an act of faith no less religious than attending prayer services.

Menachem Mendel Bluming, Rabbi Moss and Chabad.org