*DISCUSS THE PURPOSE OF* RELIGION IN THE SOCIETY
The anthropologist Anthony F.C Wallace has defined religion as “beliefs and rituals concerned with super natural beings, powers and forces” (1966) like ethnicity or language, religion may be associated with social divisions within and between societies and nations. Participation in common rites may affirm, and thus maintain the social solidarity of a religion’s adherents. Religion helps people to understand conditions and events they could not explain by reference to gain experience. According to the founder of anthropology of religionEnglishman Sir Edward Burnett Taylor, he believed that our ancestors and contemporary nonindustrial people were particularly intrigued with death, dream and trances. In dreams and trances people see images they may remember when they wake up or come out of the trace state. Taylor concluded that attempt to explain dreams and trance lead early humans to believe that two entities inhabit the body; one active during the day and the other-the double or soul, active during sleep and trance state. When the double permanently leaves the body the person dies. Death is departure of the soul from the Latin word “anima” so Taylor named this belief animism. Since religion is a cultural universal it is not surprising that it fulfills several basic functions within human societies. In sociological terms, these include both latent and manifest function in viewing religion as a social institution functionalist evaluate its impact on human society. The functions of religion are as follows;
The fact that religion seems to have continually played an important role in every known society should highlight the idea that religion serves some sort of purpose. The various sociological explanations of this purpose are what the key is. role of religion in society is definitely a dynamic one. The relationship between both religion and society is always changing. Religion affects different ...
Again religion maintains social order; religion teaches people that they have a place in the universe and a relationship to it. People gain a sense of identity and a feeling that life is meaningful through the ideology of a religion and through rituals. Religion provides guidelines about how human life should be properly conducted and what value should be held. In so doing it motivates people to follow the customs of their society even in the absence of practical insight about how their actions may benefit, example; farmers suffering the effect of a prolonged drought may after several failures be too discouraged to dig yet another well until a “water witch” assures them of the presence of water at some location.
Also religion reduces anxiety; in addition to benefit to society at large, these are psychological benefit for the individual in the practice of religion people don’t have as much control lives or circumstances as they need to feel secure. When this is the case the performance of rituals for control through supernatural means can alleviate debilitating anxiety. In frightening situations religion can be a source of strength in enabling one to stand up to one’s fear and overcome them.
Furthermore there is also an integrative function of religion; Emile Durkheim viewed religion as an integrative power in human society. Religion whether Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and so on offers people meaning and purpose for their lives it gives them certain ultimate values and ends to hold in common. Although subjective and not always fully accepted these values and ends help a society to function as an integrated social system. For example the Christian ritual of communion not only celebrates a historical event in the life of Jesus ( the last supper) but also represent collective participation in a ceremony with sacred social significance, similarity, funerals, weddings, confirmations and so on served to integrate people into larger communities by providing cleared beliefs and values. The integrative power of religion can be seen in the role that churches, synagogues, and mosque have traditionally played and continuous to play for immigrant groups in the United States. For example Roman Catholic immigrants may settle near and around a parish church that offered services in their native language such as Polish and Spanish. Similarly, Korean immigrants may join a Presbyterian church with many Korean-Americans member and with religions practices like those churches in Korea.
SCIENCE VS. RELIGION One of the most important dichotomies that make us stop to think is religion and science. A dichotomy that started in the renaissance, a period when people started questioning, looking to other horizons, other than religion. Before this period the church held back all previous writings that compromised the power of the church. Knowledge in science was set free. Now people ...