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Discuss the Purpose of Religion in Society

  • Date Submitted: 04/09/2010 12:33 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 33.1 
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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;
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...


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