Important Uses of Religion in Human Societies
Religion is a family of social institutions that have a variety of functions in human societies. Religion is an important predictor of many aspects of social life, including political hierarchy and craft specialization. It also correlates with material objects and buildings, which help archaeologists determine the presence of religion in past societies. This article will explore some of the most important uses of religion in human societies and what the findings mean for our understanding of religion.
It is a cultural system of behaviors, practices and ethics
Religion is a social institution that is highly personal and affective, and yet, it is culturally universal. According to social scientists, religion is a cultural system of beliefs and behaviors that is centered on basic social needs and values. For example, funeral rites are common in every culture, and although the rituals vary depending on religion and culture, they all share the same elements. Among these elements are the announcement of death, the care of the deceased, and a ceremony.
Religion is important in society because it creates social networks and encourages group formation. It also provides a sense of belonging. People who identify themselves with a particular religion often feel alienated from people of other religions. Some extreme examples of religious discrimination include the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and anti-Semitism.
It is an impersonal force
When a survey asks respondents if they believe in God, most say that God is an impersonal force. Nevertheless, some respondents say that God is a person. A significant number of non-Christians hold the same view. According to one study, 62 percent of those who identify as religious believe that God is impersonal.
Impersonal gods cannot provide personal guidance. People who believe in personal gods cling to their beliefs as fervently as those who believe in impersonal gods. The difference is that a personal god provides guidance through direct revelation.