Religion is one of the most common and probably one of the oldest institutions present in different societies across the world. The institution of religion is practiced differently by different cultures, but the main purpose of the practice is to find a meaning of life and its source. Human nature drives an individual to strive to gain an understanding of mortality and its reality as it lies beyond the perception of man. Therefore, this paper examines the relation between religion and the essence of being. It tries to understand the history of religion and how it impacts on the lives of different individuals. Man aims to have a connection with forces outside what people practice every day. As a result, people have come up with different rites and rituals that may provide a reason to understand thins (Perry & Perry, 2013).
The world has many great religions that reflect on the need of a society to transcend reality. Different aspects of a society play a key role in shaping the religious elements in different regions around the world. However, religion can be classified into four major groups namely monotheism, polytheism, ethical and ancestral. Most of these religions are organized and have different aspects of faith that differentiate them. Primitive religions also exist including some like animalism (Cowan, 2013).
Science aims at explaining how religion can be associated with social sciences. In order to understand this, one has to understand how religion is integrated into social sciences. This can be viewed in two ways, sacred and profane. In each of these, human beings aim at appeasing a supernatural being greater than them. On the other hand, the functionalist view on religion explains that religion helps humans express themselves and their needs and frustrations by reaching beyond ordinary experiences.
Over the years, the functions of religion have become apparent; it has played a role in abolishing slavery, but is also one of the reasons for lack of peace in different countries. For example, to some extent, religion shapes the behaviours of men and results in the emergence of a way of doing things. An example of this is the Protestants and the rise of capitalism. Religion has different features including beliefs, rituals, and organization. Religions are well-organized and these include churches, sects and cults all of which are organized and differ in the number of people coming together. America can be used to explain the concept of religion as it has different characteristics that differentiate it from others. It is pluralistic, practiced in an economical context, bureaucratized, secular and specialized. In terms of religiosity, Americans are highly religious even though it one of the richest countries in the world (Perry & Perry 2013).
Religion plays an important role in how one relates with social factors. It has an impact on the choices one makes in life. Social class also has an influence on how active one is in religious activities. To a great extent, one can also associate it with race and ethnicity. This is evident in the history of African Americans who used the church as a way of expressing racial prejudice. Trends in religion are evident in how it has changed to become a secular organization that is worldly and political due to the influence of science. The role of women in the church is also a key trend that has seen women take an active role. Bureaucratization is also a trend in the society where some people dominate it. To some people, religion is something that provides association with something to help people during difficult times.
Cowan, D. (2013). Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. By Jeffrey J. Kripal.
Perry and Perry (2013). Chapter thirteen: Pivotal relationships; Religion.