In this week’s lecture, we learned about “Religion.” Some people have particular religion and others have not specified the religion. Anyway, we need to know about religion in detail and think carefully about the role of it in the society. Because, you know well, religion is a major element of culture in all societies and is so influential in our lives. Then let’s look into the role of religion!
2. My opinion of the question
Q. What functions religion may have?
People who have same religion share the same rituals and beliefs. So they can understand each other. Christianity, Islam and other world religions have some rituals. For example, people who believe in Christianity sought spiritual succour at Sunday church services. Through rituals, they confirm their own faith in God and feel a sense of kinship.
Second, religion reduces anxiety and gives us a sense of stability. In other words, we find a refuge in religion. In harsh reality, we need to something to turn to. We live in pain every day emotionally and feel the fear of danger and death that we might face. Nobody is free from the anguish of life. For a little while, religion helps alleviate that fear.
Third, religion functions as a tool of social control and conformity. Religion legitimizes the existing social order. We can think of the state religion. Some state religions have some social taboos and restraints. For example, Muslim has rules people must keep. Muslims are required to pray five times a day. They are also not allowed to eat pork.
We can classify the above functions according to sociological theories that we learned in class last week.
Functionalist and Confilct theories of religion have a different perspective. Functionalist theory stresses that religion contributes to strengthen the social solidarity (social cohesion). It is related to first and second function. On the other hand, Confilct theory argues that religion is a tool of social control. It is related to third function.
After class, I thought that religion has both good and bad functions. We often debate on whether the religion is good or bad. However, we cannot conclude that ‘It is only good’ or ‘It is only bad.’ Because I think on the one hand religion is good and on the other it is bad.
Even though we conclude religion is bad, we can’t de-emphasize or control religion. Rather, I think we have to discuss the existence of religion or the solution of religious dispute.