Religion is a human activity devoted to seeking answers to questions about the meaning of life. It is an important part of many people’s lives and is often a source of comfort and security. It also has significant political influence in most countries.
A Religious Man Does Not Suffer From Depression, Nervous Breakdown or Psychiatric Ailments
Many people turn to religion for help when they are in a crisis. They may ask their gods for guidance, pray for healing or seek spiritual guidance in the form of a religion teacher.
Some religions offer comfort and hope in times of trouble or difficulty, while others focus on self-improvement and personal growth. Some religions have a positive influence on society and others can cause social problems.
In the modern era, there have been many definitions of religion. For example, the late 19th century saw the introduction of a “cosmic” version of the term that would encompass a wide variety of social practices, including those that did not involve any belief in unusual supernatural beings or cosmological orders.
The 20th-century emergence of functional definitions of the term was also an important development. One sees a “functional” approach in Emile Durkheim (1912), who defined religion as whatever system of practices unite a number of people into a single moral community, regardless of whether those practices involved belief in unusual realities.
This functional definition, in which religion referred only to systems of belief and practices that were consistent with the broader social structure, was very similar to the way that anthropologists defined “culture” when they first used it.
Nevertheless, the idea that a social taxon such as religion can be understood in terms of necessary and sufficient properties is a problematic one. This is because a social genus such as religion can be present in more than one culture without being present in all of them and, therefore, could be defined either substantively or functionally in ways that are not universally applicable.
A Polythetic Definetion of Religion
The concept of religion is a complex and fluid one, which has shifted and expanded over time. The question of what constitutes a “religious” practice has changed from being a straightforward question of what practices are counted as religion to being a confusing, multidimensional, and incoherent matter.
This ambiguous situation is a problem for historians of religion who seek to develop a universally adequate notion of the social taxon. Ideally, the ideal is to be able to find a universally appropriate conception that does not require the selection of an a priori selection of data but instead aims to find a definition that is adequate to particular historical contexts.