Running Head: RELIGION 1
Through my experience in religion, I have had a different view from the definitions that I have heard from different scholars. Belief is a mental condition in which we accept something as real even if we are unsure or unable to verify it. Everyone has their own set of views about life and the world they live in. Belief systems, which can be religious, philosophic, or ideological, are formed by supportive social beliefs. Religions are mythologies that link humans to a higher power. There is no such thing as a “correct” or “wrong” definition of religion. It’s a question of being more or less thorough, prejudiced, and precise. Some way to define religion will inevitably be superior to others; it’s a matter of grading from “better” to “worse” in terms of utility as a “functioning” definition. It is probably time to continue the process by referring to the above-mentioned points. As I learn more about the issue and think about it more, I can always revise my definition. My definition of religion is believing in a supernatural being who has guidelines on how one should live, relate to people and act in a certain way to please the supernatural being.
My definition for Religion, as per Functionalism, is a conservative factor because it reinforces social standards and promotes social unity. Religion, according to functionalists, is a reasonable argument that serves a beneficial role for society and people. Religion aids in the formation of social order and the maintenance of a shared set of values. Religious rituals enforce self-discipline, which helps people to act sociably rather than selfishly, which would be anti-social and destabilizing. Social cohesiveness is a fundamental function: worship brings the community closer. People renew and strengthen the links that bind them together via worship.
Essentialism, in my definition, identifies religion’s nature as a fixed and unchanging phenomenon. For example, if you say, “The actual nature of religion is peace,” or “Religions are fundamentally violent and the source of conflict,” you are expressing an elitist assertion about religion’s nature. It may be argued that essentialism will obstruct attempts to comprehend the religious other; but, we still have the problem that essentialist arguments about one’s own tradition are legitimate and relevant for people within the tradition.
Religious beliefs and rituals can act as a catalyst for social change or as a vehicle for change. The majority of faiths are monotheistic, meaning they borrow rituals, doctrines, and organizational features from other religions. This is done voluntarily at times and obtrusively at other times. Religion offers all of these advantages, yet it can also maintain and encourage social injustice and conflict.