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Cultural Materialist Approach To Religions Essay

680 words - 3 pages

In the prehistoric era humans used to rely on basic instincts in order to ensure the survival of their kind. With time cultural patterns took over instincts in their task of guiding humans' action. Religion developed alongside culture, utilizing some of its most crucial values and customs. Christianity is believed to be the foundation of culture as we know it today, but its continuous existence would not be possible if the religion was in conflict with already existing social norms.
As Christianity came to power around the 4th century, the growing authority of Church made it easy to convey the most basic rules necessery to uphold the order in society. The clergy realized that religious teachings were an effective way of controlling the illiterate common people. If they did not respect the laws of the king, they would obey the incomprehensible God and laws bestowed by Him. The Ten Commandments forbid stealing, murdering, or making false representations. These crimes were and still are punished by the civil law as well, regardless of the perpetrator's religious beliefs. Their incorporation into the Christian tradition obliged more people to abide them – they would not be so willing to defy their God as they were to defy the positive law, be it out of pure love for Him or out of the fear of eternal punishment.
The teachings of the Bible do not concern the actions of a man only, but also his morality. The concept of a mischief is strongly rooted into the religion. The seven deadly sins are thought to be an origin of all other misdemeanours, and they are as much of a threat to the Christian morality as they are to the social order. Greed and sloth could endanger the economy and labor market, whereas lust and envy may trigger the deterioration of the most basic unit of socialization, the family. Gluttony gives an opportunity for self-indulgance, while wrath and pride could harm the social dialogue. Christianity creates an image of a virtuous man, one that...


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