The Importance Of Religion Essay

1758 words - 7 pages

Religion plays an integral part in individuals lives, both personally and in societies as sociologists, such as Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, try to understand its impact through the beliefs and functions it holds. Religion is the very basis that some people may live their lives by which their everyday behaviours and actions are influenced. Beyond the behaviour and action, religion may help one find peace with them self and be able to make an identity as some people see their religion as who they are. Through two different perspectives with common similarities, Durkheim and Weber explore the role and impact religion has on societies and how they affect individuals by studying its many different forms and beliefs that are attached to them. Durkheim and Weber define their terms and state their arguments on the vital role that religion has in the world in a personal, social, and economical context.
One of the first sociologists to discover the importance that religion holds in a society is Emile Durkheim who uses the functionalist perspective to emphasize how religion impacts and individual and in societies. His view offered an interaction between people that displays the different forms of behaviour and also made a distinction between the “sacred” and the “profane”. The sacred can refer to a religious object or symbol that is beyond the understanding of common and ordinary things which is what profane is. Based on a certain religious belief, one object may be sacred to one individual but profane to another. For example, flowing rivers are just seen as water in common perspective, but in India the river Ganges is sacred water that is used to perform in special prayers. In order to convert regular water to the sacred water, a special mantra would be read in the process. The water was used as a simple example to display how powerful a religious belief can be through even the most simplest of objects and symbols.
The religious components can help to further distinguish between sacred and profane since there can be many similar aspects in each religion but differentiated in the way they are expressed. These components consist of beliefs, rituals, and experiences. Beliefs in a religious context are acceptances and truths that a certain religion abide by and can range extensively through different religions. There are many beliefs in an afterlife and even a supreme being such as God. Rituals are the expected actions or practices that an individual must undergo of a certain faith. Most rituals deal with worshipping God but are also a reminder to an individual what their duties and responsibilities are to their religion. This can be a powerful tool in helping shape a person and help to instill good moral values. The last component of religion is experiences which is how one feels once they’ve felt in contact with a divine force or facing a transcendent reality. One may feel like this after a prayer or going on a trek to a sacred place like how the Muslim’s...

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