Defining religion is difficult since it not only encompasses on the belief in an infinite supernatural entity but also includes those with no belief systems such as theists.
The ideology came with civilization when human felt a need to worship thus establishing various religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhist, Judaism and Chinese traditionalism. However, Religion can be explained as an institution that comprises obedient humans with a high regard to a supernatural being who has divine powers and is believed to dictate the human destiny. The supernatural powerful being is regarded as the reason behind occurrences of certain phenomenon in the universe and therefore has to be worshipped and appeased to award favors. It defines the reason behind human existence, his origin, his value and his fate which portrays man as dependent and unable to defend himself thus, a slave of the Supreme Being.
Its essence revolves around an individual’s sense of divinity and such individuals come together to practice their beliefs in the society and contributes to their culture. Religion touches on various aspects of human experiences with God’s divinity through faith, sacrifices and worship (Haught 24). In religion, human beings are considered inferior under the Supreme Being and are guided by certain laws which help to recognize what is sacred and what is profane. Feelings are hard to separate from religion since human adores the sacred entity and failure to abide to the laws is followed by a sense of guilt. The significance of religion is controversial although many agree that it is essential in offering moral guidance to humans to positively live. For instance, it warns of taking another person’s life or stealing other’s properties. These are some of the aspects that the legal systems duplicate and implement them in the society to guide man to live harmoniously with one another.
In addition, during sorrow e.g. death, religion comforts its followers with some like Christians believing of the promise of resurrection. However, religion is implicated with various historical wars and deaths. It is important in basing legal systems in the society.
It forcefully tangles itself with the political and economic systems in shaping the society (Haught 187). Some take advantage of it to enrich them financially and dictate other’s life to serve their personal interests. For instance, some of the churches established are meant to extract money from people’s pockets even to the extent of advertising themselves and enticing people to join them.
This portrays greed and corruption instead of upholding moral values to alleviate humanity. Religion affects people of all race and age globally and acts as a universal language for those with common believes. The social relevance of religion depends on the number of people that embrace it. If it is supported by the majority, its significance is reflected in the political systems and in the cultural values of the society. Critically, societies that strongly uphold religion are submerged in poverty which reflects its social impact since it controls the political and economic systems of that particular society. The scenario reflects what Karl Marx pointed as “Religion is the opium of the masses” (Clark 257).
Therefore, it could be used as a haven to exploit and oppress the members of the society. Poor members of the society cling to religion and the political systems may tend to support it so as to acquire social control. Elsewhere, religion may overwhelm the political systems to dominate other religions resulting to religious conflicts and civil wars
Reading in the Philosophy of Religion. New York. Broadview Press. 2000.
Print. Haught, John. What is Religion? : An Introduction. New Jersey: Paulist Press.