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If the behaviour is not in accordance with the religions code, the behaviour or act is considered as sinful. A method of salvation is the fifth basic element of religion. Man needs some method by which he can regain harmony with the Gods through removal of guilt. In Hindu religion Moksha or Salvation represents the end of life, the realisation of an inner spirituality in man. The Hindu seeks release from the bondage of Karma, which is the joy or suffering he undergoes as a result of his actions in his life.
The ultimate end of life is to attain Moksha. The Buddhist hopes to attain Salvation by being absorbed in the Godhead and entering Nirvana. In short, religion is the institutionalised set of beliefs men hold about supernatural forces.
It is more or less coherent system of beliefs and practices concerning a supernatural order of beings, forces, places or other entities. Religion is interwoven with all aspects of human life: It has shaped domestic, economic and political institutions. Hence, it is obvious that religion performs a number of functions both for the religious group and for the wider society.
These functions of religion are discussed bellow. Religion may be said to help in the struggle for societal survival. Rushton Coulborn has shown that religion played a crucial role in the formation and early development of seven primary civilisations: Religion in each of these societies gave its members the courage needed for survival in an unfavourable environment, by giving explanations to certain aspects of the human conditions which could not be explained in a rational manner.
In present societies religion also performs this role. By relating the empirical world to the super-empirical world religion gives the individual a sense of security in this rapidly changing world.
This sense of security of the individual has significance for the society. Religion acts as a unifying force and hence, promotes social integration in several ways.
Religion plays an important part in crystallising, symbolising and reinforcing common values and norms. It thus provides support for social standards, socially accepted behaviour. Common faith, values and norms etc. As the individuals perform rituals collectively their devotion to group ends is enhanced.
Through a ritual individual expresses common beliefs and sentiments. It thus helps him to identify himself more with his fellows, and to distinguish himself more from members of other groups, communities or nations. By distinguishing between holy and unholy things, religion creates sacred symbol for the values and this symbol becomes the rallying point for all persons who share the same values.
The cow as a sacred symbol of the Hindus, for example, is a rallying point which gives cohesion to Hindu society. Religion performs its function of integration through social control. It regulates the conduct of individuals by enforcing moral principles on them and by prescribing powerful sanctions against them for violation.
It is the ultimate source of social cohesion. The primary requirement of society is the common possession of social values by which individuals control the actions of self and others and through which society is perpetuated. These social values emanate from religious faith.
Religion is the foundation upon which these values rest. Children should obey their parents, should not tell a lie or cheat, women should be faithful to men; people should be honest and virtuous are some of the social values which maintain social cohesion. It is religion that asks man to renounce unsocial activities and requires him to accept limitations upon his wants and desires.
All the religions have preached love and non-violence. They have emphasized sacrifice and forbearance. It is one of the means of informal means of social control. Religion not only defines moral expectations for members of the religious group but usually enforces them.
It supports certain types of social conduct by placing the powerful sanctions of the supernatural behind them. It makes certain forms of social behaviour as offences not only against society but also against God. Hence, any violation of the acceptable norm is punishable not only by God but by society. Hinduism gives sanction to the caste system which regulates social relations of various classes in India. Religion encourages people to render services to the needy and poor and promote their welfare.
It develops philanthropic attitude of people. Help and assistance are rendered to poor and destitute persons due to religion inspiration. It is believed that one can obtain the cherished goal of religion by way of giving alms and assistance to the helpless and needy persons. In this way religion promotes the welfare of individuals, groups and community. The priesthood often was dedicated to art and culture. The priests laid the foundations of medicine.
Magic supplied the roots of observation and experimentation from which science developed. It also inculcated the habit of charity among the people who opened many charitable institutions like hospitals, rest houses, temples to help the needy and the poor. Religion serves to soothe the man in times of his suffering and disappointment.
In this world man often suffers disappointment even in the midst of all hopes and achievements. The things for which he strives are in some measure always denied to him. When human hopes are blighted, when all that was planned and striven for has been swept away, man naturally wants something to console and compensate him.
When a son dies man seeks to assuage his grief in ritualistic exchanges of condolence. On God he puts faith and entertains the belief that some unseen power moves in mysterious ways to make even his loss meaningful. Faith in God compensates him and sustains his interest in life and makes it bearable.
In this way religion helps man to bear his frustrations and encourages him to accept his lot on earth. Man unites himself with the infinite and feels ennobled. Through unity with the infinite the self is made majestic and triumphant. Man considers himself the noblest work of God with whom he shall be united and his self thus becomes grand and luminous.
Besides this, religion shapes domestic, economic and political institutions. Religion supports institutional pattern more explicitly. All the great religions of the world have attempted to regulate kinship relations, especially marriage and family. Political institutions are often sanctioned by religion: Religious rites are performed on many occasions in relation to vital events and dominant interests: Religion is the central element in the life of civilisation.
Religion has also performed some other services to humanity among which Sumner and Keller included the provision of work, the spread of education, the accumulation of capital and the creation of a leisure class.
For thousands of years, religion has exerted a great influence over economic and political life. Even today religion is called upon to support rulers, contacts and other legal procedures.
In addition to positive functions of religion, there are some negative aspects of its social functions. Although religion is an integrative force, it may be disruptive for the society as a whole. The dysfunctions of religion are as follows.
According to Thomas F. All protests and conflicts are not always negative. Protests and conflicts often become necessary for bringing out changes. Some changes would certainly lead to positive reforms.
By inhibiting protests and preventing changes religion may postpone reforms. Social values and norms emanate from religious faith. Some of the norms which lose their appropriateness under changed conditions may also be imposed by religion. Even today, traditional Muslims face religio-ethical problems concerning interest-taking. Similar social conflict is evident in the case of birth control measures including abortion, in the Catholic world. Religion often makes its followers dependent on religious institutions and leaders.
But it does not develop an ability in them to assume individual responsibility. For example, a good number of people in India prefer to take the advises of priests and religious leaders before starting some ventures. But they do not take the suggestion of those who are competent in the field. In its course of development religion has supported and promoted evil practices such as cannibalism, slavery, untouchability, human and animal sacrifice etc.
As religion interprets misfortune and suffering in this world as manifestations of the supernatural order itself, it sanctifies the existing social structure. Religion preaches submission to the existing socio-economic condition and to fate.
It is the opiate of the people. Religion is the source of many superstitions. These superstitions have caused harm to human being. Superstitions like evil spirits and ghosts cause diseases; poverty is the desire of the God etc. Religion results in inter-group conflicts by dividing people along religious lines. It is deeply related with conflicts. Wars and battles have been fought in the name of religion. Sumner and Keller are of the opinion that religion often causes economic wastes.
For example, investing huge sums of money on building temples, churches, mosques, etc. It leads to waste of human labour, energy and time. Religion creates diversities among people. It creates a gap among them. In the name of God and religion, loot, plundering, mass killing, rape and other cruel and inhuman treatments have been meted out to people. Religion has made people blind, dumb and deaf to the reality.
They have faith without reasoning which is blind. On the contrary, it has often made people to become bigots and fanatics. Bigotry and fanaticism have led to persecution, inhuman treatment and misery in the past. It preaches submission to the existing conditions and maintenance of status quo. Religion is not readily amenable to social change and progress.
Religion has tried to prevent the scientists from discovering new facts. For example, it tried to suppress the doctrines of Darwin, Huxley and others. By placing high premium on divine power religion has made people fatalistic. They think that all events in life is due to some divine power and hence due to fate.
As a result, his power and potentiality is undermined. Thus, religion affects the creativity of man. Marx has strongly criticised religion. For Marx all that was fundamental in the science of society proceeded from the material and especially the economic sphere. For him therefore religion is, to be sure, superstition, but to stop at this point is to limit religion to merely abstract belief.
It leaves the impression that religion may be dislodged simply by new, rational belief. Merely changing beliefs is not enough. The transformation of an entire social order is required, for belief is deeply rooted in the social relations of men. But man is no abstract being, squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, and society. This state, this society produce religion, a perverted world consciousness, because they are a perverted world.
Religion is the compendium of that world, its encyclopedic, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn completion, its universal ground for consolation and justification.
It is the fantastic realization of the human essence because the human essence has no true reality. Marx believed, like Luduig Feuerbach, that what man gives to God in the form of worship, he takes from himself. That is, man is persuaded through suffering or through false teaching to project what is his to a supernatural being.
But he was convinced, unlike Feuerbach, that what is fundamental is not religious forms — against which Feuerbach had urged revolt-but the economic forms of existence. But before religion can be abolished the conditions which nurture it must be done away with. Marx was an atheist as well as a great humanist.
He had profound sympathy for all who look up to religion for salvation. This is amply clear from his following observation: Change is the very essence of a living thing. A living religion must grow, must advance and must change. No form of religion is static. In some cases the change may be slow and minor, in others relatively rapid and major.
Every religion claims its first principle supreme, original and eternal. Hence, there is also an element of censure for change. Broadly, there are three types of changes in religion: Contact with complex form of religion adds many new elements in the simple form of tribal religion. For example, with the gradual spread of Vaishnavism in chhotanagpur, the Oraons tribe which lives in that region, began to reorganise traditional faith.
There are also examples of simplification of complex form of religion, specially of rituals and ceremonies. In the 19 century, Brahmo Samaj again tried to simplify the complex nature of Brahmanic Hinduism.
Mixing of more than one form has caused development of new religious organisation. The most excellent example is of Sophism. It has evolved from Persian, Zoroastrianism and Arab Islamism. The history of the development of religion shows that as mankind moves from small isolated village towards large, complex, urban, industrialised society the character of influence of religion on man and his life changes.
In the earlier phases of religion the primary needs of mankind, those concerned with the necessities of life, played a dominant part.
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Religion does not change characters but help them find a higher power spiritually or perhaps to cope with deeper issues. It reveals the true identity of characters personalities and if .
1. Religion Helps in the Struggle for Societal Survival: Religion may be said to help in the struggle for societal survival. Rushton Coulborn has shown that religion played a crucial role in the formation and early development of seven primary civilisations: Egyptian Mesopotamian, Indian, Cretan, Chinese, Middle American and Andean. Unmatched Religion and Theology Essay Help Facility: Praise worthy religion essay obliges the inscriber to collect a significant aggregate of information from the religious books. Plus a religious document should be inscribed in a manner that makes the reader curious, developing an urge to read more.
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