The question of how to define the term religion has been incessant with its diversity leaving scholars unable to develop a universal definition that is uncontentious ( Dawes & Maclaurin, 2012, p. 12).
Most definitions on religion are influenced a scholar’s beliefs and practices. Example, Durkheim defines religion as “…a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things…that unite into one single moral community called a church.” (Durkheim, 1915).
The Role of Religion in Society
Despite of the difference in definition, religion serves a crucial purpose in society. First, when believers come together to worship and pray they develop common sentiments which may include engaging in various humanitarian activities. These activities include building running orphanages hospitals and homes for the less privileged members of the society.
Second, religion is founded on values such as respect, love, kindness, and honesty. Such values are vital in shaping the mind and character of a person. By developing such moral consciousness in individuals, religion is instrumental role in maintaining social order.
Religion also plays a vital role in creating a feasible opportunity for human interactions. It promotes social networking enabling people sharing similar values and ideologies to help each other spiritually and in difficult times.
Fourthly, religion also influence the political systems in society. Even though religion might be considered as a political deterrence (Omelicheva & Ahmed, 2018, p. 5), political campaigns often includes religious issues in a bid to gain the believer’s votes (Froese, 2014 p. 650).
Religion is thus a complex topic which no single definition can conclusively define. On the upshot, it plays a vital role in society including maintaining social order, influencing political systems, promopting social networking and helping needy members of society.
Ahmed, R. & Omelicheva, M. Y. (2018). Religion and politics: examining the impact of faith on political participation. Religion, State and Society, 48(1), 4-25. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09637494.2017.1363345?scroll=top&needAccess=true
Durkheim, E. (1915). The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912), translated by Joseph Ward Swain.
Froese, P. (2014). Religion and American Politics from a Global perspective. Religions, 5, 648-662. Retrieved from www.mdpi.com/jounal/religions
Maclaurin, J., & Dawes, G. (2012). What is Religion?: Identifying the Explanandum. In G. D. Maclaurin, & G. D. Maclaurin (Ed.), A New Science of Religion (pp. 11-25). Routeledge. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261216359_What_is_Religion_Identifying_the_Explanandum