Religion is a powerful force, which brings together societal members in a common form of worship. It is deeply ingrained in the hearts of the people. Religion influences the existence of human society in all realms of life, including social, political and cultural perspectives. Religion has a long history that cannot be traced back to the exact date. Religion is the essence of the force that influences human behavior in society. They contain beliefs and practices that help to shape the action and behavior of its believers. Religions are positive and strive to shape the actions and behavior of their believers. Another fundamental characteristic that can be evident in the region is that most of them believe in the existence of a supreme being who controls all the human society.
Sociologists view religion from different perspectives and explain how it influences human society. Sociologists are more concerned with religion because of the influence that it has on society. Historically religion has remained as one of the most dominant forces that influences the actions and lives of human beings. There are many beliefs and practices performed by diverse religions around the world, which generate a mutual relationship among believers of the same religion.
Believers of a certain religion always perceive their religion as the only true form of worship that is supposed to be followed by the entire members of the universe. However, sociologists view religion from an empirical and objective perspective. Sociologists examine religions independently and distance themselves from the theory and mysteries that surround religion and come up with an independent explanation. However, none of the explanations given by the sociologist can be monopolized, since sociologists come up with a different explanation, which none can be construed as the sole truth.
Religion is a concept that has been introduced to schools as a subject of study. This idea was introduced by sociologists as an object of study in schools. The main aim of the study practiced in schools is to examine the influence of religion in society in all spheres of life. One of the main challenges when focusing on religion as an object of study is that, many students find intimidated when their religion is not recognized as the dominant one. In western countries, religion is the centre of power that influences all facets of human existence.
Christianity is the commonest religion in western countries, and as a consequence, it is embedded in almost all the institutions of power that govern the society. In Europe, most of the people are Catholics who exert a powerful influence on politics and social life at large.
In contemporary society, religion is changing, for instance in Christianity, intermarriages, migrations and interactions of people from different corners of the world have resulted in diversification of the religion. A lot of division has been noted during the 21st century. However, all converge to the same belief of the existence of God who is the creator and controller of the world. Nevertheless, diversity is also noted in the beliefs and practices conducted by the Christian fraternity.
Importance of Sociology of Religion
Sociology plays a fundamental role in explaining the rationale behind religious influence in society. Sociology tries to explain how different religions influence the behavior of their believers. It is also essential in explaining the integral role that region plays in the politics of different nations. Sociologists also use various theories and try to explain the bond that exists among members of certain religious affiliations. Most religious beliefs and practices are fascinating. All religious groups perform unique practices when bringing in new members. These beliefs and practices form a strong bond that unites all the members of a certain religious entity.
Sociologists view religion as a powerful force that influences the behaviors of members of its believers. Religion denominations contain an accepted code of behaviors that are supposed to be followed by its believers. All matters of social concern are addressed, for instance the issue of morality is mostly focused on all religious groups. Members affiliated with certain religious groups, for example, Christians are supposed to uphold moral uprightness. Purity is one of the greatest virtues held by the most religious group. Religion, therefore, plays an integral role in condemning the vices such as corruption, immorality, among others in society.
Rational Choice Theory
Rational choice theory of religion is a sociological perspective on religion and explains religion based on economic language. This theory attributes that religion emerged to serve the demanding human needs in society. The theory postulates that religion’s purpose is to reflect the rationale behind the inevitable and constant needs of society. The meaning of life and the existence of the supernatural force are some of the aspects that are emphasized in this theory. It uses the economic concept of rewards and cost to explain the structure and functioning of the religion. Human beings seek religion to gain rewards and get to know the truth behind intricate concepts in life, for example, life after death. Almost all human beings have needs that require religious compensation to make life complete.