Religion is everywhere in our lives. Whether it’s a man in a turban, food in the grocery store that is Kosher, or a temple on the corner, it’s important to learn about the different types of religion and the role they play in our society. Studying religion will help you develop a more global awareness.
Religious beliefs, practices, and symbols are part of all cultures. They can range from the belief in a supreme being, to the rejection of any god or gods, to a variety of other concepts and beliefs. The study of religion also covers a wide variety of social behaviors, including rituals, worship, morality and ethics, and adherence to strict rules.
The study of religion is complex. Many scholars consider it to be a subjective subject because the criteria by which one determines religion’s truth are unclear and hard to test. However, scholars must also consider the inner sentiments that religion evokes and expresses.
While there are many different theories of religion, the concept is often framed by the idea that people create social groups with conceptions they believe to be true. These conceptions then require institutions to maintain and manage them. This is the model that Clifford Geertz popularized with his three-sided framework of the sacred, the profane, and the secular (Lincoln 2006).
Other scholars like Karl Marx have focused on the impact of religion on society, believing it helps to maintain patterns of inequality by providing a sense of meaning and purpose to working class life. They have called for a more critical and sociological approach to studying religion, which would include a recognition of the importance of social structures and the ways in which they shape human subjectivity.