Religion is a social and cultural phenomenon that is an integral part of the human experience. It consists of many different beliefs, practices, and expressions that are shared by most people around the world.
Studying religion as a major is one way to develop your understanding of the world and the ways in which people interact with each other. Alternatively, you may be interested in learning about the beliefs of a specific culture or nation so that you can better connect with people who share those beliefs.
The origins of religion can be traced to either a biological or a cultural need. Those who support the idea of a biological origin believe that human beings created spirituality in response to the fear of death and the desire to go on after their death.
Those who support the idea of a cultural need say that human beings began to think about the big questions of life and death and developed the desire for immortality and hope. They also believed that a kind creator was watching over them and that they had an ultimate meaning to life.
Some scholars, such as Durkheim, use a functional approach that turns on the social function of creating solidarity among individuals. Others, such as Tillich, focus on the axiological function of providing orientation for a person’s life.
As a result, scholars may have difficulty accurately describing the multifaceted and complex nature of religion. In such cases, a “monothetic-set” definition can be helpful, as it sets out the properties of the phenomenon under investigation.