How Religion Shapes Society Essay

Introduction

Religion and the society are termed as issues that cannot be separated very easily. Religion is said to be an element which shapes the society whereas the vice versa is also true that the society shapes the religion that individuals will often follow. Religion refers to the organized approach to human spirituality which is based on a strong belief in a super natural power or powers that control human destiny. Many other orientations also define religion as the set of beliefs regarding the nature and purpose of the creation. Society on the other hand refers to the cooperation of social groups whose members have formed organized patterns of relationships through one another (Cline, 2008). So many communities of the world have a strong attachment towards a particular religion e.g. the Hindus believe that Brahma Kumarism is the one true religion and other religions are path of ignorance. Brahma is based on a god called Shiva who is said to be able to destroy all other religions.

Religion before the Second World War

Before World War II there were several states that had not obtained the truth about religion and they kept pushing away the idea that a religion can be able to influence the society and control the behaviours of people. The organization of religion in Germany for example was in form of a flag ship nation for atheism that represented the whole of Europe. Since Germany is said to have been the active participant of the World War II, the state of Europe is known for the advent of several religions that came up after this war. The elites during the time of the World War II are said to have been the main group who had the knowledge about religion and they often used force to change the other people in the population including the leaders of the several empires that had been developed. After the World War II there was the development of the religion in many of the states. Many states realized the importance of having certain religions in place. The many vices which had taken place during the war were seen as issues that could be eradicated by letting religion to take over. The overall religious involvement of people in this new era gave rise to reduced vices in the society (Edwin, 1998).

Theology which is often regarded as a learned profession in a particular school of religious beliefs and teachings is a phenomenon that over the years has helped to describe the relationship between society and religion. The most common form of theology which is regarded as Christian theology is an attempt to understand God as He is revealed in the bible. Theology helps Christian to dig deeper into God’s word to discover what He has revealed about himself.  In theology God is understood as the creator, sustainer and judge of all things. Through this the codes which are in the bible often are used to control the activities of individuals in the society.

There is a general belief that when individuals commit sin by not following the codes that have been stipulated in the bible, there is a possibility that the individual will be punished by God. Theology therefore has a direct connection with the society because the activities which are said to help run the society in a peaceful manner and in a harmonious manner are normally drawn from the bible.

Christianity and Judaism and impact on society

Christianity and Judaism are thought to be some of the largest religions that have affected the US so much (Molloy, 2008). Today the largest religion with the highest population in the US is Christianity and Judaism. This however has and a great influence on the society in which individual are said to have adopted a certain behaviour in which the Christians and the Jews are attributed to. The Christians in the US for example, according to some recent research indicate that the population is about 76% of the population in 2008. This Christian religion was started way back in European colonial era. The majority of these Christians are the Protestants, followed by the Catholics and there are also the Mormons. Although this was an issue that became very restricted for along time, Christianity today has spread to several ethnic communities in America and now the multi ethnic members and parishes are involved in the Christian religions (Cline, 2008).

The Judaists on the other hand are remarkably very distinct and recognized in America. This is the third largest religion after the Christians and the Atheists. Jews are said to have been present in America since the 17th century although ion the 19th century a great number moved in and settled in this Enormous country. The reason why there was no initial settlement was due the persecutions that were being done to them by the Europeans of the eastern part of the US (Edwin, 1998). Judaism is a strong religion that is associated with the Jewish community which is basically an ethnic community rather than a religious or cultural issue. This however has cause several issue that has become vices in the states. Most of the Jews have been noted to be hiding in this religion yet their actions are not the right actions which are desirable in the society.

Politics and religion

Politics is an issue that cannot be separated with the society. The arrangement of the political system normally controls how the society will run. If the political system therefore of a certain society is not a desired one, then the society will not live in harmonious manner since it will not have a leader in whom the whole process of leading is vested in. Politics can affect the religion that is in a place since in many societies the political leaders are often trusted and therefore if they subscribe to some form of religion then there is a high chance that the rest of the population will follow suit. Many politicians however follow the atheistic nature of religion whereby they belief that God does not exist. This is a form of religion that has negatively impacted in the society by letting people to have some negative attitudes towards the society. Atheists do not often want to follow the rules that have been set by the Christians which are values that can bring a desirable system in the society but they insist on having their own rules which often clash and cause chaos in the society.

History of religiosity in the US

Religiosity in the US dates back to the 17th century when the first religion, the protestants began their work in the US. There after the Catholics and the Mormons followed and this paved way for other religions like Judaism and Islam. During the dark period, that is the period that is before third time, there were several activities which took place in the US yet it was not desirable in the society. Many of the Christians and other religion followers were being persecuted and their leaders being hanged. Many vices became very evident in the society. There were no rules to prevent the persecution. This trend went all the way to the beginning of the second world war when the countries which were involved decided to harmonize and give way for the different religions to take action in their countries and therefore several vices which had been in place in the society was done away with(Molloy, 2008).

 Many religions subscribe to the fact that all human beings are equal. This is a very important phenomenon in the society since when such an aspect is instilled in the citizens then there will be harmony and peace among the people in the society. Religions have the general belief that when God created man he said that there will be no greater and smaller man. In his eyes we are all equal in his eyes and therefore we deserve to be treated equally. All human beings have therefore the same basic rights that include the right to worship, the right to liberty, the right to having the necessary resources which will aid in improving the lives of individuals and the right to live in harmony.

Religion, the Constitution and the society

The aspect of the constitution is a very fundamental issue in the society since a particular constitution is said to control the individual’s behaviours in a particular society. Constitution is a set of regulations which usually govern the society and is often drawn so that it suits the views and the likes of the citizens of a state. A constitution often determines the way in which individuals ought to behave in the society and the aspect of religion is therefore very fundamental to be included in any constitution since it draws the values that the individual ought to posses so that they can live together in harmony with others in the society. The constitution often dictates the religions that need to be followed in the states, most of the constitutions however will often give a general allowance which everyone in the state has a chance to worship in the form and manner in which they wish to.

 Several surveys which were done in America show that there are several religions that have been in place in the US. These religions have had great implications to the society of the US and today most of the communities in the different states of the US cannot do without religion since its thought to be controlling the behaviours that individuals are involved with in the society. The survey has confirmed that the US is on of the leading in terms of the diverse religions that it holds. These religions that are in place include the Christians, Islam, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, Judaists, the Chinese traditional religion and the primal indigenous religion (Molloy, 2008).

Founding fathers of religion

The founding fathers are thought to have contributed to a significant factor of harmonizing the otherwise bad qualities that would arise in the society in America. Most of the founding the founding fathers were prompted by the events which were taking place during the Second World War and they were therefore very concerned about the future of the citizens and the values that these societies should adopt so that the society would live harmoniously. The founding fathers are thought to be the patriots who took the religion ahead despite the many challenges like opposition that took place in the US. Some founding fathers like Thomas Paine disbelieved in the dogma professed by the Jewish church, Roman church, Greek Church, Protestant church and any church he knew. He had a strong implication on religion that it would have an effect on the society positively (Cline, 2008).

Fundamentalism is also another widespread form of religion that came into place in the US in the early civilizations. Fundamentalism refers to the strong belief in the basic principles of devotion and in the set rules and principles that are set by many of the religions and the principles are said to be established in the bible and the Koran. As a way of civilization the founding fathers saw that the only way that the spread of animosity among nations could be solved, the Christianity had to be introduced and the values which were in the bible and also in the Koran needed to be followed (Molloy, 2008).

Religion is a vital factor these days in the public thinking about controversial policy issues and political matters. An increasing number of Americans have come to view Islam as a religion that encourages hostility while a declining number say Islam has a lot in common with their own religion. The public remains divided over whether churches should stay out of politics, even as large numbers say they are comfortable with expressions of faith by political leaders. There is evidence that presidential vote may provoke deep religious divisions over social issues, especially homosexual marriage. Prayer is a form of communication or a way of talking to God pleading on something.

 Christians often pray so that their pleas can be heard by God and therefore their evil doings forgiven and granted some form of peace and unity. This fundamental issue in Christians is said to be very essential especially for the development of the societal values that are desirable thus the strong connection between religion and the society.

There are several people that are significantly known for their contribution to the religion that has shaped the society in America today. One the people is Kennedy. He was the catholic president during the beginning of the era of Christianity in America. He advocated for the rights of all to have their right and freedom of choice to worship. Through his great standing on the principles that were seen to be good for the society, he was elected into office at a very tender age and won several prizes for his efforts in trying to push for the right of worship among the Americans including the Pulitzer price. He led several movements which were in support of Catholicism in America which included the Civil rights movement in America, the space race, the building of the Berlin war, the Cuban Missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion. Another renowned supporter of the Christian movement was Kerry (Edwin, 1998). He had a very strong support for Catholicism as a religion that would shape the world and especially the US as a nation. He led the famous movement in support of harmonizing religion and politics. He believed in doing things at the right time since he said postponing would mean things not being done.

Religion and institutions

Although religion is thought to be a concept in which the church alone is involved in spreading it, several other institutions have embraced the idea and there are several positive attributes that are attached to the Christianity. Schools for example in the US are developed from a religious point of view so that some particular schools are attributed to some kind of religion in them (Molloy, 2008). The concept that the school is a place to mold the student is becoming of great concern and religious orientations belief that if the school is built on some aspect on religion then it will hold some values which are very beneficial for the child. Other institutions as well are slowly adopting the issue of religion and there is a strong belief that in the near future there will be change of behaviours especially in the higher institutions of learning if religion is taken to higher levels in these places.

Several aspects also have contributed to the balance of Christianity and the societal living in America. The economy of the US has over the time been associated with religion. While economics refers to the science of production and utilization of resources, there have been several aspects of Christianity that have either affected the development of economy positively or negatively. In the US, for example several holidays are often associated with religions. Some days have been set aside for worshipping and this has had a detriment on the economy because during such times, the workforce becomes smaller.

The Muslims for example often held their religious ceremonies for over forty days and this therefore implies that they cannot be working at that particular time. The media has also played a very vital role in the institution of religion in the society of the US. Often the focus on the media is in the society and therefore some of the vices and values which the media often attracts is said to have an impact on the society (Cline, 2008). Scientists have also an influence on the society and religion in that they have tried to pin down and disapprove the reality about Christianity. A society in which there would be many scientists therefore would mean that there would be a lot of belief in Atheism and more vices in the society would be experienced.

Conclusion

Religion and the society are two aspects that cannot be separated. Religion has over the years been known to shape the society in terms of bringing in values that are very essential and which are considered harmonious and will bring peace in the society. A society in which it has not adopted the aspect of religion is said to be very volatile because the growth of issues like spread of unnecessary behaviours is very common. The society in the US today is thought to be shaped by the many religions that are in place today and the institutions that are in place are slowly getting to understand the truth about this fact.

References:

Cline, A. (2008) The Economics of Society and Religion: Karl Marx’s Economic

            Theories, Oxford University Press

Edwin, G (1998), Historical background of religion in America and its impact on the

            society, New York: Harper and Row

Molloy, M (2008) Experiencing the Worlds Religions 4th edition, New York:

Mc- GrawHill

Religion, State and Society: Marxism ; Communism and Religion, a magazine published

 July, 1992 by Routledge

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