Why Study Religion? Essay

1472 words - 6 pages

This was my first essay in the University.Why Study Religion?It seems as if there has never been a time known to man when therehas never been a religion in some guise or another. Nor has therebeen a race of people who have never tried to practice it in someshape or form. The study of religion should not be regarded as a newventure for mankind or a new idea that man is trying to grasp andunderstand. Also, it could be argued that by researching such aphenomena as religion, it does not look like man will come to anyunified agreement in the near future. Especially, if it all comesdown to what religion means to you, and whether you believe in such athing or not.So what is religion? Can it be a way of life?, Does there have to bean element of the supernatural? and what are the consequences if weignore it? Cliffard Geertz sees religion as 'a system of symbols wichacts to establish powerful, pervasive and long lasting moods andmotivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order ofexistence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura offactuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.'One has to keep the definition of religion fairly loose in order toencompass the many diverse religions of the world. If we familiariseourselves with the essence of many of the worlds religions then wewould find they contain simple comparisons such as, rituals, moralityand heritage.The study of religion should involve in-depth knowledge into acollection of facts about the worlds religions and about how thesereligions have evolved throughout history. It is quite possiblethat there has never been any race of people since the beginning ofman on earth that can claim that they have no religion. The study ofreligion should not just involve the study of a few insignificantgroups of people but it should necessitate the study of the whole ofmankind. This could be regarded as a powerful if not intriguingsubject. Studying religion may be understood as just a collection ofideas or concepts which relate to God or some other kind ofsupernatural entity. Sometimes it merely comes down to one group ofpeople arguing that their source of revelation is more correct thanthat of some other group which has competing claims, but surely itmust be something much more deeper than this because it might besomething that is far more closer to home than we think. Therefore,to study religion is to study ourselves because religion cannot existwithout the emergence of man. Religion arouses mans feelings,affects how he thinks and the way he behaves in certain conditions,either individually or in a group, and also what effects these issueshave upon each other.Science uses the criteria of 'fact' and 'theory' in its study methodswhich in collaboration with real life applications can yield verypositive results. Every religion has a similar criteria, and that is'truth' and 'falsehood', but this formula is quite inter-changeableas regards to the study of religions. So one cannot...

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