THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF RELIGION
Rev. Dr. UKOMA
Nwibo, Joseph Nwamkpuma (Rev.)
In partial fulfillment of the course: The Institutionalization of Religion (Rel.744) for the Award of M.A. in Religion and Society
Department of Religion and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts;
EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY
Table of Contents
1. Institutionalization of Religion – General Introduction 2. Institutionalization of Christian Religion
3. Institutionalization of Islamic Religion
4. Institutionalization of African Religion
5. Institutionalization of Judaism
6. Institutionalization of Buddhism
7. Institutionalization of Hinduism
8. Institutionalization of Confucianism
In the tradition of Durkheim and Otto, he argues that the starting point for the analysis of all religious organizations is the recognition of the unique quality of the “sacred” or “holy.” From this vantage point O'Dea argues that all religious groups must cope with the problem of “transforming the religious experience to render it continuously available to the mass of men and to provide for it a stable institutional context.” All religious groups, in order to survive, must communicate the uniqueness of their message or the immediacy of the religious experience from one generation to the next, and this calls for its institutionalization.
What is Religion?
Religion is a universal phenomenon. Man having been created by God in His image because became religious from origin. To the present, man continues to be dependent on a Power or powers for those aspects of man’s life which man cannot control. According to Thomas F. O'Dea, “Religion is first of all a response and a response is to something experienced. The religious response is a response to the ultimate and the sacred which are grasped as relevant to human life and its fundamental significance.” Religious response is indeed peripheral and residual to the day-to-day life of men and the penultimate ends of that life and related to them only as their ultimate ontological underpinning, and yet it is central to the religious life. Speaking on the institutionalization of Religion, Thomas F. O'Dea opines since institutionalization involves the symbolic and organizational embodiment of the experience of the ultimate in less-than-ultimate forms and the concomitant embodiment of the sacred in profane structures, it involves in its very core a basic antinomy that gives rise to severe functional problems for the religious institution. In fact this profound heterogeneity at the center of religious institutionalization constitutes a severe and unavoidable dilemma from which problems arise for religious movements and institutions that recur again and again and can never be finally solved. Moreover, since the religious experience is spontaneous and creative and since institutionalization means precisely reducing these unpredictable elements to established and routine forms, the dilemma is one of great significance for the religious movement. Religion is important to man. NCE/DLS Course Book on Christian Religious Study by NTI (1990:47) gives us the following as the benefits of religion to man:
1. It reveals the divine nature of man; it distinguishes man from animal 2. It leads to human satisfaction
3. It protects man, a shield to him
4. It encourages man to ‘kick on’ in life
5. It is a link to the superior power (personal)
6. It provides individuals with courage and anticipated satisfaction. It’s a source of hope; 7. It makes one to ensure difficult situations
8. It is a solution to the problem of evil
9. It leads one to live a better life in the world and a promise of life eternal in future 10. It offers a working plan of salvation.