Why Study Religion?

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It seems as if there has never been a time known to man when there has not been a religion in some shape or form. Nor has there been a race of people who have never tried to practice it in some form or another. The study of religion should not be regarded as a new venture for mankind or a new idea that man is trying to grasp. Also, it could be argued that by researching such a topic as religion, it does not look like man will come to any unified agreement in the near future - especially if it all comes down to what religion means to you, and whether you believe in such a thing or not. So what is religion? Can it be a way of life? Does there have to be the existence of a supernatural? Furthermore, what are the consequences if we ignore it? Clifford Geertz sees religion as “a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, persuasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.” One has to keep the definition of religion fairly loose in order to encompass the many diverse religions of the world. If we familiarize ourselves with the essence of many of the world's religions then it is possible to find that they contain some similarities such as rituals, morality, and heritage. The study of religion should involve an in-depth knowledge of facts concerning the world's religions and about how these religions have evolved throughout history. It is quite possible that there has never been any race of people since the beginning of man on earth that can claim that they have no religion. The study of religion should not just involve the study of a few insignificant groups of people but it should necessitate the study of the whole of mankind. This could be regarded as a powerful if not intriguing subject. Studying religion may be understood as just a collection of ideas or concepts which relate to God or some other kind of supernatural entity....
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