Religion has affected society both positively and negatively throughout life. Most religions promote and educate individuals in social virtues; how to choose right over wrong regardless of personal desire (Fisher, 2005). Many charities feed, cloth, and shelter the homeless all in the name of their God and acting on their faith. Unfortunately, while organized religion promotes faith in positive social virtues it also can instill fear and oppress its follower at times. The followers who see the founder of a religion to be extraordinary or supernatural could be mislead by a dishonest and unethical leader (Fisher, 2005).
According to French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) humans need organized social structures like religion to live (as cited in Fisher, 2005, p. 23). Along with teaching social virtues such as, love, compassion, and harmony religion also shows and leads the way through spreading faith and good-will onto others by action. Convoy of hope has served more than 37 million people around the world since 1994 (Convoy, 2010). By combining forces with faith-based community entities, they were one of the first humanitarian aid groups who came to help victims of Haiti after a major Earthquake on January 12, 2010 by providing them with food and clothing (Convoy, 2010).
One of the negatives of institutionalizing religion is that more energy can be put into focusing on the founder and the outer forms instead of on the inner workings and spirit of the religion itself (Fisher, 2005). Some followers may become obsessed with the founder of the religion and may have no genuine connection to divine wisdom (Fisher, 2010). Charisma followers who displayed such were members of the Family lead by Charles Manson. It was never proven that Charles Manson killed anyone directly but was convicted of murder and sentenced to death for his commandment on his followers to do so (Rosenberg, 2010). He ordered his followers to go to a certain place and murder the...
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