Topics: Religion, Sociology, Sociology of religion Pages: 4 (1224 words) Published: October 8, 2013
Religion is a system of beliefs with symbols and rituals with or without god (Giddens 2009). Religion has given people cultural meaning and has defined the norms and values. The role of religion can be seen in both the personal and social aspects throughout history. People mentally needed the religion, not only due to the faith and rituals, but also because it was the only exhaustive system which has included all sorts of rules. By transition from renaissance to industrialisation and the start of modern era, and with assistance of the new findings of science, human’s awareness has developed. Therefore, the modern human has become brave enough to break the religious tabos. Then, holly books and fear of hell have been replaced with civil law and human right. So, the role of religion has decreased during the timer and religions have retreated back to personal life, and most of western governments become secular. It is often suggested that religion arose from the fear of the unpredictability of nature. Primitive humans have had to live in rough condition in the nature. They did not know how to overcome flood, famine, thunder and storm. Their curiosity brought them to ask questions which have resulted to science and technology, but it seems that it was not enough at the time. They needed something to make them calm and confident. They believed some supernatural powers control the nature. So, they assume they can connect to the powers with some rituals. Many different form of primitive religion have known with or without one up to several gods and goddess. For instance, totemism was one of them. Totem usually was a planet or animal which was sacred and people did not have the right to eat or use them. Totem could be the symbol of a clan and the reason of the respect was a combination of superstitions and reality such as protection the environment (Durkheim 1976). The function of religion in the past was varied from determining norms, values, rituals and political...

References: Durkheim, E 1976, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (translated by Joseph Ward Swain): Unwin Brothers Limited Old Working.
Gerth, H. & Mill, C. Wright 1977, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New York: Oxford University Press.
Giddens, A 2009, Sociology, 6th edition, UK, Polity Press
Marx, K 1843, Marxist Internet Archive, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Viewed 22 August 2013,
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