Can Society Exist Without Religion?
If one were to ask whether early human societies could have existed without religion, the answer would be a resounding no. Their collective knowledge was simply not considerable enough to explain the pertinent questions about life that faced them everyday. It’s human nature to seek answers to the unknown, and with each generation the human race is becoming exponentially more intelligent; able to explain more about our world with each new discovery. Although religion was an essential institution in early societies, a greater universal understanding, and acceptance of new ideas has devalued its importance in modern times. The vitality of religion to early societies is undeniable. Because, unlike other animals, humans are born with very few
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It has been proven that this ban was not some great divine foresight, exercised and passed on by Hindu gods to their subjects. “The earliest Vedas, the Hindu sacred texts from the second millennium B.C., do not prohibit the slaughter of cattle.” The passages that consecrated cows were incorporated into texts by priests of a later period (Harris 462). This suggests that not killing cows was a survival adaptation, that, when recognized for it’s value, was incorporated into religion to reinforce it. In Berger’s terms, the farmers who didn’t kill their cows survived and externalized this practice. This practice spread until it became an objective reality for that society, the members of that society then internalized the practice and it became part of the society’s nomos. This vital part of the Hindu religion was not, in fact, a reflection of the cosmos. It was an adaptation that humans went through and subsequently reinforced through religion. This idea, in Berger’s eyes, is a cause of anomy.
New knowledge and insight such as this that can’t be explained by religion, by his logic, should cause our society to fall into chaos; but it hasn’t. The strength of a nomos depends on the idea that nothing exists outside of that nomos, but in an increasingly globalized culture we are exposed to ideas that exist outside of our nomos every day. Due to this increased exposure to different