Functions of Religion in Society
In its simplest form any religion may be seen as a belief system. This system may affect values, laws, customs, rites and general behaviour patterns. Religion may affect the individual, group, community or nation. It may play a peripheral or an integral role within society. Its structure may be as complex as any large organisational bureaucracy or as simple as a two-way relationship between a person and object/subject of worship. The function of religion in a society is often to explain to the people in that society their primal origins, the nature of life, the function and aims of life and reasons for living. To put it simply, to answer the question "why am I here"? In the past religion has been used as a control mechanism, a way of
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Many religions tend to focus on a 'God figure'. Some religions have more than one 'God figure' (Polytheistic) as an object/subject of reverence and worship. The reliance on religious symbols, sacred objects is common to all religions as is the firm belief in reincarnation or 'a life' after death. The variety of religious practices is consistent with the diversity of cultures and the limitless paths humans have sought in order to make sense of their world. These religious practices are given legitimacy and credence in written documents which in themselves may offer an enlightened path for the follower. Christians have their Bible, Hindus study the Vedas, Jews read the Talmud, Moslems find enlightenment in the Koran and the Chinese may study the writings of Confucius.
Many religions face a paradox with the presence of a divine creator who is pure, good and benevolent existing in a world of evil, of suffering, of