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A discussion of the influence of religion on humankind

Reno [1] Resilience amid Change How relevant is religion? As times change, new circumstances present new challenges and possibilities. And yet, through it all, this immemorial longing we call religion continues on. In the 1960s, sociologists came to a consensus that religion was fading. As knowledge and freedom increased, they theorized, so modern society would outgrow religion.

Thirty years later, however, that hypothesis was reversed.

One of these sociologists, Peter Berger, explained the miscalculation this way: On the contrary, in much of the world there has been a veritable explosion of religious faith. Religion, it can be said, is just as relevant now as it has ever been.

Chapter 11: The Influence of Three Agents of Religious Socialization: Family, Church, and Peers

The value of religion speaks less through sermons and more through the soup kitchens, hospitals, schools and countless other humanitarian works it nurtures. Simply put, religion builds social capital. Research shows that more than 90 percent of those who attend weekly worship services donate to charity, and nearly 70 percent volunteer for charitable causes.

It might surge in one part of the world and decline in another.

  • Faith and society, therefore, are intertwined in important ways;
  • In addition to the physical, social and cognitive changes experienced during the teenage and young adult years, individuals are much more likely to be confronted with alternative worldviews and their attendant life-styles, as well as new friendship choices;
  • Those teenagers who attend church on a regular basis are more likely to attend seminary, but attendance at seminary is not as likely to influence attendance at religious services;
  • Conclusions The primary importance of the family is apparent in this research, although in somewhat unexpected ways.

In America, for example, religion is in a state of flux. The number of those who claim no religious affiliation nearly doubled from 8. And among those under 30 years old, disaffiliation jumps to 32 percent.

  1. Along with the construction of a religious worldview, the individual must also learn the norms and expectations of the religious group.
  2. The same pattern holds for the correlation between YATTEND and religious belief and commitment, although the differences are not as great. In the following discussion, the size of relevant path coefficients will be noted within parentheses.
  3. Home religious observance has a slight positive influence on seminary attendance. We are less able to account for the variance in personal religiosity than we are to account for the variance in institutional religiosity, but even so, the overall amount of explained variance using religious socialization variables is less than one-fourth.

Conflicts sometimes arise when religious organizations or individuals share their views of right and wrong in the public sphere. Tension can be seen, for example, in rules banning religious clubs from college campuses or in regulations curbing the conscience of health care practitioners. Public figures and regular citizens often hesitate to articulate their religious values to avoid controversy.

This separation of religion from public life is a feature of what is often called secularism. What does religion mean in the actual lives of people? What role does religion play in forming communities? The Good of Religion Human beings are religious by nature. They seek a higher purpose outside themselves.

Whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or other, religion offers a framework by which people find meaning, belonging and identity. American Grace found that religious observance is linked to higher civic involvement, connected to trust and correlated with the neighborly virtues of charitable giving, volunteerism and altruism.

The Relevance of Religion

Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. Each can benefit from the other. The encounter between the two can be a productive tension that provides opportunities to learn, not contradictions to avoid. Mormons, for example, believe that "the glory of God is intelligence. Science can explain much of the human experience, but without faith we lack ultimate meaning.

Modernity in Fragments With its teeming plurality of choices and possibilities, our modern world presents unique challenges to religion. Endless philosophies, ideologies and truth claims clamor for attention, magnified by instantaneous media.

Globalization pushes peoples and cultures together. Different religions and worldviews interact and collide. Personal preferences alone become a guide in dealing with moral dilemmas.

  • How Religion Divides and Unites Us;
  • In the 1960s, sociologists came to a consensus that religion was fading.

In this flux individuals can feel isolated and become disconnected from their communities. Modernity, therefore, is not just one thing; it is a commotion of many things. But it can tend toward fragmentation.

Religious Influence in Society

Skeptics have misread and underestimated the religious impulse in the human spirit. Secular thinker Terry Eagleton describes the situation over the past century this way: The conclusion of William James is fitting: The roots of religion are so deeply planted in the values of society that to pull them up would unsettle the whole.

Virtually all of us, believers or not, practice values laden with religious meaning. Our modern aspirations toward human rights and humanitarian aid, for example, have long religious pedigrees. Religious values should not be dismissed from the public square any more than the vast array of other positive values. Faith and society, therefore, are intertwined in important ways.

As long as we continue to seek meaning, purpose and community, religion will remain not only relevant but an essential part of what it means to be human.

How Religion Divides and Unites Us. Putnam and David E. Simon and Schuster, 2010491. It is worth noting here that though religious unaffiliation is not the same as irreligion — two-thirds of the people in this group say they still believe in God — it does indicate a diminished confidence in churches and religious institutions. Harvard University Press, 20073. Schocken Books, 2011101. Simon and Schuster, 2010. Princeton University Press, 201252.