Functions of religion in society and human life
Many people find it difficult to understand why todaya religion is needed. And this is not surprising, because the window is the XXI century, when it seems that all the phenomena of nature have long been explained from the point of view of science, and the dogmas of Christianity, Islam and other religions have lost all meaning.
But this is only at first glance.If we look deeper into this issue, it turns out that the functions of religion in society today are as relevant as in the Middle Ages. Let's look at everything in order.
How did the first religions originate?
With full certainty, what religion wasfirst, impossible, most likely, it was one of the pagan beliefs. Humanity at the dawn of its formation could not explain the seemingly simple phenomena of nature, whether it be thunder, lightning or wind. So people began to deify nature around them.
This was done with several purposes - it was soit is easier to understand nature and control the fear of the unknown. The people had their gods-protectors, which gave them confidence in life, in war, in campaigns and sailing. This is well traced in the example of Ancient Greece, where each profession had its supreme patron.
Later, there was a need for newbeliefs, old religions no longer corresponded to the development of the society - many of them lacked morality, which led to the disintegration of society. Partly for this reason, early Christianity was so rapidly spread, because in it the functions of religion were evenly spelled out in the form of commandments.
Religion as a deterrent to animal instincts
The basis in any religion is the moralteaching, that is, the propagation of positive qualities inherent in man, and deterring the negative. Positive characteristics include kindness (love your neighbor as yourself), honesty, sincerity, etc. And to the negative - envy, greed, lust and other vices inherent in man.
In his teaching, Jesus emphasized the importance of love forneighbor, self-sacrifice. Symbolical and his crucifixion on the cross, which means not so much the redemption of the sins of all mankind, as much as self-sacrifice: he gave the most precious thing that he had - his life - for the sake of people. Thus, an example of disinterestedness was given to people.
The social functions of religion in society aremaintaining a balance between animal instincts and human qualities. And one of the key tasks of religion is to regulate a person's behavior so that he does not succumb to his weaknesses and does not do anything bad.
World outlook function of religion
The human consciousness is arranged in such a way thatrequires a clear explanation of the surrounding world. From birth to death, a person seeks to learn new things and find an explanation for everything that he sees. But not everything that was around us could be explained logically until recently, and today there are inexplicable things. This worldview task was undertaken by religion, instilling in the example of biblical characters the norms of behavior and showing what could happen if these norms were violated.
Until the twentieth century, no one doubtededucational function of religion, and only with the fall of morality on faith began to hang a lot of negative labels. Let us not deny that today Christianity itself is already violating its own commandments, but we must admit that in its original form it carried order and organization to society, giving a stable support for its development.
Also, do not forget that it is important for a person to live a meaningful life, and for many, such a meaning was given and given by faith in higher powers.
The unifying role of faith
One of the functions of religion is unificationpeople, their cohesion within the society. It is for this reason that people turn to faith in crisis moments of history. The simplest example is: during the war, when not only the cohesion of people is required, but also the raising of their military spirit. Even during the Great Patriotic War, this was remembered, although the very ideology of communism denies the existence of God as such!
But there are also negative examples in history -Crusades or jihad (in translation "sacred war"). Under good intentions, terrible military conflicts were unleashed, resulting in many victims and destruction. And you can not say that all this is in the past and will never happen again.
Compensatory function of religion
From time immemorial people came to the temples in search ofconsolation, trying to drown out the inner pain. This is the function of religion in society as an outlet for a person, where he can quietly talk and find peace. The priest in this case performs to some extent the role of the psychologist, and in some way - the mediator between God and man. It's on his behalf that he lets go of his sins and gives advice to the penitent, thereby giving him relief.
Of course, today there are not so many peoplecomes to the church for the search for consolation, however, it can not be said that the function of religion as a compensator of mental suffering is lost. It is preserved, although not so obvious to many today. Partly its role is performed by psychologists, providing the necessary psychological assistance to those who need it.
Religion and marriage
According to statistics, up to 80% of marriages are broken up today. And the majority in the first few years of living together, young people simply can not stand a common life.
Why is this happening now, but did not happen inpre-revolutionary Russia or the USSR? It would seem that life has become much easier than a century ago, but the number of divorces continues to grow, and the birth rate falls. And note that this happens mainly in traditionally Christian countries, and not in Muslim countries, where the functions of religion in human life have not lost their relevance, and the commandments are strictly observed today.
The answer arises by itself: Young people who marry do not take this step with due seriousness. For many, the words "In sorrow and joy" do not bear the proper meaning, but remain only words. At the first difficulties they submit for divorce, and more often it is done by women who, logically, should be interested in preserving the family.
Previously it was not so: When marrying, people understood that they would have to live together all their lives. And the dominant role of the husband in the family was confirmed not only by the fact that the main role of the breadwinner in the family was performed by him, but also by religion. No wonder there was the expression "Husband from God", that is, given to the woman in husbands once and for all.
Life management through religion
Faith did not only provide thebehavior and logical meaningfulness of life, but also performed a managerial function in society. It regulated the relations in society in various social groups and between them. I tried to reconcile the rich and the poor, thereby preventing the development of social conflicts.
Let's sum up the results
Having analyzed what functions religion performs insociety, one can understand why religions did not just arise, but also were actively supported by the state. Thanks to faith in the life of the common man, meaning appeared and the order was maintained in the society itself, and this provided an opportunity for its full development, at least until some historical period.
In our time religion performs the same functions as it did centuries ago. And we must admit that even with the development of technology, humanity can not do without it.