Sociology of Religion
Name of Student
Institutional AffiliationSociology of Religion
Religion is one of the most diverse experiences in the human life (Roberts & Yamane, 2011). The basis of any religion is recognizing and accepting a higher being than oneself as being in control. Each religion, be it Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism all have different teachings contributing to the different beliefs. Studies carried out show that almost every person has a spiritual belief. Depending on the individual, one may choose to affiliate themselves with a religious institution that expresses and expounds on their belief. On the other hand, some individuals feel that having their own spiritual belief is sufficient for their spiritual growth. Belonging to a religious institution creates a sense of association and belonging. Failing to affiliate oneself with a religious institute creates alienation and at the same time awards the individual liberation. Belonging to either a church, mosque, or synagogue has a sociological benefit over having your own spiritual belief. The social inclusion that comes with belonging contributes to the holistic development of a person.
The main advantage of belonging to a religious institute is the social aspect that comes with a sense of association and belonging. Any religious body is made up of a flock of people who share some common beliefs and goals. This gives the individual belonging to a particular religious institution a sense of identification with a certain religious group (Heady & Ruffner, 2010). This promotes a sense of being a part of a group, hence creating a sense of belonging. However, an individual who does not choose to belong to any religious body may experience social solitude. Research carried out on human development show that a sense of belonging is crucial to human development, both socially and psychologically. Hence, a person who chooses to remain in solitude is more prone to psychological disorders such as social alienation and even depression.
Another benefit is that the religious institution forms a platform for people to convene and interact socially (Kipp, 2007). This exposure to various people from all walks of life leads to the formation of friendship relations. In a situation where an individual refrains from affiliating themselves with various religious institutions may be at a disadvantage. Having friends in life improves the quality of life of people (Roberts & Yamane, 2011). People will also tend to safeguard the interests of other people who they belong to the same religious body.
Belonging to a religious institute creates the sense of community (Roberts & Yamane, 2011). A religious institution provides a platform for different people to meet and interact. The community is characterized by the same values, beliefs, and even similar practices (Roberts & Yamane, 2011). Creation of communities contributes to bettering of the lives of people as they can provide both physical and moral support to each other. A person refraining from joining a religious institution experiences a life of solitude and will not benefit from the support of others.
On the other hand, belonging to a certain religious body has its own limitations as opposed to having self spiritual belief. These limitations range from behaviors exhibited and even to diet observed by members. An individual with their own spiritual beliefs does not have to experience the restrictions put in place. Some religions, even limit the social and cultural practices of their members. Observing self spiritual belief comes with a freedom that allows an individual to indulge in whatever pleases. Also, belonging to a particular religion presets one’s mind to a particular ideology regarding religion (Kipp, 2007). This does not usually leave room for learning and accepting new things that may be spiritually beneficial to the individual.
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Heady, A., & Ruffner, L. (2010). Religion and sociological perspective. Religion,8, 31.
Kipp, R.F. (2007). Our Spiritual Destiny. New York: Xlibris Corporation.
Roberts, K. A., & Yamane, D. (2011). Religion in sociological perspective. Los Angeles: SAGE/Pine Forge.
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