The Constructed Nature of Religion


Religion is the visible basement of the house we call Culture, it effects the behaviour of members of Society. It is often the source of morality, ethics and spirituality. Religion also plays a key role in socialisation, societal organisation and community bonding. Religion also provides a framework for personal and communal identity, a sense of purpose and meaning. It gives people a common language for discussing their beliefs, values and worldviews. It is a powerful social force that should be understood and respected by all.

Today the concept of religion is typically used as a taxon for sets of social practices that have some paradigmatic examples such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. However, there are many other forms of life that can be considered to be religions, even though they have never been given a name. These include agnosticism, atheism, humanism and polytheism.

For example, the practice of meditating, attending religious services and praying can contribute to better health and wellbeing in many ways – such as through its positive effect on self-control, stress relief and interpersonal relationships. It can also lower rates of mental illness and increase levels of empathy. In addition, research shows that religiosity is associated with a higher level of social capital and less likelihood of involvement in criminal activities. In fact, studies suggest that joining a church, synagogue or temple might even extend your lifespan! This kind of evidence has contributed to a reflexive turn in the study of religion, where scholars have pulled back the camera so as to examine the constructed nature of this social phenomenon.

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