The concept of religion is one of the most difficult to define in operational, empirical categories. The term “religion” has ancient Roman roots: ligare (lat.) – “bind”, re (lat.) – prefix, meaning: “back”, “back”, “again”. Thus, religion is etymologically the establishment or restoration of a connection with God.
To exist in the “world”, religion must be embodied in some social organizational form. The embodiment of religious experience, which is always primary, in traditions and institutions, is a natural necessity of human existence. Religious tradition can exist only in combination with the transfer of the authority of the sacred to social institutions, which gave E. Durkheim the basis for treating religion as a social fact (this view was completely shared by Soviet religious scholars – “scientific atheists”, sociologists and social psychologists). This approach is one-sided, but has the right to exist. Indeed, the religious community initially is always a small group, uniting the leader-teacher, the founder of religion, and his followers-disciples. This relationship is personal, not having any official fixation. And only afterwards, developing, the community turns into a religious organization with a complex social structure.
The religious community is part of the world in which it exists. The socio-ethnic context of the existence of religion reflects the diversity of functions performed by religion in society. The following functions belong to specific social ones: the worldview (by means of the interpretation of the phenomena of nature and society, religion forms the corresponding world view), the regulative (religion forms the personality of the believer, suggests patterns of social behavior) compensating (religion, in a peculiar way, compensates the person for lack of opportunity to realize his hopes in real everyday life) , organizational-integrating (the ability of religion to unite on the basis of the dogma of the cult and its social doctrine of ethnicity skie and other groups) or communicative. Nonspecific functions of religion: economic, political, legal, aesthetic.
The religious community is connected with the world by complex, ambiguous, sometimes paradoxical relations. Religious institutions usually function in society as a harmonizing, stabilizing factor, contributing to the preservation of the existing social status quo and thereby strengthening the position of power structures for the benefit of the whole ethnos. A vivid example of such an ideology is Confucianism. The meaning of the Confucian religion consists in religious attitude to the state duties, in observance of traditions. This is the ideology of patriarchy. The whole traditional way of life is reduced to “five relations”: these are the relations between the head of state and state officials, parents and children, husband and wife, older and younger brothers, friends. The inviolability of existing social relations is the basic principle of Confucianism. Your “social” relation to no download slots that you can find here is not included. Obviously.
The idea of divine origin and the essence of earthly power is of great political value. Theocratic model of a society in which the spiritual and social hierarchies coincide, naturally, looks ideal from the point of view of the religious concept of the origin of power and the state. Such a model was most fully realized in the Muslim theocratic state – the Caliphate, where all the power (religious, executive, legislative, judicial) belonged to the Caliph – the governor of Allah on Earth.
The function usually performed by religious institutions is not only the legitimization of the social system, but also the sanctification and propagation of the corresponding value orientation, the creation and development of certain symbolic value structures, the psychological compensation of the inevitable traumatizing individual and the society of events – deaths, disasters, wars, natural disasters, diseases, etc. The interweaving of religion into ethnic forms occurs through such components as ideology, religious feelings and culture.
But sometimes religion can act as a destabilizing factor, because it always has a high moral standard, which gives it a critical potential. The existence of a critical potential in religion combined with the traditional authority of established religious institutions determines the most important goal that religion plays in society.
Each existing religion keeps and maintains its tradition. In various religions of religion the features of a history, an ethnic life, contacts of various ethnoses are reflected. Different religions are different answers to “eternal” questions: what is the place of man in the universe, what is the meaning of life, what is happiness, how to establish justice. Religious solutions to these issues are reinforced by the means of art, embodied in holidays, rituals, traditions, which become channels for the reproduction of religious culture.
Most often, within the same religion, there are several traditions: Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism in Christianity, Sunnis and Shiites in Islam, Hinayana and Mahayana in Buddhism, etc. Religious tradition is a special social structure that reproduces, stores and transmits the content obtained from religious experience ideas about the sacred.
But what is the “core” of the ethnic tradition or the “central zone” of culture? Very often this function is performed by religion. According to S. Lurie, the charismatic and symbolic content of the ethnic tradition is localized in the “core” of the ethnic tradition, while “the central zone is a structure of activity, roles and social institutions. According to E. Shils and S. Eisenstadt, the “central zone” of culture actively generates, regulates the system of values and beliefs of society, determining the nature of the sacred in every society.
Often religious ideology is national-state in nature, it intertwines both national and state interests, and it can promote the development of national self-awareness, the strengthening of mutual understanding and cooperation of different peoples living in one state. The Church, in its social service, brings to the forefront the problems of morality in society, respect for the dignity of man, creating fair conditions for his life, the formation of a society in which the interests of the individual and society are harmoniously combined. Ethnicity and confession are not always identifiable. Identity we can observe in the genoteists, in those denominations where it is impossible or extremely difficult to access foreigners. Such are the followers of the Hindu religions, the Sikhs, the Parsis, the Druze, the Talmudic Judaists – the Conservatives. In the middle of the first millennium BC the foundations of the caste system of India were formed. And to this day it determines the specificity of the country’s public life. Individual proselytism, the transition of individuals to the Hindu religion is not allowed. In order to be a Hindu, one must belong by birth to one of the castes. Therefore, for example, the Neo-Hindus are Europeans, the Hare Krishnas are not recognized as full-fledged Hindus among Hindus from castes.
Usually, confessional affiliation is more pronounced than ethnic identity in young ethnoses, the reverse ratio is characteristic of ethnic groups of old or sick.