How Religion and Spirituality manifest in Society
In the contemporary world, Sociologists of religion have based their arguments that religion serves communities. This perspective has been supported by many sociologists who have studied the origins and implications of religion in our society. In addition, most sociologists argue that spirituality best serves individuals. Based on this intuition, we intend to explore how religion and spirituality manifest in society in past decades and the present generation. This study seeks to identify how religion and spirituality are related and their implications to the community and individuals.
There are many religious groups in the world today. People have the right to choose religion according to their beliefs and customs. Since time immemorial, religions existed and there are many forms of religion for instance, monotheism. In monotheism, there are basic tenets such as the postulation that existence begins and concludes at some moment. It states that there are individual events that begin and end, and are ordained by God (Lundscow 67). This reveals that religion existed because God had a purpose for everything. The monotheist holds a view that the one God is eternal with neither beginning nor end (Lundscow 67).
Religion refers to a belief in a supernatural power or powers. Therefore, religion plays a significant role in governing the moral behavior of man. Historically, religion has been the mediator between and individual and a sense of transcendence. On the other hand, spirituality is a term that has been used to refer to the sensitivity of the things of the spirit, hence; it depends on the premise that we regard man or other creation as composed not only of matter but things immaterial, invisible and beyond our present knowledge.
Thus, religion and spirituality are defining factors used in the determination of higher values of human life. They both have a function in the inner call of a person that corresponds to life in the world and life in God. According to Lundscow, religion and spirituality are both related since the relationship between the society and religion is the same (87).Sociologists agree that religion serves communities because of the various restrictions it imposes on man. Thus, it confines human activity to areas of living. In a sociological perspective, religion puts people under certain obligations to behave in a manner that is mandated by religion in social behavior. Thus, religion affects the conduct of a community in any form. All religions in the world have ordinances that define religious views either in worship, pilgrimage, ritual or ritual. The restrictions are lifted in certain stages where people’s lives are mainly considered as internal operation of thought, feeling, but not connected with human society in any way.
Religion has been manifested in human society in a number of ways. However, major religions of the world have the same goals. For instance, Christianity has manifested itself in the society and benefits Christian through spiritual practice and has the same effect of making communities better. All religions teach moral precepts that are vital in perfecting the functions of the human mind, body and speech. Hence religion best serves communities, since all religions agree upon the need to control the human mind that harbors selfishness and other forms of trouble. However, the link between religion and spirituality is that religion teaches humanity the path that leads to a spiritual state that is a peaceful, disciplined, ethical and wise mind. Different religions are intended to bring comfort and happiness to communities, by helping man to avoid misery and gain happiness. Hence, religion has contributed towards lessening human suffering and has contributed to world’s civilization. Religion serves as a common property to groups of people and expects its members to follow the various blue prints in terms of religious behavior. Humanity learns about religion through various kinds of interaction, hence; it is socially transmitted.
Religion is manifested in societies through supernatural powers. Hence, religion makes communities get involved in the formation of religious concepts and practices. Thus, religion does not exist independently. The social interaction between communities enables man to form certain norms and rules which holds people together as a group. There are norms that receive religious endorsement and have special strength for individuals who follow religious doctrines. Thus, in a community, religion a supernatural definition and acts as powerful social cement that serves to preserve social order and discourage social disorganization.
Historically, religion people contributed living and cognitive and cognitive qualities to forces of nature. For example, the characterization of nature was depicted by ancient feminine deity. This deity represented all kinds of women in society. Thus, most people argued that female deities and women had a central role in the pre-historic religion. Another example can be illustrated by the existence of a religious age of polytheism which indicated the existence of many Gods. In an ancient content, the word cult referred to an exclusive group dedicated to a deity. The concept of pantheon was also used to refer to a complete set of deities that existed in extensive trade contact and migration of people. Through human migration and trade, man introduced and shared beliefs and customs from different regions. In this context, we may illustrate by using the existence of Isis which found many followers throughout the Greco-Roman world.
Judaism is another example that led to the production of Jesus who greatly inspired religion that changed the world to Christianity. Religious groups increased in popularity during the years that Jesus came to redeem humanity. However, historically, Mithraism began as a tribal belief based on the life of an outstanding individual, (Lundscow, 65). For example, in Christianity, Jesus exemplifies the eternal power of religion; hence, he has remained much alive and powerful. In America, Jesus is seen as an icon and in as far away as China. Furthermore, in a religion such as Islam, there is also a belief in one God, and a messenger sent by God. This is a form in which exclusive monotheism has manifested itself in the society.
On the other hand, sociologists argue that spirituality serves individuals. Spirituality is a term used to identify the conscious recognition of a divine spark of human reasoning. Therefore, it makes man special compared to other creatures. For example, the divine spirit that was exemplified by the Renaissance, and among Christians, it was exemplified earlier by Christ Jesus where it got a brighter manifestation. Thus, the spiritual driver of civilization had been recognized in Europe for many centuries with an understanding that it caused the rebirth of the society on a foundation of spirituality.
According to Lundscow (135), the best example in which spirituality manifests itself in the society is through the creation of a room for renaissance. However, religion is much powered in the Confucianism ideology which purports that spirituality serves individuals. It has been noted that spirituality is a prime determinant that puts a distinction of schools of economics embracing poverty, underdevelopment, and depopulation. Spirituality serves individuals by embracing mankind’s potential for infinite development. A major identifier of spirituality is its universality. For example, the golden renaissance during the 16th century was neither a specific Catholic renaissance, nor a Christian renaissance. True spirituality exist with a corresponding manifestation in economic development, hence; the two cannot be isolated from each other. This becomes the problem with a religious zeal in which it is isolationist in nature. Religion is built on myths and focuses on esoteric aspects that do not meet the fundamentals of individual needs of the society. There have been dominant trends in religion today, for instance, according to Lundscow (71) the third awakening theory in which people established religion with new feelings followed by a secularized model in which religion became consumer oriented devoid of any meaning.
Finally, the revolutionary model in which religion is viewed creates a new and meaningful form of religion with oppressive and emancipator potential. In the modern era, spirituality has taken the past wisdom and placed into a modern concept. This has resulted into the creation of a more dynamic, and integral insights into the nature of existence. Through spirituality, we are able to a discern variety of truths from all times and traditions and integrate the perspectives into a holistic but a unique view of reality. According to most religions, the Supreme Being requires people to be good to one another. Hence, the central goal of spirituality is to make individuals happy and to feel good about them.
In conclusion, religion and spirituality are closely related, particularly in their manifestation in society from early times up to the present era. There has been a development of new perspectives regarding spirituality and religion including the idea or knowledge derived from multiple cultures. There have been various paths of wisdom and traditions, as well as, psychological and spiritual insights all over the world. Religion is dependent on spirituality; however, religion as stated in the thesis of this study better serves communities whereas spirituality is based on an individual’s attributes.
Lundscow, George. The sociology of religion and Substantive and Transdisciplinary (Chapter 2: A Sociological History of Religion). California: Sage Publications, 2008.