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The Functions of Religion

The Functions of Religion - The Functions of Religion Let's...

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The Functions of Religion Let's now talk a bit about the functional aspects of religion in the larger social picture. If you remember from our chapter on the Sociological Imagination, religion is one of the 7 social institutions in society (media, technology, government, family, economy, and education are the others). For decades sociologists have studied the functional aspects of religion as a social institution. It is safe to conclude that religions are functional (and sometimes dysfunctional) at both the personal and larger social level. Table 1 below shows eight functional aspects of religion. Table 1. Eight Functions of Religion 1. Religion answers the deepest questions of existence 2. Religion provides emotional comfort 3. Religion facilitates social solidarity 4. Religion provides guidelines for everyday life 5. Religion facilitates social control 6. Religion provides for continuity and adaptation 7. Religion provides support for governments 8. Religion are often part of social change Let me share a personal experience with you that will illustrate these functions of religion at my own personal level. In 1986 I worked during the summer at a small and remote 2-year college called Ricks College. I ran summer youth camps and conferences for high school students. A co-
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