Religions Around the Globe and their Impact on Society in General. Freedoms vs Mandates.

Freedom and Mandates

Religious freedoms and governmental mandates based on religious beliefs cannot rationally coexist in any society.

The separation of church and state is the only thing that must be mandatory for an effective and efficiently run society.

Equality for ALL members of society is the only way for a government to maintain its constitutional decrees.

To adequately provide equality any government must never pass laws favoring any religious activities or religious entities.

And equally important, no government should ever pass any laws favoring Corporations over people for any reason.

The Functionality of Religion

The universality of global religions leads readily to the assumption that it serves essential functions for individuals and society, or both.

This observation expresses a theory that has been widely used, and sharply criticized, partly because the concept of "function" has several meanings:

1. A given structure or process that performs an essential service.

To give men shared goals thus reducing the sharpness of their individual goals, promising "later" rewards softens the anguish of man to present frustrations - making it a functional prerequisite for society.

2. Function also means consequences.

If religion is a function of society and of individual need, it must vary with them, reflecting their changes.

For the conservative minded, this change to adapt to the current times, is a difficult pill to swallow and that mind set has trouble with any changes in society that might upset their ingrained system of belief.

But as history shows, societal change is inevitable and these staid and stagnant ideas are forced to adapt and accept the changes required by the majority of any society.

3. If religion integrates a society that is highly repressive for some of the members, its functional aspects for them must be investigated.

If it integrates in such a way that it harms a society with righteous anger to attack another "heathen" society (or members of their own society), the question concerning its functional aspects for the latter must also be investigated.

4. In order for religion to service socially it must adapt itself to accommodate all its members - not just the perceived "righteous few".

A childish dream lost in a world of Greed and Avarice

Ancient Churches

Ancient Welsh church
Ancient Welsh church | Source
Ancient Ethiopian church ruins
Ancient Ethiopian church ruins
Ancient churches of Ethiopia
Ancient churches of Ethiopia
Ancient interior European church decor
Ancient interior European church decor
Ancient church from TrekEarth.com collection
Ancient church from TrekEarth.com collection

Religion as a dysfunctional enterprise

Functionalism in religion is not only incomplete without conflict, but rather conflict is an essential part of religion itself [the concept of good versus evil]

  • In the 17th century England the religio-social reform movements used sectarian protests to challenge the establishment, both religious and secular.
  • The Black Muslims in America demonstrated the use of a new religion to challenge a society, not to expressly attempt to integrate with it.
  • For many years, in Ireland, the [Catholic - Protestant] conflict indicates that religious difference can cause divisiveness in a society.

These relationships are too complex to examine here in detail, but from the perspective of social science:

  • religious organizations are part of the social structure,
  • religious values part of the general culture,
  • and religions motivation part of the individual character.

The ethical norms governing interpersonal behavior within the family are often given religious sanctions. Such as:

  • "honor thy father and thy mother"
  • as in the 10 commandments of the Judaism and Christianity
  • marriage laws
  • regarding monogamous relationships
  • regarding permanent relationships

These are considered as laws "made in heaven" , as a popular piety to encourage these behaviors as the "norm".

Although these values can be imparted in a society without any religion at all - it is proclaimed by religions as if by God's mandate - which is simply another man made comment to justify their creation.

Other common elements that remain accepted as religious elements include:

  • religious endogamy (marriage within one's group - whether religious or racial)
  • the basic structures of the family - the place for women - and the importance of children.
  • the possibility of divorce under certain circumstances.

Religions also support and encourage protest movements among members to quash any attempts to modernize the basic conservatism of their respective faiths.

Such as the era of Martin Luther King who proclaimed: "I have a dream".. as to the basis for his militant, non-violent, attack on racial discrimination.

He declared that civil disobedience and extremism were religiously prescribed. (Exactly the same way that Jesus Christ did toward the stifling oppressiveness of the Roman government toward its people). And the equally compelling plight of the homosexual community happening around the world today.

When societies become more heterogeneous (mixed with dissimilar, or diverse, ingredients, or constituents) with sets of values, the stage is set for a different relationship between religion and politics.

Because these "new" trends may loosen the hold of social 'norms', some members of society will acquire a differential attitude towards religion and the unfair governmental laws that discriminate against any group of people.

The ruling class sees it as a means of preserving order - thus helping to guarantee their positions of control.

U.S. Sociologist Kai Erikson has noted that

"the anti legalistic controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century, although crouched in religious language, was primarily a political struggle".

Implicit in the separation of religious and political identities is the possibility of a third pattern of relationship:

Religious systems that are sharply set apart from the state.

Religious specialists may develop ideas that contradict secular claims and values if they so desire.

This seems to occur under conditions of persistent social change, social contact, and wide spread and prolonged suffering.

The social implications of the separation of church and state is quite clear.

  • Let religions discriminate amongst themselves. (they have that religious right),
  • But politics should never discriminate against any group of people based on any type of religious dogma or personal beliefs.

This world seems to be heading to this end, but not before there is greater discrimination, pain, suffering, and blood shed inflicted on the secular populace that do not adhere to any religious beliefs that suppress individual freedoms and individual rights that are supposedly guaranteed by our very constitution.

by d.william 09/12/2011

Man's place in the universe.

© 2011 d.william

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Comments 12 comments

Thought-Provoking 5 years ago

It seems a lot of what you said doesn't necessarily have to do with most religions around the world, but mainly the Western world, whereas The east does not fully dwell in these problems anymore. But I do agree with you at the end where you said religion and politics should be separated. I mean the only reason Gay Marriage has not been made legal is simply because many of these politicians are religious zealots themselves, One republican senator, I'm not sure if he was senator, he could have easily been anything else, i just can't remember, proposed a Federal ban on gay marriage, can you believe that. but in the end, it seems it's up to the populous, and the populous seem to believe that gay marriage is "Against God's Law", but it is changing, but as of now it is still a rough battle for that specific group. But really, them getting married is not going to harm anybody. So this is just another sad case of religion butting in politics too much.

Good Hub


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 5 years ago from New Jersey

Hello Again,

The Western Churches have a weird philosophy on marriage. When I read "Committed", the sequel to the popular "Eat, Pray, Love" it was different, a serious study on the history of marriage. The Church didn't want people engaging in sordid acts like sex, no matter how much in love the participants were. But Church realized people would go ahead and do the deed anyway. So then they not only accepted marriage, they made it so sacred a vow, a person could not get out of it without being ostrasized by society. Churches only do what is in their best interests. I can recall my own Mom not speaking to her Brother for years when he got divorced. It was in the early 60's, back when a pregnant girl, "Had to get married" as they said it. Both of them were just guilty of being too young. Now people say they don't want to make a committment, but get pregnant anyway. It boggles my mind. What bigger committment is there than bringing a person into the world? I am pro-abortion though, too many women have died trying to rid themselves of unwanted babies when caught up in a moment of passion and bad judgement. I enjoy this series you are writing!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Religion has brought so much evil into this world that I no longer attach myself to any organisation. If there is a god he/she has a funny sense of humor. The problem is so many people need a"net" to contain them in these troubled times and religion is a way to give their lives rules and a sense of belonging. Good hub, thank you.


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida

Seems to me that we blame religion for our own prejudices. If there were no religion, does anyone think that conservatives would accept gay marriage? Of course not, the same bigotries would exist with different labels. But, what do I know? I'm not responsible; the devil made me say it!


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

D. this excerpt from the article is the issue in a nutshell

"Let religions discriminate amongst themselves. (they have that religious right), but politics should never discriminate against any group of people based on any type of religious dogma or personal beliefs."

As you say religion has been used more often than not to reinforce society's adherence to the status quo that could well serve to keep those entrenched in power that much certain and justified that they can remain there, while telling the slaves that a better world awaits them in the here after, but be obedient and patient today. It takes concerted effort to separate your belief system from being a party to exploitation and abuse. Was it not Marx or Engels that said that "Religion was the opium of the people". Yes, if you let it be your source of being docile and accepting, then so be it. But it does not have to be so, for thinking people.

Thanks, Cred2


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Religion is one of the most interesting topics there is! From the beginning of time, we have had this need to search for something larger, bigger more powerful when I think the real answer is located much closer, perhaps more of us should look in the mirror?


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

Thought-provoking:

Thanks for reading and your comments. Although your comments regarding same sex marriages is true, my article was not written to justify anything, or address the problems of the gay community specifically. It is simply lumped in with all the rest of the struggles of the repressed in this world and the stupidity of doing so based on such an ambiguous nature as religion.


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

Jean Bakula:

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. Times are changing rapidly, but i am afraid not quickly enough. There is still so much hatred, bigotry and intolerance in this world based on antiquated religious beliefs. But as i always say: people are entitled to their own personal opinions as long as they do no try to force them onto others who think differently. Believing in any religious dogma does not give anyone the right to judge others or pass laws to enforce what they wrongly believe to be valid, onto everyone else.

I too, am pro abortion, and it has nothing to do with religious beliefs. Whether abortions are morally right, or wrong, it is still the decision of the woman whether to have one or not. We send our young women and men to fight unjust wars, and it is OK that they are killed as long as it is government sanctioned or even immoral. And then try to pass laws on women by pretending to be such righteous citizens in the eyes of their religions. Such bunk. Such two faced reasoning. It always amazes me. And now these crazy tea party wing nuts have the audacity to allow the individual states to vote on when life begins: conception and/or birth. Like anyone has that right, (or the intelligence) to do so. What idiots.


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

Gypsy Willow: Thanks for reading and commenting. Your remarks hit the nail on the head. God forbid that anyone should actually think for themselves.


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

Chefsref: Thank you for commenting. I am not sure that your statement is valid. It IS religion that has made distinctions and conditions for people to make decisions on things that they do not understand. And i do not believe that conservatives would be as prejudicial if they did not get their directions from their religious leaders, just as they get their political views from their corporate america benefactors. I certainly do not believe they have the capacity to make such decisions for themselves. Society and politics would both be much better off if they did not have that awful religious influence on them.


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

Credence2:

Thanks again for reading and commenting. It was Karl Marx who made the comment about religion being the opiate of the people. I do believe that in time, people in general will see that what they have been taught through their religious beliefs is of little value or use by today's standards (regarding intolerance and hatred)or rather that it is more common sense than biblical. Although the concepts of being a "good" person does not need to come from a religious aspect, it is up to parents to teach this to their children as a common rule of daily living. It does not have to come from any religious entity to have validity.


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

Chatkath:

Thanks for reading and your wise comments. It should not take a rocket scientist, or any religious points of view for people to use their common sense and make decisions accordingly. The concept of morality is a personal one and should be kept that way. What appears to be moral for one person may not be for another. And that is OK. Where the morality is in question is when anyone's ideas are attempted to be forced on another with a different point of view.

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