Functions of Religion

Religion is an expression of people’s relationship to holy, spiritual and divine things. This is often expressed through beliefs in gods, attitudes towards spirits and the social life of a society.

It has the function of giving a person his identity, name, customs and a culture. It also helps him to understand the limits and boundaries of his life. It guides him to do right and avoid wrong.

Hence it is the source of morality and ethics. It provides a complete code of life for the followers and helps them to live in peace.

A religion gives a person a sense of belongingness and identity in the society. This is a function which has always been strong in ancient as well as modern societies.

In modern times, religion has become a tool of control and a means of achieving order and discipline. It has helped to subordinate barbaric anarchy and teach reverence and obedience.

It has also played the role of de-politicization for many people in society and prevented them from seeing their lives and societal conditions in political terms. This was a function which Emile Durkheim saw as a positive one.

Another important function of religion is its comforting and soothing influence on a large number of people who suffer from distress and depression. This is especially important for the poor, the old, those who have lost a loved one and those who are suffering from chronic illnesses.

Although the concept of religion has been criticised by some modern scholars like Richard Dawkins and Yuval Harari, it is an important aspect of human existence. It is vital for ensuring the survival of societies and cultures.