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Sociology of Religion

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The difference between the sociological perspective and the social scientific perspectives to the study of religion The social scientific perspectives include anthropological and psychological perspectives, which focus on the problems or the nature of beliefs. The difference between this perspective and the sociological perspective is the fact that the social scientific perspective involves studying the existing religious institutions, and finding how these institutions relate to other social institutions (Johnstone, 2007). On the other hand, the social scientific perspective looks into the differences existing in the religious practices and beliefs across different cultures.

With these considerations it would be necessary to indicate that the anthropological perspective in the study of religion focuses more on the concept of meaning through using symbolic, cognitive and functional approaches. What is religion and where does it come from? It is possible to identify religion as the human quest for the sacred, or the response to and experience of the sacred or holy being. There are three ways through which individuals could be able to express religion, which include practical expressions through action, in fellowship and in thought. From history, myths, institutional forms, ethnic prescriptions and rituals, among other considerations, there is the possibility of extracting different forms of religious expressions.

Through religion, individuals in society can be able to establish moral codes that are likely to be applicable in controlling behavior. Additionally, the people, through religion, develop a sense of community. Contrary to the sociological perspective considerations of the origin of religion, anthropological explanations indicate that the origins of religion are based on empirical observations (Johnstone, 2007). Some of the nineteenth century anthropologists believed that religion arose from people’s experiences with the world they were living in.

The development of religious beliefs arose from some of the natural occurrences like lightning, earthquakes and thunder among other natural calamities. Through this, the people developed the urge of finding ways of understanding some of the factors that caused them. This development led to the evolution of religion (Johnstone, 2007). According to Max Muller’s suggestion, these natural events were taking place due to the human activities, which led to the evolution of a belief in spirits that were assumed to cause the natural events.

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