Religion is a cultural system of behaviors, practices and ethics. It includes beliefs (myths), rites (worship), an ethos (moods and moral values), a worldview, and symbols.
A Definition of Religion
The most common definition of religion is that it is a set of beliefs, values and practices concerning what a person holds sacred or considers to be spiritually significant. However, this definition may not be appropriate for all peoples and cultures.
A Sociological Perspective on Religion
Social theorists such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber have analyzed the functions that religion serves in society. These include helping people understand their beliefs and their value in life; encouraging religious adherence by members of a society; and promoting a sense of community among individuals.
Some studies show that people who are religious are happier with their lives. They tend to make more decisions based on what they believe in, which can improve their health and well-being.
A Minor in Religion
A minor in religion is a chance to explore why people are religious and how their faith affects their lives. Students who study religion also benefit from a deeper understanding of other cultures and societies.
Some of the most prominent social theorists to examine the relationship between religion and society include Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Thomas Malthus. They developed models of religion and society that remain influential today.