By:- Thangkhanlal Guite @ Mr.Guite, New Delhi
We are fortunate and i was overwhelmed to our Merciful Heavenly Father for giving me this precious time to write briefly on the different approaches or views on 'Religion' in our precious websites . Ok, let me try to make it short and simple, but clear.
The word 'Religion' as we all know is not an alien term in our community. In every society, we find a scope for religion down the ages, generations after generations from the most civilized society to the most uncivilized society. Every known society practiced some form of Religion, whether it may be say, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zarostianism, Judaism, Islamism(Taliban/Talibanism), Animism, Traditional Worship or Hero Worship and the likes. But their Religions may be some Supernatural or may vary from place to place. And in order to arrived at a conclusion by what Religion means, let us discuss the various approaches/views and definitions given by different Scholars on our topic as brief as possible.
Different scholars have different view or approaches which are as follows:-
1. The Anthropologists Approach or views:- According to the Anthropologists, Religion may be social behaviour or physical with the study of the origin of things. It is the belief and practice which are found in living communities.
2. The Sociological Approach:- The sociologists stress Religion on the social dimension of religious idea. They held the view that Religion provides an agreed way of looking at the world and give a sense of purpose and meaning.
3. The Historians' Approach or views:- Mostly, Historians view Religion from different angles, they interpreted or describe Religion in terms of events resulting from beliefs.
4. The Theological Approach:- The Theologians are concerned with the beliefs in themselves, the questions of whether they are true or false and with people response to them. And they divide into:-(a) The Rite of Passage and (b) The Rite of Intensification.
A part from that according to Mahatma Gandhiji, the father of the Indian Nation, "Religion is what a man does in his Solitariness".
So, various scholars had different approaches or views. One should bear in mind is that:
" IT IS RELIGION THAT DIVIDES OR UNITES PEOPLES BELONGING TO DIFFERENT RACES AND NATIONS ".
Not only that, we must know that religion is the share beliefs and practices of a society and that beliefs and practices of a society forms the doctrines or tenets and rituals of the Religion. This share beliefs of a society or the tenets of doctrines are usually Codified or either Orally or in Written. Christianity is a codified religion, codified in the Holy Bible which was infallible(Deuteronomy 4:2, Isaiah 34:16, Revelation 22:18,19).
The New Testament took half a century from around 45 A.D. to 95 A.D. for its completion given by the Inspiration of God through His Holy Spirit which was written by various fourty authors. The Name 'Bible' is derived from the Greece word 'Bibloes' which means "The Book", that promises eternal life for the Believers and followers. We may discuss all these details in my next attempt to write " How We Got The Bible ".
Hinduism in comparison to Christianity is undignified religion, it was only a verbal(uncodified/unwritten) initially. Like wise, our ancestors primitive peoples religions was the practices of Traditional Worship, Animism, Hero Worship for instances-Religious Taboos were also unwritten i.e. uncodified. And this kind of religious practices was called Thiefs or Animism. In the olden days, the priest was the mediator between the peoples and the gods which they worship and make sacrifices. And one should bear in mind is that there is a wide differences between Codified (written) Religion and Unwritten one. Even in the primitive stages/ages there exist Religion, since no man can live without Religion.
Besides, that let us briefly discuss certain functions of religion for our better understanding. Religion which is found in all societies meets mans' need (universal need), social or psychological. There may be at least six cultural functions of Religion, and the first and foremost function of Religion is psychological. It provides support and consolation, reconciliation or contentment. The second function of religion is Transcendental. It provides security and direction. The third functions of religion is Sacralization. It legitimizes norms and values. The fourth function of Religion is prophetic. It criticizes norms and values. And the fifth function of religion is Identification. Last, but not the least the sixth function of Religion is Maturation. It marks the individuals' passage through life for him and his society.
Thus, man was made to follow certain traits or religion by instinct or by nature. And out of all these views and discussions, the things i want to request to all the readers which is the most important for human beings is that "If any readers/persons' is weary of human dogmas, let him/her throw off the yoke of bondages and obey the Simple Gospel Messages which is the Power of God Unto Salvation(Romans 1:16).