Religion is a side effect of our intuitive mental faculties. We use these same faculties to predict events, social networks, and physics. We can also predict and track people. These intuitive faculties are often a product of our culture. We use these faculties to make decisions about life and the world, and to predict the future.
Religious movements emphasize direct, unmediated contact with the Divine
During the last two hundred years, all religious traditions have faced enormous challenges. The work of Darwin, Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, and others has questioned the basis of religious beliefs and practices. Critical study of religious texts has suggested that religious texts are human creations. Patterns of life have shifted dramatically, especially in the more affluent parts of the world.
Religion is a family resemblance concept
Wittgenstein’s concept of ‘family resemblances’ of concepts has been adopted by some writers to defend the use of the word’religion’. This is done in an effort to avoid a definition of religion that is too essentialist, and to ensure that religion plays a distinctive role as a universal analytical concept.
It is a form of proto-science
Among the prominent interactions between religion and science has been the debate over evolution theory and creationism. The Kitzmiller versus Dover trial exemplified this conflict. At the same time, fundamentalist opposition to evolution was documented in the Scopes trial.
It influences mental health
Religion can influence mental health in a number of ways. For example, it may act as a stress-coping resource. During stressful situations, many people turn to prayer and ask for God’s guidance. They also read religious texts or listen to religious television programs. These forms of religious media can help people find inspiration and relieve psychological distress.
It is a social taxon
The social taxonomy of religion identifies the social dimensions of religion and how they influence behavior. These dimensions are closely linked to social structures and are the basis for understanding how religion can enhance or damage a society’s social harmony. The social dimensions of religion include beliefs, rituals, and distinctive social forms. Understanding these four dimensions can help sociologists better understand the rich diversity of world religions.
It is a family resemblance concept
Several writers have adapted Wittgenstein’s concept of family resemblance to explain the word’religion’. They believe that using the concept avoids essentialism and ensures the distinctiveness of religion as an analytical concept.