Religion has existed as long as man himself, it has been the center of our livelihoods with different communities belonging to different religion. Religion influences the society in many different aspects. This paper looks at the different ways in which religion influences the society.
Effective parenting determines the kind of society that will develop when the parented children become citizens. Parents lead their children to religion where they are taught good and evil, dos and don’ts, moral ethics religious beliefs and so on.
Children are introduced to different beliefs depending on the religion of the parents and they grow up believing what they are taught as the absolute truth. For example, children brought up in a Christian set up grow up believing in Christian basics such as the holy trinity, Jesus and creation among others. These teachings are usually passed from one generation to another.
Religion plays a very important role in shaping the society. All religions have one basic ideology in that they strive to make the society a better place to live in. Religion teaches that there is always ultimate reward for the good people in the society and also punishment for the bad people and quite a large number of people in the society believe in the religion and they practice good ethics.
This makes the society a better place to live in as was suggested by Fagan (2006) when he claimed that “Religion also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crime, substance abuse, and addiction” (Fagan, 2006, p. 1).
Religion affects the education system which is an integral part of the society. Many religious sectors such as Muslim and Christian community support education system and some of them even run their own academic institutions such as catholic schools.
This has a positive impact in the society which heavily depends on the empowerment of the members of the society a report by Sherkat (2007) claims that “religious factors also influence the context of contemporary higher education. Increasing rates of college attendance in the general population” (Sherkat, 2007, p.1)
Religion affects the political leadership of a given society. Many communities usually belong to a particular religion and as such the leadership of such societies is directly influenced by the religion of that community.
A good example is when a Christian person tries to contest for a leadership position in a Muslim community. The person may have good leadership qualities but is not likely to be elected due to his religious affiliation.
On the other hand religious beliefs are likely to influence the type of leadership since different leaders have different religious beliefs. A report by PRC (2011) suggested that the society expects their leaders to express their religious beliefs “there is more criticism of the president for taking his faith into account too little, rather than too much” (PRC, 2011, p. 1).
Religious organizations usually represent the views of their followers. When it comes to the political arena the religious organizations always try to air their views concerning the issues affecting the community.
PRC (2011) reports that a big percentage of Americans expect their religious leaders to make their stand about pressing issues affecting the community since they believe in their religious leaders to make politically neutral stand on the issues and they are always wiling to follow them (PRC, 2011).
Religion may influence the rate at which the population of a given society increases. Many religion affiliations have their guidelines on the nature of an ideal family set up. Most prefer monogamous family set up.
Others may have allowances for polygamy depending on the prevailing situations. In times of war when many men are killed religion always interpret their laws to support polygamy to protect the population and later interpret differently to favor monogamy this way it is able to influence the rate of increase of a given society.
Religion influences how the rich and the poor relate to one another in the society. Religion gives hope to the poor in the society. Most of the saviors in religion beliefs are usually displayed as poor for example Jesus is believed to have been born in a manger and Muhammud himself did not come from a rich family.
This gives hope to the poor in the society as they also teach them of the importance of hard work that will make them rich. On the other hand religion teaches the rich to be humble and supportive to the less privileged in the society and in this way the society is able to live together in harmony.
Most religion organizations usually influence the society on the best things to be taken and what ought not to be taken. Most of them restrict use of alcohol and other stimulants that have a negative effect on the health of man.
Restriction on alcohol helps to influence the society towards consuming goods that will be beneficial to them and avoid harming themselves hence promoting a healthy society. It has been argued that order within a family setting can be influenced by religion: “religion also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crime, substance abuse, and addiction” (Fagan, 2006, p. 1).
Religion has also influenced the society in a negative way as was probably seen during the infamous jihad war in north of Africa that left many people dead. This is one case where religion strive to win over the others to a point where war results. When different religious groups differ on matters affecting the same community a conflict arises and this may result to enmity among the members of the same community.
In order for society to exist in harmony there has to be law and order. Laws are made by law makers and different communities have different laws depending on religious beliefs. An example is the Sharia law in Islam which is different from either Jewish or Christian based laws.
This shows how religion influences the legal institutions of a society. Since the society exists within the given law parameters then religion may be said to influence the society in this way. Fagan suggests that “legislators should seek constitutionally appropriate ways to explore the impact of religious practice on society and, where appropriate, recognize its role and importance” (Fagan, 2006, p. 1).
Religion has been found to have profound effect on the society in many ways. Religion influences how children are brought up, legal systems such as Sharia law in the Muslim community, promote good social ethics by making sure the community live as a family, influencing population growth of the community by its model of a family setting.
There are also cases in history when religion influenced the society negatively by creating hatred towards other religious groups as in historic Jihad war that killed many. Religion however is a very important part of any society in ensuring people live together as a family.
Fagan, P. (2011). Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability. Heritage Research Reports. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/12/why-religion-matters-even-more-the-impact-of-religious-practice-on-social-stability
PRC. (2011). Religion and Politics: Contention and Consensus. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=723
Sherkat, D. (2007). Religion and Higher Education: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Religion. Retrieved from http://religion.ssrc.org/reforum/Sherkat.pdf