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The evolution of religion

There are many ways of course to handle religion, as a believer or as a scientist, for instance. There are many ways to study religion, sill. Yo may count the number of words in the Holy Scripture or the number of followers and their religiosity or you can evaluate the impact of religious behavior on altruism, inequality, democracy or fertility, for instance. Of course, there exist more ways to study the evolution of religion, too, but this assay is solely about the fauceir approach.

Religion is a fauceir

First we analyze that religion is compliant with the fauceir definition testing the essential properties.

  1. Religion consists of sub-fauceirs such as believers, scriptures, rituals, saints and many others. Also region is only part of social life, so it is element to societies.
  2. There are abundant interactions between religion and other fauceirs such as labor, politics and science to name only a few.
  3. Religion adapts and evolves. That is self evident to many, but this article will explicitly address this question.

Evolution of religion

Religion is tightly connected to human culture. As with evolution of human societies and human culture. Nobody would disagree that the religion of a hunter-gatherer society was very different from our modern religions. What are the hallmarks of the evolution of religion. Two main processes common to all fauceir evolutionary processes can be distinguished.

  1. According to the rule of separation primeval religion gave rise to many branches that make up our present culture. Those include: science, art, music, superstition, ethics, laws and many others.
  2. According to the rule of incorporation religions adapted element fauceirs that had not essentially been created in religion in the first place: such as scripture, music tunes, buildings, money and so on.
  3. According to the rule of diffluence by the time several different types of religion appear that coexist at different levels of evolution, so that finally a tree of evolution can be constructed.

Stages of evolution

Religion as power

This stage of religious evolution is identical to shamanism which is characterized by a religion that encompasses all aspects of social control. All tasks of social control are concentrated in one single structure.

Religion as ideology

This stage of evolution of religion is characterized by stric division of function beween secular power and religion, the latter focused on ideology. Religious ideology was essential for many secular leaders to control their inferiors.

Religion as charity

By the time that ideology became more and more controlled by secular powers. Religious organizations focused on charity.

Religion as individualized support

At present, in all the most developed countries religion is mostly concerned with single individuals offering psychological and physical support.

Evolutionary process

Evolutionary progress from one stage to the next was by far not smooth. It was rather characterized by fierce competition. Also, those competitions are still going on and they will for ever. Their involvement in such competition blinds some people to realize evolution at all.

Tags: Religion Society Theory

Categories: Sociology


(c) Mato Nagel, Weißwasser 2004-2024, Disclaimer