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Religious system are universal it meet a number of
important need at both societal and personal level.
Social Function of
One very important function of religion is that it use as
mechanism of social control
Religion tend to maintain social Oder by encouraging
socially acceptable behaviour and discouraging
For example:Hindu in india belived that voiliting caste
expectations will destroy their future
In Islam, al'quran provides a framework and rules for
daily living, and how an individual should behave, in
almost every respect
•Religion play important role in reducing stress and
frustration that often lead to social conflict.
Powerless people in the startified societies somtime use
religion as way of diffusing anger and hostility
A case study of South Africa (1961)
Show how small group of black south Africa recently
systematically exclude from power structure creat illusion of
power by manipulating own religious symbol and form own
unique churches breakaway Christian church to reduce
Reinforcement of Group Solidarity
Third function of religion is to intensify group solidarity
Enable people to express common identity
Strengthned group identity and belonging.
People come together with common religious experiences
often engage in non religious activities which also
strengthned group solidarity
The role of organized religion in creating and
maintaining group solidarity is important in imigrant
E.g in America the church is major and central institution
for imigrant society.
Rites of solidarity
Ceremonies performed for the sake of enhancing social
integration among groups is called rites of solidarity.
Communal cult is direct toward welfare of community rather
than welfare of individual
For Example:A good example of cult that foster group
solidarity is ancestral cult .
It is base on asumption that after death person soul continue to
interact and effect her /his decendents
In other word when people died they are not buried and
forgettten rather are elevate to status of ancestor-ghost or
Sisala belief(culture of north
Sisala believed that ancestor-ghost are guidence of the
All member of lineage are subject to autority of lineage
Elder are most important person of the lineage and
responsible to oversee the hormony and intrest of entire
Sisala belief in power of the ancestor-ghost to protect moral
Religion function psychologicaly for
benifits of the individual.
2 Types of psychological function.
Cognitive function of religion is psychologically
1)It help us explain the unexplainable.
2)Deals with un answerable Questions.
3)Provide Satisfying answers of
4)World is meaningful,events happen for some
Emotional function of religion is to help individual
cope with the anxieties that often a company
illness,accident and death.
Supernatural beings to control the forces which they
feel they have no control.
Trobriand Islanders, Games.
(Act with confidence = major psychological
function of religion).
Rites of passage
Ceremonies that mark a change in a person's social
position.These ceremonies which have religious
significance,help individual as well as society to dael with
the important life changes,such as birth,puberty,marriage.
Arnold Van Gennep
Three ritual phases:
Separation is characterized by the stripping away of the old
In transition the individual in a transitional stage,cut of from
the old status but not yet integrated into the new status.
In this final phase the ritual incorporation of the individual
into the new status.
Kikuyu of Kenya (East African societies).