Religion || Social Institution || Bcis Notes

Religion || Social Institution || Bcis Notes


The sociology of religion is the study of the mutual interactions of religious and other social institutions. Religion is the faith in supernatural power, social unity, and social control, worshipping, praying, devotion, etc. It is the faith upon spiritual power, where concepts of sacred and profane have been developed.

  • Taylor- Religion is the belief in spiritual beings.
  • Durkheim, “Religion is the unified system of belief and practices relative to sacred (Holy) things.
  • Malinowski says that “Religion is the mode of action as well as a system of belief and a sociological phenomenon as well as a personal experience.”

It is a road to spiritual serenity and inner journey. It is perceived as a mysterious and higher power. From the beginning of human evolution to the dates, it has been institutionalized systems of beliefs, symbols, values, and practices mediated through Vedas, Purans, Upanishads, and the Geeta among the Hindus, the Bible among Christians, and the Tripatak among Buddhists.

Basic Components of Religion:

  • Provision of sacred and profane objects
  • Some methods of salvation
  • Provision of Righteous and Sinful act
  • Adjustment with supernatural power
  • Moral and Philosophical Principles Gods
  • Goddess and Totem as Sacred
  • Provision of Fetishism
  • Provision of Ghost, Witchery, and Magic
  •  There is a Provision of Animism, Polytheism, Monotheism, and secularism in Religion
  • Provision of Different Sect in Religions

1. Provision of Sacred and Profane Objects:

  • Durkheim opines that sacred objects are ideal and transcendental. It is non-empirical and non-utilitarian aspects of a character. The attitudes and behavior towards it are charged with a very pious attitude. ‘Saligram dhunga‘, ‘bara-pipal’, ‘tulsi’ cow and pigeon are taken as holy or sacred objects or beings among Hindus.
  • There is a provision of strong sentiments towards those objects. Philosophical principles, supernatural forces, g totemic objects can be sacred objects like a god, a rock, a stone, the moon, the sun, a tree, an animal, a symbol like ‘swastik’ among Hindus across among Christians mediated through some form of rituals, prayers, incantation or ceremonial cleansing.
  • Similarly, in profane objects, the attitudes and behavior towards it are charged with negative emotions and hedged about by strong taboos. Slaughtering cow and eating pig is prohibited among high caste Hindus. Something becomes sacred and profane only when it is socially defined as such by a community of believers. Profane objects believed to contaminate the holy objects.

2. Some Methods of Salvation:

  • Salvation is regarded as the ultimate objective of a devotee. In our Buddhism, we call ‘Nirvana’ among Hindus, we say ‘ mokchhya‘ means a process of becoming one within God. It is the process of releasing from the chain of birth and death.

3. Provision of Righteous and Sinful Act:

  • Behaving following the religious code of conduct is righteous and going against them is sinful. Unconditional love, compassion, and altruism are some illustrations of righteous work in almost all religions in the world through the processes that are different. Trouble, lying, adultery, stealing and mischievousness are some sinful acts.

4. Adjustment with Supernatural Power:

  • Man has psychic terror and his mental faculty. To reduce psychic terror he does practice like pray, worshipping, hymns and other ritual practices. He firmly believes that his disrespect and negligence of them would bring him misfortune. He develops trust after worshipping or praying the god.

5. Moral and Philosophical Principles:

  • Each religion has its philosophical doctrine and rituals accordingly. Hindus have their own, ‘The Geeta’ regarding the definition of material, spiritual and mystery of li life. Quran has its definition of human life. The Bible has given its perspective to see the world view and life. Religion prescribes dos s and don’ts. Buddhism teaches us in karma or practice. Buddha has bi prescribed four noble truths or paths to follow. Though the processes are different m different religion the essence is the same as each religion no suggests love, help, compassion, altruism, reciprocity, respect,

6. Gods, Goddess and Totem as Sacred:

  • Each religion has its own god. The sacred may be a supernatural being or god. Totem is a symbol, a co treasury of deep group-based sentiments and feelings mediated through die animals, plants and objects. We do worship the sun, the cow and the examples are; sacred plants like ‘tulsi, Bar-Pipal, Bel Patra, etc.

7.Provision of Fetishism:

  • It endows objects with supernatural or mystical powers for good or evil. Leslie White opines that most fetishes are inanimate objects whose alleged events powers are based on superstitions that de happens together or sequentially, are caused related and will continue to happen together. The essence of a fetish is that it has mystical power for good or evil which some preliterate call ‘mama‘.

8. Provision of Animism, Polytheism, Monotheism, and secularism in Religion:

  • Many people worship the ancestor’s spirit Ghost, Witchery. Such spirits are also believed to possess humans believed that ‘bhut, ‘pret ‘pisach”kiclikanni’ are unsatisfied ‘atmas’ of ancestors that roam around the surrounding. Magic is a system of manipulation by which an effect is sought through the action of unseen powers.

9. There is a Provision of Animism, Polytheism, Monotheism, and secularism in Religion:

  • Animism is a religious practice that propounds the existence of some supra physical being within the body of every Hying being. It is believed to survive the death of the physical body in which it is contained. It is the belief in the spirits of the dead. Connecting the unionism in our context, it is our belief that if Hindus do not feed their ancestors their spirits will not feel happy in another world. To feed them a fifteen days ritual called ‘shradha’ is celebrated among Hindus because of such belief.
  • On the process of human evolution, human beings developed a concept of polytheism in which they created the different names of h different gods and goddesses. Many gods like ’33 koti dewata’ came into e existence in the regime of religious practices. Development of knowledge and socio-cultural evolution of society, people developed the concept of a single god concept called monotheistic belief and practices means a single god concept. Scientific attitudes towards religion, development of transportation and communication, the influence of western knowledge, the emergence of rational and reason-based society made it possible to be secular where religionism decreases. Under this stage, an individual is free to follow any religion he likes. He is free to choose his destination.

10. Provision of Different Sects in Religions:

  • A sect is a group of people who believe in common religious attitudes and interests. The groups of believers hold common beliefs, values and practices then united for the collective public performance. We can get different sects in each religion.


  • Hinders social progress and prosperity
  • Hampers the adaption of society to changed conditions
  • It may increase social conflict like Hindu Vs Muslim in India, Fundamental Muslim VS liberal Muslim due to sects
  • Impedes the development of new identity
  • It imparts sentiments and beliefs that shape fatalistic attitudes to the followers
  • It retards scientific inventions and its achievements
  • It undermines human potentiality as it imparts emotion and sentiment rather than reason and rationality
  • Contribute to superstitious beliefs, inequalities, and exploitation
  • Promotes evil practices and stereotype society rather than a critical society
  • Witch witchery, black magic, jadu, tuna muna, mana are some superstitious beliefs that are embedded in our society.

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