IMAGINE THERE’S NO HEAVEN, IT’S EASY IF YOU TRY, NO HELL BELOW US...ABOVE US ONLY SKY.....
Actually, given my roots, it isn’t easy to imagine this at all – but I am going to ponder the question - Are Religious beliefs just a form of constructed socialisation?
Well given that many religions are based on ancient doctrine, then interpreted by ‘societies’ and taught to the masses through socialisation.....you could simply conclude that it is! Since societies and their norms change over time...you could also say, religion too has to be flexible..if as an institution, it wants to keep alliance with the people. [There are so many example of this happening in the Christian faith over the past century – for example : accepting homosexuals, women priests, Roman Catholic married priests , relaxing of Friday fasting rules...and I could go on and on. ] But doesn't it all illustrates the point that religious beliefs are constructed and then ‘taught’ through socialisation?
Of course, you might argue that most religions simply have to be followed with a blind faith. Since God....[whichever one you follow,] is not a physical being. We find Him where we are told to look for him. ....and we can even find Him within ourselves.....through our good deeds, our kindness and our self control. So you could say that this presents another reason why Religion in society has a place....it keeps many people following ‘rules’ and conforming. Yes, religion is a handy thing to weave into the fabric of society...for what worse punishment can there be than eternal damnation??? – this fits in with an interesting part of the paper we were given concerning classical theories of religion. Many people follow a religion because it offers an escape from death. Hope from a hopeless situation. This, they argue, explains why the 50+ age group ‘practice’ more than the’ immortal’ youth. So even if in your teenage years you turn away from your faith.....when you realise your own mortality – there’s a good chance you’ll hit the church again. Especially if that all important early socialisation is in place.
If religion is a social construction then the influence of religion on society is immeasurable....and not really accounted for......especially when there exists a huge mixed bag of faiths, as this may create an imbalance of social norms. You only have to look at our multi ethnic society, so many religions, and cultures co-existing. Yet, isn’t it true that we really, we remain ignorant to each other’s belief’s .....and largely ignore the impact that this has on society. Public attention is given only when a religion is blamed for an atrocity – then the dormant ignorance is spurred into group condemnation. I really think that this is down to the fact we are so ignorant to the ethnic reality of our world.....and shows that popping Diwalii, Eed or the Passover into the curriculum for a week or two isn’t doing much to help the issue!