The Impact of Religion on Modern Society
A religious institution is a set up organization through which individuals express belief in a supernatural power that controls human nature and destiny. Therefore, religion is referred to as the belief and worship of gods or god or any similar system of belief and worship. The set up of a religion’s system includes devotional and ritual observations and more often than not has a moral code that defines the conduct of the believers of the religious institution. There are numerous religions all over the world with some varying greatly, whereas; others are closely related and vary subtly.
Since time immemorial religion has determined how people behave and relate to the extent that at some time in the past; religious leadership formed the state or governance of society. However, the emergence of modernity strived to separate the state or citizen’s government from religious affiliation and influence. Despite this struggle religion still plays an important role in influencing every day’s life in modern society.
The ways through which religion influences modern society
The code of social or moral conduct and behavior of society is widely based on religious principles. The teachings of religion form the basis of social and religious studies disseminated via the curricula in educational institutions all over the country. Apart from the educational set up, such teachings are found amongst religious institutions that deliver the teachings and advocate for their practice. The fact that most ardent members of these religions follow and practice these teachings; simply means that religion is thus influencing how members of society conduct themselves morally (Lundskow, pp 124-126). This influence is enormous based on the fact that most members of a society at least have some sort of religious affiliation to one religious institution in the nation. Therefore, the social fabric of society is actually weaved on the codes of conduct based on the teachings of religions (Kato, pg-1).
Secondly, religion has notably influenced legislation and constitution making in most nations. The laws of most countries can be traced back to the teachings and laws of religions. Legislated laws in America forbid killing and theft-these could actually be attributed to the Ten Commandments in the Christian teachings. The country of America has had a lot of religious influence in the making of its constitution. This is exemplified by amendments that offered religious liberty. Additionally, the influence of religion on state can be exemplified by Muslim religious states whose laws are based the Muslim teachings (Fairbairn, 222-225). Therefore, religion has indeed had influence on the legislation of laws and constitution making-both of which define how the modern society lives and its members conduct themselves.
Religions are also involved in charitable works in the modern society. These humanitarian efforts carried by religions help in bettering the life of the less fortunate in society. Therefore, religion goes beyond teaching to offer practical solutions to life’s problems that affect society. There are many religious based charitable foundations all over the world that offer aid in form of financial assistance, technical aid and material support to the poor or disabled members of society. These efforts by religious institutions make the modern world a better place for people (Hubbard, 1).
The religions of the world also influence modern day politics and policy making in many nations. There are various instances when religions rally for certain political stands as well as some policy implementation in most modern societies. The political stand and championing of some religions actually influence the choice of political leadership in most countries in the world. As a result, religion plays a role determining the form leadership in most nations. The advocacy for some policies’ implementation determines how society lives, and thus; religion takes a role in influencing society (Moyser, pp 1-4).
Religious institutions also play an important role in the delivery of education to society. Religions have gone beyond religious teaching and instituted formal learning schools, colleges, technical institutions and universities that offer formal learning. A part of these institutions are charitable whereas others try to offer affordable education to those that cannot access cheaper formal education. These religious affiliated formal learning institutions are all over the world with most of them being in third world and developing countries. Therefore, religion also greatly plays a role in educating the general populace, and this in turn; influences how the modern society lives and develops.
Amidst all the positive influence, it is important to note that there is also some negative influence on modern society that can be attributed to religions’ influence. This can be exemplified by Shariah laws in some Muslim states that advocate for stoning of adulterous women to death. This is definitely a negative influence of religion. There are also occasional cases of religious cults that perform illegal acts that negatively impact on modern society. For example there are cases of cults that perform human sacrifice and support the marriage of minors. These are some of the few negative impacts that religion occasionally has on society. However, these cases cannot be taken as religious influence as such because the acts involved are illegal, criminal and they are not within the context of what most nations regard as religious acts.
Fairbairn, M. Andrew. Religion in History and in Modern Life. 2009. Print BiblioBazaar, LLC Publishers, 2009. Print.
Hubbard, L. Ron. Religious Influence in Society. Freedommag.org. 2008. Web. 10th June, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.freedommag.org/english/vol33I1/l-ron-hubbard.htm.
Kato, Hideki. The Role of Religion in Modern Society. Tokyo foundation.org. 2008. Web. 10th June, 2010. Retrieved from, http://global.tokyofoundation.org/en/opinion/article/o08040102/view.
Lundskow, George. The Sociology of Religion: A substantive and transdisciplinary approach.Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2008. Print.
Moyser, George. Politics and Religion in the Modern World. Routledge Publishers,1991. Print.