The attempt to give answer on the question whether religion is a negative value for the modern world is discussed in the work. The negative and positive influences of religion on modern society are examined in this paper. The aim of the work is to show current place of the religion in the world.
The existence of religion in different social systems throughout human history, beginning with primitive society – is a universally recognized fact. Universal, the universal nature of religious belief suggests that consideration of it as an error or mistake of mankind is a consequence of the underdevelopment of social practice and scientific knowledge, will be one-sided and biased approach to the study of religion. Inherent view of religion to the French Enlightenment and then, taken up by Marxist as “false consciousness is illusory the opium for the people”¯ makes it impossible to penetrate deeply into the specifics of religious experience, to understand its identity and sociology-cultural importance.
Answering the question of whether religion is source of a negative value in today’s world, I would say that the analysis of any effects on people’s lives can be either positive (to assist them in their conservation and development) or negative (hindering them in their conservation and development) or controversial (bearing in a both positive and negative consequences). How can we evaluate the generalized form of the influence of religion on people’s lives? As a positive? As a negative? Or as contradictory?
I should say that clergy and theologians who share the religion of the true, partly true and false, believe that true religion certainly play a positive role, false – certainly negative, and partially true – the controversial role. Among atheists, there are those (we call them “extreme”¯ atheists) who believe that any religion plays only a negative role. In the problem of “the role of religion”¯ there is such point of view as “golden mean”¯. According to this view religion, in general, plays a controversial role: it has a tendency, hostile to the culture and progress, but there is a tendency to the contrary.
For answering to the question one must take into account the correct understanding and interpretation of the term “religion”, the definition of its semantic content. Moreover, that the interpretation of religion has spread in the philosophical atheist and sociological literature as “distorted and fantastic reflection in the minds of the people, ruling over their natural and social forces,” is, in our opinion, one-sided and inaccurate. Therefore we can not say that religion has a negative connotation in the modern world.
From a sociological point of view, there are three main functions of religion in society: 1) integrative; 2) regulatory;
3) communicative. Integrative function of religion has been adequately disclosed by Emile Durkheim, who, by studying the primitive religion of the Australian Aborigines, drew attention to the fact that the religious symbolism, religious values, rituals and customs contribute to social cohesion, ensure sustainability and stability of primitive societies. Assessing the religion in terms of its social functions, Durkheim opposed the religion reduction to a set of ideas. As he emphasizes, “the true function of religion is not to force us to think, to enrich our knowledge and to motivate us to action, helping us to live … The first tenet of any faith – is the belief in salvation by faith.”¯ Religion, for Durkheim, a solidarity system of beliefs and rituals that unite all those who committed them, in a single moral community called a church.Ā Durkheim assumes that no matter how ridiculous or seemed certain beliefs or religious views; they have deep social roots, and must first learn by sociologist.
The next religion function is communicative function which has a value, in the first place, for the believers themselves. The most important means of communication was a cult activities – worship in the temple, public prayer, participation in the sacraments, rites, etc.
Analyzing the literature I should stress that sociologists believe that the emergence and existence of religion in all societies, without exception, explained the desire of mankind not only to find the answers to fundamental problems of its own existence, but at the same time create awareness and feelings of believers so that they have gained confidence and found moral support and solace in religious activities. That’s why we can’t say about religion as about something negative.
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