Religion Provides a Humane Society as a Whole Essay

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Where does religion come from and what is its function? This simple question has been studied, defined, and debated by a variety of individuals with differing schools of thought throughout history. Although the conjunction of different ideologies from many of these theorists would provide the most comprehensive solution to this question, Mircea Eliade’s theory as a whole most convincingly addresses this question compared other separate theories as a whole. In particular, Eliade’s emphasis of studying religion via a cross-cultural comparison method and his notion of “the sacred and the profane” results in a deeper understanding of a given religion and the function it provides to human society as a whole. In contrast to many of the earlier …show more content…

Although the cross-cultural comparison of religion is important for understanding the function of religion, Eliade did not strongly stress the importance of remaining unbiased while studying and comparing other religions. In particular, Ludwig emphasizes the importance of observing different religions by trying to understand the intensions behind various actions without any preconceived ideals (Ludwig, p4). Problems with bias and the use of harsh language are apparent in the description of American culture in Body Rituals of the Nacirema. Specifically, the use of primitive language to describe tasks such as shaving has such a strong bias that American readers misunderstand the description of their own culture (Galbraith, p2). Overall, even though Eliade did not address this problem, his movement towards a cross-cultural comparison is a step in the right direction to understanding the general functions of religion. Ludwig defines sacred as “what is experienced as ultimate reality” and its experience “provides the source of meaning and purpose in life” (Ludwig, p8). Eliade highlights the transition from the profane to the sacred as a basic need to sustain human society. As a result, this shift to experience the sacred is inherent to many ritual and worship practices. For instance, the reading or recreation of a sacred story allows participants to experience the “ultimate reality” of their identity. Specifically, the story Enuma

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