Religious Beliefs And Practices Are Developed, And A Majority Of Experts Essay

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According to our textbook, “Religious beliefs and practices are found in all known contemporary societies” (Ember 242), and there even appears to be evidence of religion in prehistoric times. As something that is so widespread, it is only natural for anthropologists and other social scientists to try to explain why religion has developed, and a majority of experts, “think that religions are created by humans in response to certain universal needs or conditions” (Ember 243). That is, it is a commonly accepted fact that religions are not “phenomenon” but are rather the result of human adaptation to fulfill certain needs or respond to certain conditions. Specifically, there are five main explanations as to why religion has developed: the human need to understand, a “reversion to childhood feelings” (Ember 243), anxiety and uncertainty, the need to form a community, and the need for cooperation (Ember 243). First of all, it is possible that religion has developed as a result for the need for understanding. According to Edward Taylor, a social scientist, “religion originated in people’s speculation about dreams, trances, and death” (Ember 243). As a result of the appearance of others (even the dead) in dreams and trances, Taylor argued that this caused humans to believe in, “a physical, visible body and a psychic, invisible soul” (Ember 243). Referring to this belief in souls as animism, which could be applied to humans, creatures, and various objects, Taylor argued that this

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