Elements, structure and functions of religion - History of religion

Elements, structure and functions of religion

As it was said, religious religions are distinguished in: religious consciousness, activity, relations, institutions and organizations. In the domestic literature, the most widespread is the view that the belief in the supernatural is the specific, main, determining, universal sign of religious consciousness: "Supernatural, in the opinion of believers and theologians, it is something that does not obey the laws of the material world, from the chain of causal dependencies

There is no reason to consider belief in the supernatural inherent in all religions at any stage of their evolution. In the early stages of development, consciousness was not yet able to form representations and, accordingly, to distinguish between the natural and the supernatural. There is no inherent belief in the supernatural and religious consciousness in the developed eastern religions (Buddhist, Taoist, etc.). The division into the natural and the supernatural is characteristic of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but in Christianity this dichotomy is not accepted by all thinkers and, as sociological studies show, because of its complexity, many believers can not perceive it. The acceptance of a belief in the supernatural as a universal, specific feature of all religious consciousness does not correspond to the facts. It should not be assumed that the religious consciousness has only its characteristic of some kind. The peculiarity of this consciousness - in the aggregate, combination, correlation, subordination and direction of features.

Religious consciousness is inherent in faith, sensual presentation, images created by imagination, the connection of adequate content with inadequate content, symbolism, allegoricalness, dialogicalness, strong emotional saturation. The mentioned features (if we talk about them as features of consciousness in general and do not have in mind their specification in religion) are peculiar not only to religious consciousness. Faith as a special psychological state functions in various areas of spiritual and practical activities. Sensual visibility, images of fantasy, emotionality are characteristic of art, inadequate perceptions and views often arise in morality, politics, social sciences, inauthentic concepts and theories are created in natural science, etc.

The integral component of religious consciousness is religious faith, under the influence of which the distinctiveness and other features of it are acquired. It is faith:

a) in the objective existence of hypostated beings, attributed properties and connections, as well as properties, relationships of the world formed by these beings,

b) the ability to communicate with these creatures, influence them and get help from them;

c) in the truth of the corresponding representations, views, dogmas, texts, etc.,

d) in the actual fulfillment of certain events described in religious texts, in their repeatability, in the occurrence of the expected event, in their involvement in them;

e) n religious authorities - fathers, teachers, saints, prophets, charismatics, bodhisattvas, arhats, gurus, church hierarchs, clergy, etc.

Thanks to this belief, certain persons, objects, actions, words, scriptures are endowed with religious meanings and meanings, the bearers of these meanings and meanings form a symbolic environment for the formation and functioning of the corresponding consciousness. Religious faith animates the whole religious complex and determines the peculiarity of the process of granting (Latin transcendens - transcending, transcending) in religion. People who do not proceed in empirical existence of people from limitations to unlimitedness, from powerlessness to power, from time to eternity, from life before - to life after death, from this-sidedness to otherworldness, from lack of freedom to liberation, etc. with the help of religious faith are achieved in terms of consciousness. Religious consciousness has two levels - everyday, accessible to every religious person, and conceptualized, specially developed by professionals (theology, dogma, religious philosophy). It functions through the language of religion.

In religion as a field of spiritual life, the corresponding activity is unfolding. It is necessary to distinguish between the religious and religious activities of religious individuals, groups, institutions and organizations. Non-religious is carried out in non-religious areas: economic, industrial, professional (in various spheres of the division of labor), political, state, artistic, and scientific activities. It can be religiously colored, as one of its motives may be a religious motive. But in terms of objective content, subject and results - this is non-religious activity.

There are two main types of religious activities - extracultural and cult. activities include: the development of religious ideas, the systematization and interpretation of the theology of theology, the writing of theological works, the teaching of theological disciplines in educational institutions (schools, universities, religious educational institutions), the management of religious organizations and institutions, the propagation of religious views through the press, radio, television and so on. As a rule, in the extra-cultural activity, the elements of the cult are included to a greater or lesser extent.

The most important type of religious activity is cult. The content of the cult is given by the relevant religious ideas, its subject are the external objects and processes, psychic phenomena realized in the form of religious images. The means of the cult form an aggregate of material things (church utensils, cross, icon, sculpture, stupa, mandala, etc.); modes of action - is a certain configuration and sequence of movements (the sign of the cross, kneeling, obeisances, prayer, meditation facial and pantomime, etc.). The result of participation in the cultic activities is, first of all, the satisfaction of religious needs, as well as artistic needs, communication needs, catharsis, calmness, relief of experiences, etc. Varieties of the cult are ritual dances around images of animals or hunting objects, spells of spirits, kamlaniya (in religions in the early stages of development), rituals, preaching, prayer, worship, festivals, fasting, pilgrimages, etc. (in developed religions).

In accordance with various activities, non-religious and religious relations. In the course of fulfilling the economic, political, state, enlightenment and other activities, religious individuals, groups, institutions enter into corresponding activities corresponding to these types of activity. In this kind of connection, a subjectively supposed religious meaning is possible, but they are not religious in objective content.

Religious relations represent a kind of relationship in the strictly religious sphere of society. They are formed in accordance with religious consciousness, are realized and exist through religious activities. There are extracultural and cult religious relations: extracurricular activities are realized through out-of-cult religious activities, and cultic ones - thanks to the cult. Religious relations have a subjective plan, a plan of consciousness; consciousness assumes certain relations of people to hypostatic beings, attributed properties and connections, as well as believers with each other. The first relations in the everyday life of ordinary believers are usually actualized only in certain situations, and their religious ties with one another are of primary importance.

Religious relations are carried out with the help of various symbolic intermediaries and corresponding ways of their fixation and mediation. As intermediaries can act:

• Objects of inanimate and living nature - icon, cross, crucifixion, stupa, stone, plants, animals, etc. - and then religious relations are mediated in the objective, material form;

• Individual or group of persons - minister of religion, head of religious organization, community functionary, possessor of "gift" and others, in this case they speak of a personified way of fixing relationships;

• Images of God, spirits, souls, Our Lady, Christ, Buddha, Bodhisattva, Muhammad, saints, etc. - this is an idealized, figurative form of mediation;

• language - individual words and whole sentences, containing an instruction about who and how to communicate; this way of fixing relationships is called linguistic.

Objects, things, persons, images, words are signs that express religious meanings and meanings, are read by individuals entering into communication.

Bearers of religious relations, depending on the degree of influence of religion, could be a family, ethnic group, class, stratum, class, professional group, state with its subjects or parts of these groups, i.e. such social and political associations, whose representatives also refer to one common religion. Particularly important role in the preservation and reproduction of religious relations was played by social groups distinguished by a religious sign: varna of brahmanas in ancient Indian society, priests in slaveholding states of Europe, clergy in medieval feudal monarchies, etc. As the formation of special religious communities, communities, associations, institutions, subgroups and sub-institutions, priority is given to actualization, carrying and broadcasting of religious relations.

Religious relations can have different character - solidarity, tolerance and neutrality, competition, conflict and struggle. This struggle often resulted in the form of religious wars. But even with "peaceful coexistence" confessions, as a rule, among believers there is an idea of ​​the superiority of "his" association, confession, direction, religion. In accordance with the nature of religious relations, the latter could either soften the socio-political and inter-ethnic tensions and confrontation (in cases of their emergence and growth) or aggravate the socio-political contradictions of classes, strata, classes, ethnic groups, other social groups, states, that could contribute to the emergence of wars.

religious institutions and organizations serve as ordering activities and relations of authority. Economic institutions (for example, the Bank of the Holy Spirit in the Vatican), political parties (Christian, Islamic, etc.), trade unions, women's, youth and other formations are created to participate in non-religious areas. There are also institutions in religions - extracurricular and cult. We refer to the management of extraterrestrial religious activities (departments of education, departments of the press, rectors of religious educational institutions, etc.), and among the cults we mention the parish, clergy, clergy, deaconate, episcopate.

The structure of a religious organization is prescribed by tradition and custom, church law and by-laws, apostolic rules, constitutions, etc. Organizational principles determine its constituent parts, the totality of positions and roles, the rules of subordination and coordination of the activities of individuals and individual links of the structure, the nodes of activity and, accordingly, groups of figures designed to ensure unity of association. Depending on the conditions of origin and existence, religious organizations take monarchical, parliamentary-royal, republican-democratic and other kinds.

Religion performs a number of functions , the most significant are the worldview, compensatory, communicative, regulative, integrating-disintegrating, legitimizing-delegating, cultural-translating functions. Religion sets the ultimate criteria, ideals, from the point of view of which people, society, and the world are understood, goal-setting and sense-setting are ensured. It makes up for the limitations, dependence, relativity, ephemeral, defective human being, provides communication and thus overcomes loneliness, comforts, alleviates suffering, provides catharsis. With the help of norms of religious law, morality, numerous examples for imitation, traditions, customs, institutions, management of activities and attitudes, consciousness and behavior of individuals, groups, communities is carried out. Religion can unite in one respect, and in the other it can separate individuals, groups, institutions, legitimize certain social orders, institutions (state, political, legal, etc.), relations as appropriate to the "higher principle" or, conversely, to assert the illegality of some of them.

The results, the consequences of the performance of religion functions are different. We can name some principles, the implementation of which helps to provide an objective analysis of the role of religion, to study its influence differentially, under specific conditions of place and time.

1. The role of religion in society can not be considered primary and determining, although it exerts a reverse effect on society and other spheres of social life. The religious factor influences the economy, politics, the state, interethnic relations, the family, the culture field through the activities of believing individuals, groups, organizations in these areas. Occurs

Overlay religious relations on other social relations.

2. The degree of influence of religion depends on its place in society, and this place is not once and for all given, it changes in the context of the processes of sacralization and secularization. Sacralization means the involvement in the sphere of religious authorization of various forms of social and individual consciousness, activity, relations, the behavior of people, institutions, the growth of the influence of religion on various spheres of public and private life. Secularization, on the contrary, leads to a weakening of the influence of religion on the public and individual consciousness, to limiting the possibility of religious authorization of various types of activities, behavior, attitudes and institutions, the active influence of religious individuals and organizations on various non-religious spheres of life. These processes are non-linear, contradictory, uneven in societies of different types, in successive stages of their development, in countries and regions of Europe, America, Asia, Africa, in changing sociopolitical and cultural situations.

3. The impact on society, its subsystems, on the identity of tribal, national-national, world religions, as well as individual religious trends and confessions, is peculiar. In their doctrine, cult, organization, ethics, there are specific features that are expressed in the rules of attitudes toward the world, in the daily behavior of followers in various areas of public and private life, imprint a person on the economic, political, moral, artistic person, person environmental, etc., in other words - on various aspects of culture. The system of religious motivation is not the same, and therefore the direction and effectiveness of economic activity of the followers of Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Calvinism, Orthodoxy, Old Believers, etc. In different ways, tribal, national-national, world religions, their trends and confessions were included in interethnic, interethnic relations. There are noticeable differences in morality, in the moral attitudes of a Buddhist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Shinto, a Taoist, a follower of a tribal religion, etc. Art developed in its own way, its types and genres, artistic images in contact with one or other religions, etc.

4. As it was said, religion is a systemic formation, which includes a number of elements and connections: consciousness with its own features and levels, extracurricular and cult forms of activity and relations, institutions for orientation in out-of-cult and cult areas. The functioning of the named elements, links gave the results corresponding to them, their content and direction. Credible knowledge allowed to build an effective program of actions, increased the creative potential of culture, and delusions did not guarantee the transformation of nature, society and man in accordance with the objective laws of development, led to adverse consequences. Activities, attitudes, institutions consolidated people, but could also disunite, contribute to the emergence and proliferation of conflicts. In the process of religious activity and the functioning of religious relations, the creation and accumulation of material and spiritual culture - the development of uninhabited lands, the improvement of agriculture, livestock, crafts, the development of temple building, writing, book printing, the network of schools, the spread of literacy, the development of various art forms, etc.

But, on the other hand, certain layers of culture were rejected and repelled - many components of pagan culture, buffoonery, laughter culture, portraiture in Islam, works that fell into their time in the "Index of Prohibited Books" Catholicism, a number of scientific discoveries, free-thinking, etc. Under certain conditions, religion can actively influence the development of national culture, strengthen ethnic and national identity, but at the same time it can contribute to the formation of ethnocentrism, serve as a factor in isolating and separating this ethnos from others. Often, religiosity combines with the idea of ​​ethnic exclusiveness, chauvinism, and national strife intensifies religious confusion. Of course, it should also be taken into account that the positions and practice of religious organizations on many issues of cultural development are changing.

5. It is important to take into account the relationship of the common human and the private in religion. Now the opinion about the identity of the religious and general humanistic is widespread, but this opinion does not take into account a number of facts. In religions are represented a variety of cultures. Even the world religions - three, not to mention the multitude of national-national and tribal. In religion, components of common humanistic, formational, civilizational, class, ethnic, particular, patriarchal, global and local are intertwined, sometimes whimsically. In various situations, they can be actualized, those or the others can come to the fore; religious leaders, groups, thinkers can express these trends in different ways. All this finds expression in socio-political orientations. History shows that in religious organizations there are different positions - progressive, conservative, regressive, etc. And this group and its representatives are not always rigidly assigned to any of them, they can change their orientation, move from one position to another. In modern conditions, the significance of the activities of any institutions, groups, parties, leaders, including religious ones, is determined primarily by the extent to which it serves the assertion of humanistic values.

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