Religion is a practice which has been part and parcel of mankind since time memorial. It is an extremely influential factor in the living standards of most people. However, with time, the influence religion has on people is drastically declining. “During the modern period rationalism ruled and religion came to be rejected by rationalists as superstitious and irrational. Rationalists not only rejected it but even ridiculed it”1. Although religion has a declining effect on the life styles of mankind, it can be considered to still posses’ significant amount of power in modern times.
This essay discusses of what impact religion has on our modern society politically, socially, ideologically and economically. The history of religions such as Christianity and Islam shows that at one point in history, these groups actually ruled the people. They were the government and made laws. For example in Rome, the Pope had part of the country where he ruled as a leader over the people.
Although in modern times it seems religion has lost much influence compared to the olden days, some part of the world has religion as the dominant figure on what laws should be used to govern the people.In countries with Islam as the major religion, the Sharia law3 is practiced which sometimes goes against U. N conventions on Human Rights4. But since religion plays a major role in these societies, these Human Rights are allowed to be breached.
In most cases political leaders arise out of their alignment with the major religious group in the country. In the middle-east where Islam is dominant, most of their leaders are Islamic and in the West where Christianity is the dominant religion there’s hardly any Moslem leader. In the U. S. A, religious groups voicing out their opinion about gay marriage is another significant factor of their political influence.This ideology seems to hinder the progress of passing gay marriage reforms since through their preaching in gatherings and other processes; they are able to convince the people. With social impact, Fundamentalism seems to divide the 2 major religions in the world; Christianity and Islam, into 2 opposing groups. Fundamentalist from both groups refuse to adhere to their differences and this causes friction between the two groups.
For example, in France which has a majority of the people being Christian based, there’s a clear infringement on Moslems by the banning of head scarves to school. The proposition was passed in parliament with a majority of 494 to 365. The head scarf is seen as a religious attribute to Moslems, but so are different artifacts like the Rosary which is allowed to be worn in schools! This step is seen as discrimination towards the Moslem society because the government is more concerned on the Moslems than the other religions.
In the U. S. A, religious groups seem to enjoy an increase in number in the past decades and through the teachings, religion does posses certain amount of influence on the people with how to live social life and so on. The Catholic Church against gay marriages also has social impact because it’s creating an entirely bad image for gay couples. The church is trying to shape the society into what it deems as right even if it’s not theologically instilled in the Bible.
There is and has always been an immense impact on religion ideologically. Religion itself is ideologically based.The people involved in religion live by the teachings of their religious leaders. With the gay couple’s case, this can yet be referred to this section because it’s an opinion of the church.
The church’s formal rules (meaning laws in the Bible) did not attack gay people as being bad. But throughout the previous decades, homosexuality has been looked down and now is viewed as “special sin”. It is not tolerated because the church does not agree6 and this has a great impact on the society because the people follow the ideology of the church.With the church preaching such a thing, it is more likely gay reforms would still be looked down on by the people! Economically, the research is sometimes held back and technological advance is therefore not possible to occur.
An example of this would be the protests of the Evangelicals in America against embryonic stem cell research. This religious movement hinders the income such a project would have reaped. Some religions preach for or against the buying of certain products to it’s members.In the middle-east, after caricature of the Prophet Mohammed in Danish newspapers, Danish products were removed from stores and the sales of such items were abolished. This proves that religion also has great economic impact on our society. In all, I agree religion does really have immense impact on the society in all the 4 categories stated above. It’s influence might not look that direct, but then carefully analyzing the situation, it would be very easy to pin point this influences.