Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What is the function of religion in your life?

In Simler and Hanson's book, The Elephant In The Brain, chapter 15 is entitled "Religion" and they describe some of the social functions of religion. If you are a student of the sociology of religion there probably is not much, if anything, here that is new, but if you are not a student of the sociology of religion you might find some of their observations very interesting.

Simler and Hanson seem to write that the two main functions of religion are social status and community building.and maintenance. Religion has very little to do with beliefs and a great deal to do with social behavior. In other words, religion has a great deal to do with ego and very little to do with spirit.

James Fowler wrote a great book about the stages of faith development and pointed out that people at different stages of religious development use religion for different purposes and in different ways. 


  1. How have you used religion in your life? 
  2. What has it mean to be a part of a faith tradition and participate in a church? 
  3. How aware are you of your own motivations and those of your fellow believers?

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