What is the true purpose of the religion? From the Socratic times, people ask questions like “ Who I am ?” “ Who is my creator ?”” What I should do or not do ?”. These questions impacted people, philosophers to studyTheology, the study of unmoved mover (God), and later to form the concept of “ religion”.
Which is failed to be defined because of the difference of views about its functioning orpurpose. There is the myriad of thoughts about the true target of the religion, but the mostgeneral one is that the largest religions(Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) teach usto noble qualities such as love, peace, moral and justice. However, others consider that thetrue purpose is to control the society. Since the religions play an important role in our life, I strongly believe that the givenambiguity should not be ignored by society. In this paper, I am going to show that the truepurpose of the religion can be considered differently by interpretivists and positivists but thepurpose is the same. Which is to control the society. Also, in my essay, I will take two the largest religions (Christianity and Islam) as theexamples and explode them. This is because they cover more than the half of population.
2According to Gosling, “ Positivism is originated as a philosophy of science…Scientificinquiry is based on the systematic accumulation of “ facts” rather than on beliefs, opiniontradition or divine revelation…
” (Gosling, 2005; 73)So, we cannot determine the religion as ascience, because it accumulates beliefs and faith. But in any way, let’s analyze the facts thatwe have about the religion. First one is the existence of rituals such as celebrating Christmas, and five pillars of Islam.
These rituals must be followed by religion people. The second one isthe existence of the sacred/religious texts in the Bible and Quran, respectively. In givenbooks, there are a collection of texts, rules and stories for their followers. Why all of themcreated? To describe it I will give you a simple example. Suppose, the parents said to hischild do not go out of the house or otherwise he will be punished.
Consequently, a childwould not go out of the house or he will be stopped by his parents for an attempt to go out. Thus, parents want to control the child by creating some rules and conditions as same as thereligion created mentioned rituals and the holy books in order to control the society and showthe certain way. Therefore, I induce that each of religions was created by a group of people inancient times with the purpose of control societies. Nevertheless, these days the phenomenaof religion is control humanity by social constructionism, not the mentioned group people. According to Gosling, interpretivists believe that people interpret situations in which theyfind themselves and act on the basis of these interpretations.(Gosling, 2005; 75) So, by theinterpretivist approach, religion followers tend to think that they should understand themeaning of sacred things and the whole world. Since notwithstanding the fact that religionshave not clear and justified arguments for its doctrine, it formally answers to questions like” What would be with me after the death?”, “ What is the meaning of the life ?” and “ Does godexist ?”.
Which are certainly one of the most asked questions by humanity. That is whypeople want to believe in religion because religion answers the questions which have notgenerally accepted answers. Functionalists like Durkheim believes that religious ritualsmaintain the social integration. 4 Consequently, functionalists believe that religion defendssocial stability by answering these questions.
According to traditional functionalists andMarxists, religion is kind of external force that created to mould the people into socialconformity. 7 Therefore, religion is a tool for controlling the society. Taking into account all above mentioned facts, I can conclude that the concepts ofphilosophy helped me to investigate the true purpose of the religion. Which is defineddifferently by positivists and non-positivist but has the similar outcome for the ambiguity ofpurpose. Overall, the true purpose of the religion is the controlling the society. However, weshould consider the other philosophical concepts like essentialism and utilitarianism. The firstconcept argues that if religion exists from the ancient times, it must have some essence thatpeople used find natural. 5 The utilitarian doctrine describes religion as the right and usefulconcept because it provides happiness and beneficial consequences for the majority ofpeople. 6