The History Of Religion And Society Theology Religion Essay Example
The History Of Religion And Society Theology Religion Essay Example

The History Of Religion And Society Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 12 (3161 words)
  • Published: October 13, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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Both religion and literature have a longstanding history, dating back to at least 1000 BC and even earlier. They have been integral parts of human existence since the Stone Age. Literature emerged as a means to document important and trivial occurrences, while religion and history influenced its development into its current form.

Both faith and literature have had an impact on each other's growth and effectiveness. Literature has provided a platform to explore and understand various aspects of faith and its expressions. Similarly, faith has influenced the themes and ideas portrayed in literature. This mutual dependency has resulted in both forms influencing society, intentionally or unintentionally. Consequently, societies that encompass both faith and literature tend to be influenced by the perspectives and teachings of these two forms.

The purpose of this study is to examine the interdependence between faith and literature, as what may be considered


non-credible in one context can be supported by the other based on authenticity. Additionally, this study aims to analyze how one form, specifically religion, is represented in another form, such as literature, specifically novels.

Religion and Society

According to Britannica, religion is the relationship of human beings to that which they consider holy, sacred, absolute, divine, or deserving of exceptional reverence. Conversely, Wikipedia defines religion as a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and worldviews that connect humanity to spirituality and sometimes moral values.

Religion fulfills the inherent human longing for tranquility and spiritual satisfaction, stemming from the yearning to grasp beyond one's limited understanding. It also arises from the curiosity about life's purpose and origin, often attributing these aspects to a superior power or force.

The satisfaction of achieving religious contentment is a nove

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idea that requires entrusting one's choices to God. If circumstances are favorable, it indicates God's happiness. Conversely, if situations deviate from expectations, it suggests either divine tests or displeasure due to actions in this or previous lives. Those who purport to comprehend God's intentions hold authority in discerning good and bad. Consequently, comprehending the inscrutable has spurred the development of religion as humans gradually grasped the concept of cause and effect.

The early world's perspective involved questioning natural phenomena, the origin of humanity, the purpose of existence, and the reasons behind good and bad times. The relationship between cause and effect in human activities was well understood. Additionally, there was a widespread belief that animals played a role in certain events while plants underwent growth and decay.

However, in addition to that, individuals would have sought some form of "Human" explanation. When it came to explaining wind, earthquakes, rain and floods, drought and famine, as well as the Sun, Moon and stars, it must have seemed unimaginable that there could not be some hidden influence or power behind them. As a result, they created deities. Throughout the Middle East, there were monotheistic religions.

Polytheistic faiths existed in Europe, while mystical faiths were present in Asia. Some argue that man imagined God in his own image, rather than the belief that God created man in his own image... Those who held power recognized that controlling religion was a major source of power. It offered advantages and leverage when civilizations clashed.

As societal complexity increased, civilization emerged, and religion became widely accepted. Religion typically involves belief in supernatural phenomena or causes and is often associated with discipline in various aspects of

life, whether physical, mental, or psychological. This discipline often takes the form of religious rituals or customary practices.

Religion is the foundation for the emotions and reasoning of nearly everyone. Despite the denial of this fact in today's secular societies, the influence of religious traditions and beliefs is so deeply ingrained that it cannot be easily ignored. Even in societies where the official stance is atheism, the general population has been so immersed in a longstanding tradition of spiritual principles that it is nearly impossible to escape the impact of religion. Religion effectively offers a sense of identity for individuals who identify with a specific group.

Even individuals who do not consider themselves members or actively participate, but are primarily associated with those who belong to a religious order, effectively align themselves and are recognized by others as part of the religious order's culture. The act of adhering to a religion's doctrine, even in its minimal form, is linked to fostering a sense of well-being. Confessing sins leads individuals to experience an enhanced self-perception. Devout followers who strictly adhere to the doctrine often perceive themselves as superior to those who are less strict in their observance. They justify condemning and despising others through this mindset they have created for themselves. It is important to note that this kind of behavior extends beyond religions.

In different situations, individuals are linked through common factors like living in the same neighborhood, collaborating at work, or backing a mutual football team. Nevertheless, all these groups encompass elements of faith due to their shared beliefs and values. Those who exhibit disregard or disrespect towards these values are perceived as a danger to the

group. This has consistently been evident in regards to religion.

The utilization of faith has led to the emergence of religious groups who share similar superstitious beliefs, ideals, fears, and methods to achieve a sense of well-being. Additionally, religion can be a powerful tool for control and suppression based on religious grounds. It is frequently employed to ridicule individuals with differing beliefs, prompting strong reactions from those in authority when their right to govern, interpret religion, or acknowledge a higher power is questioned, ultimately resulting in censorship.

Often, simple equal group force per unit area can achieve this. Many specious theories and taboos are supported by religious "ethics". These theories are based on the belief that life force is sacred and belongs only to the divine. The arbitrary nature of these statements is evident as even within a single religious order or faith, there are theological disagreements on ethics. Due to the belief that secular laws are rooted in spiritual principles, it is easy for the judiciary to erroneously condemn individuals to inhuman treatment, thinking it is ethically justified.

''(HOWE 2001) Over the years, religion has had a significant impact on society. It has both brought nations together and sparked conflicts that have escalated to wars. Furthermore, divisions within a single religion have added complexity to the practices and traditions of its followers. These divisions may have arisen due to the spread of populations across the globe and political influences. There are numerous reasons that contribute to the need for different religions."

The advancement in communication technologies has made long distances feel just a phone call away. Additionally, the influx of foreigners who migrate to a community for economic

or political reasons also contributes to this sense of closeness. The increasing awareness among people can also lead to rebellion against religious governments. Furthermore, the interaction with individuals from different communities leads to the blending of cultures and traditions, as seen in India.

1.3 Literature and Society

`` We live in a society.

In essence, there are relationships and connections among individuals who reside in society. We have an inclination to be interested in our fellow individuals' lives in society, including their thoughts, emotions, preferences, and dislikes. Naturally, if we possess the ability to communicate effectively, we are on the path towards creating literature. (Mangaraj n.d.). According to the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, literature is defined as writings that possess exceptional form or expression and convey ideas of lasting or universal interest.

Both Britannica and Wikipedia provide definitions of literature, but their definitions differ slightly. Britannica defines literature as a body of written works, while Wikipedia expands this definition to include anything that uses language to express something to society, symbolizing an expression. This can include books, pictures, songs, and dramatic skits. Literature can encompass both factual information and original imagination. It is not just the words on the page, but the art of arranging words to provide pleasure.

Through the use of language, literature has the power to elevate and transform experiences beyond mere pleasure. It also serves as a tool for both criticizing and affirming cultural values in society. Language is the most essential element in literature, as it can be visual or spoken, highlighting the significance of the work.

Critics have devised various methods for categorizing literature into genres. These genres are often created artificially,

after the literature has been written, in order to make it more organized. Theories of literature need to be based on direct engagement with the actual texts and should be adaptable enough to accommodate their unique characteristics and diversity. Perhaps the most effective approach is a historical or genealogical one.

According to Brittanica (n.d.), literature refers to written works that stimulate and inspire the mind. It captures the thoughts and emotions of brilliant individuals. It captivates readers through its content as well as its style.

The text emphasizes the importance of creating an interesting and enjoyable affair for readers that also increases their knowledge. It states that most literary works reflect certain communities or societies, and can be influenced by them as well. Furthermore, literature has the power to influence even smaller factions of society and disrupt the overall calm. It also holds the ability to shape people's ideas of what is good or bad.

Literature has the ability to bring about social change and influence different aspects of a community. Political powers, philosophers, religious groups, economists, and others all use literature to express their ideas and shape society. Literature has even played a role in conceptualizing the idea of a 'society'. Prior to the Renaissance, society was only portrayed through visual representations and descriptions; the word 'society' was not used until then. Nowadays, literature is so prevalent in modern civilization that it is increasingly challenging to define it.

Human beings have the ability to constantly receive a barrage of communication. While most of it is transient, certain forms of writing manage to achieve a sense of aesthetic satisfaction, depth, and relevance that make them comparable to other

works of literature. This can be seen in various high-ranking news media, television, film, commercial fiction, Westerns and detective stories, and informative prose. According to Brittanica (n.d.), if literature reflects social understandings, it is inevitable that it will have a positive impact on our thoughts and attitudes.

Society's reaction to literature is dynamic and influential. A poem that inspires can have a broad impact on society, evoking emotions and enthusiasm for the well-being of all. In turn, society produces literature, which serves as a reflection of the society itself. However, the quality and perspective of the literature depend on the author's mindset, whether they embrace progress or conservatism. A conservative author tends to highlight aspects of societal life that uphold traditional values.

For illustration, he will highly value fear of antique ideals, regard for faith, celibacy of adult females, and so on. On the other hand, a progressive author will show how old ideals can restrain the natural freedom of the human mind, stifle the free movement of men and women in an unrestricted environment, and hinder the development of new ideals and a forward-looking society. '' ( HOWE 2001 )

1.4 Religion and Literature

For centuries, religion and literature have relied on each other for support. While literature originally served as propaganda for religion, religion was first depicted and explored with the help of literature. Religion and literature both serve the same purposes of understanding, explaining, interpreting, and concluding. They both utilize emotions as the foundation for their work.

Both faith and literature utilize language and aesthetics to convey meaning. It is difficult to determine which came first or if one influenced the other. Both faith and literature are

influential in shaping individuals' lives and the world. Additionally, religion and literature share similar methods, emphasizing the importance of imagination and artistic interpretation rather than scientific analysis.

If divinity, which is the scientific discipline of faith, can be defined and approached through rational procedures, then faith belongs to the realm of sentiments and sensibilities - the heart, the scruples, and the will. Literature, too, falls into the realm of indefinite definition; it is the product of imagination and appeals primarily to the imagination, especially in poetry and, to a lesser extent, in noble prose composition. Neither asserts nor dogmatizes; both intimate, suggest, and attempt to interpret. Neither possesses definite and precise rational judgments about eternal, universal, or divine things, but each holds general beliefs and confidences regarding the divine and the eternal. Neither follows a system or strategy but each offers an intellectual interpretation and emotional understanding of personal life and existence.' ( Thwing n.d.) 'Religion also provides vast and rich materials for literature.'

Its sacred texts are not only important pieces of literature but also provide material for great literature. Ulphilas' translation of the Bible into Gothic not only preserved the Bible but also contributed to the creation and perpetuation of literature. Both Luther's translation of the Bible and the King James Version are not only significant works of literature themselves but have also played a role in shaping modern literature. German and English language, as well as written correspondence, have been enriched and elevated by these influential translations. Additionally, it should be noted that the speeches of Robert South and Isaac Barrow (qq.v.) are noteworthy as well.

The literary works of the medieval period, including

the monasteries and cathedral chapterhouses, can be considered on par with Burke's Orations. It is important to note that these faith institutions, such as the monasteries and cathedral chapterhouses, were the guardians of valuable literary treasures for a thousand years. This period in history was detrimental to humanity's highest interests. During times of war, both laws and literature are silenced. The manuscripts of ancient Greece and Rome were preserved by the monks who diligently copied and commented on them from 500 AD until the invention of printing. Just as priests were astronomers, not only in Europe but also in India, to ensure the observance of religious events and feasts, the monks of the Middle Ages in Europe, even if they were not literary figures themselves, were the protectors of literature.

(Thwing, CB Library n.d.) "Faith and literature originate from the same primal origins and are shaped by the same influences. They both profoundly appeal to the experience of life. They acknowledge the importance and rationality of reason, as well as the power of human emotions such as love, fear, wonder, and fear. Moreover, they both assume and accept the authoritative demands of conscience and recognize the freedom and strength of human will."

Both addition in laterality, prestigiousness, and usefulness as they are closely related to life. The important subjects of faith and literature, such as wickedness, love, righteousness, and the relation of work forces to each other, are critical. A notable example is Dante's "Divine Comedy" which explores the passing from Hell to Purgatory and then to Paradise. Both faith and literature have the power to change each other's operations.

Literature can easily alter the beliefs that

faith would have tried to safeguard, and faith can alter the manner literature is perceived, according to its preference.

1.5 Religion in Literature

`` Religion is also a topic that provides the basis for many different creative venues, including literature. Writers from all walks of life and throughout various time periods have incorporated religious references into their creative works. These references may simply be passing remarks on the way to a completely different plot, or they may serve as the foundation for the entire work.'' (Religion in Literature: A Look at Some of the Classic Books n.d.). Religion plays a crucial role in the success of a literary work.

The impact of how faith is portrayed in the book has significant effects on both the civilization and the lives of the characters. Religion is a controversial topic with numerous perspectives, providing more options for exploration compared to other subjects like foreign abductions. A novel that encompasses angels, devils, the afterlife, God, Satan, persecution, or doom captivates readers' attention and maintains it until the end. Such a work also sparks debates on a fundamental level because when religion is incorporated into writing, there will inevitably be differing opinions. (Thwing, Religion and Literature n.d.) Additionally, early English literature, including the works mentioned above, not only addresses religious matters but also tackles individual rights, personal freedoms, as well as societal issues concerning human interactions and relationships.

The changing style of writing and language usage, as well as evolving perspectives and attitudes towards universal issues, can be observed through the chronological examination of these literary masterpieces. This occurs as new scientific discoveries are made, societal class structures evolve, and ideas change, while also

questioning religious ideology and corruption. Religion often emerges as the cause of conflicts and tensions within literature, with themes such as prejudice and bias being commonly explored. It is often portrayed as the influencing factor in a character's fate, suggesting that religion is an overarching theme in literature that relates to discrimination and race.

Faith can serve as a foundation for growth and diversity, but it can also provide the strength to support and motivate individuals in overcoming struggles and achieving their goals. In literature, faith shares the same objectives as in reality: to guide, inspire, and uplift. However, even the slightest depiction of faith can become a highly controversial topic. Numerous authors have faced criticism for their portrayals of Christianity and Islam. For instance, Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses has been banned in several countries due to its Islamic representations, while Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has consistently sparked debates about Jesus and Mary Magdalene to the extent that the film adaptation was prohibited in various nations including India. Despite these controversies, authors continue to use their imagination to craft new worlds for readers and challenge their preconceived notions about familiar faiths.

1.5 Statement of job

The concept of faith is undergoing a significant shift. Previously, individuals would simply adhere to the rules and principles of their religious beliefs without questioning them. However, recent discoveries and realizations have prompted people to question the authenticity of their faith. Additionally, modern authors who challenge traditional religious norms, specifically within Christianity, have caused readers to reconsider their own beliefs.

Therefore, this survey is relevant as it focuses on measuring the function of faith in literature. It

explores how faith is shown not only as a positive force or a path to heaven, but also as the 'bad cat' that can negatively influence people's lives.

1.6 Nature of the Study

The entire study is divided into chapters in the following order: Literature Review, Methodology, Content Analysis of the books The Da Vinci Code and The Rozabal Line, and finally, the Conclusion.

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