Essay by abc25University, Bachelor's November 2014

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Religion as a Social Institution

Introduction to Sociology 100 - 04

This essay will focus on a social institution in the United States and makes use of secondary data research to explain the topic. Social institutions have a distinguishing characteristic in societies. An institution is not limited to specific organizations; it has a much broader definition and scope. Social institutions are "formal and informal rules that define how we are supposed to act" (Eisenberg 2011). A social institution is basically an arrangement of the society that regulates our behavior in specific ways. Social institutions can be found in almost every society because they help in providing lasting solutions to the society. Every large society has five main institutions; they are the government, religion, education, family and economic. They "originate from patterns of interactions among types/groups of people" (Eisenberg 2011). These institutions once developed, are not easy to change. Although each social institution is different by itself, they are interrelated and somehow converge in our daily lives.

Religion by itself is a "unified system of belief whose purpose is to explain why things exist as they do" (Eisenberg 2011). It is a set of beliefs and practices regarding things that help the society understand the meaning and purpose of life. Religion is also a social institution that answers questions and explains things that may seem incomprehensible. It is also a social institution because it provides patterns of beliefs that help a society meet its basic needs. It provides answers for questions like why do we die, how were we born, and what happens to us after we die.

One aspect of religious belief that is explained in this essay is the creator factor. The fact that some religions believe that one god created people whereas other religions believe that different gods...