The Most Compelling Reason for Studying Religion Today
For me, the word ‘religion’ conjures up images of wailing fat ladies
dressed in their Sunday best singing at the top of their lungs about
the glory of God. Of course, this image comes from my childhood when I
attended the New Testament Church of God in Jamaica every Sunday, rain
or shine, with my grandmother. For her, Church, Christianity and God
was a way of life; a set of principles she believed in and lived by.
For others less convinced, the idea of religion or ‘being religious’
is as far fetched as aliens and UFO’s.
Throughout the centuries, religion has played an important part in
shaping the political landscape of most modern societies and one
reason for studying religion is to understand how and why certain
societies developed in the way they did. The church – used here in
generic terms – was often married to the way in which rulers
administered laws and punishments. Often some used the church to
swindle people out of their wealth and to gain their allegiance
through fear. While other rulers such as Henry viii manipulated the
religious order of the day by breaking away from the Catholic Church
and forming a new Church of England so he could marry his mistress.
For most, Islam is a way of life which is revered by its followers but
according to Laura Hayes, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996
until 2001, they controlled 90% of the country's territory and their
policies—including their treatment of women and support of
terrorists—ostracized them from the world community. The Taliban
considered themselves mujahideen or holy warriors of the Islamic
This is one aspect of religion that is often studied by observation.
How does someone become a religious fanatic to the point of causing
pain or discomfort for others? Does anyone have the right to question
or challenge another person’s religious convictions regarding their
morals and values? How should members of the western religions view
those who practice ancient and seemingly barbaric forms of religion?
Upon viewing the state of affairs in countries such as Afghanistan and
Iraq someone uneducated in the laws of Islam could easily assume that
the Islamic way of life seems to promote violence against women and
those who wish to relax the laws.
Closer to home, Britain remains a multicultural environment. In some
areas the ethnic make up of certain areas have changed dramatically in
the past 10 years. According to Nicola Davies, Slough represents one
of the most multicultural parts of England.
Of the 119,067 residents, 12 per cent are of Pakistani heritage, five
per cent are Black or Black British, 14 per cent Indian heritage and
63 per cent White. Twenty per cent of the residents were born outside
the European Union. Thirteen per cent of the...