Understanding Communalism and Secularism

In any society, there are bound to be differences and divisions, the basis of which may be several factors functioning at a go. These factors may be racial, cultural, ethnic or caste divide. Sociology studies about the various aspects in a society, keeping individuals as its basic unit of study. 

It also studies about the various social institutions that exercise control over these individuals and affect their behaviour pattern. One of these institutions, is the institution of religion. 

Imprtance of religion

Religion becomes an important topic of study in Sociology as well as the core topic of various research paper writings. The researchers have long studied its impact on any society, seeing the influence it has on people. Therefore, this a topic for which students may require assignment help in Sociology.

A strict definition of religion would define it as an institutionalized way of interaction between people of both the sexes and some extra mundane entity in which the former propitiates and the latter is believed to reciprocate. In simple terms, religion is based on the faith, which is an absolutely non-empirical entity. 

Religion has always had its control on any society in the world. The Middle Ages in Europe were largely dominated by the influence of Church in all the activities, social, political or economic. 

The blind belief 

The blind belief in this entity forced a movement to occur in Europe, known as the Renaissance, which enabled a man to think and question every word of the holy church, before accepting it and putting it into action. 

Therefore, since the Renaissance, the impact of Church declined and was only restricted to the religious arena. And when Science got its way in the Victorian era, religion again became a debatable entity. 

As Europe influenced the thinking of major societies in the world then, therefore, the movements it witnessed were also evident in several parts of the world. India had its own cultural and religious background since ancient times. Hinduism was mingled with Islam upon the advent of the Muslim invaders in the country. And then came the British who brought with them Christianity into the country. 

Karl Marx religion 

Karl Marx described religion as an instrument of oppression of the lower sections and the minority religions. He says that it is an illusion which eased the pain by using the elements of oppression and exploitation. The functionalist perspective of society and social change has various definitions for religion. Emile Durkheim describes religion as the worship of society, something that reinforces social norms and values. 

On the other hand, Talcott Parsons describe religion as something that reinforces order and stability in the society. In fact, research paper writings in Sociology have stated the importance of religion as a driving factor for social change. In fact, an example of this can be the impact of ascetic Protestantism on the origin and development of Capitalism in Western Europe. 

Religion can be widely contrasted with science in various ways. Whereas religion is absolutely non-empirical in nature, Science is empirical in nature. Religion has moral dimensions and thus has similar impact on human beings, whereas science is amoral in nature. 

Science is individualistic while religion is not. These differences had led to two opposite thought processes about both these entities and a direct contrast and clash. 

Religious practices revived

Though we saw a decline in religion with the rise of science and with developing times, religious revivalism soon got its way out. Religious practices revived once again with intense fervour and excitement. Religion once again saw its same impact as it had in the earlier times. 

In fact, if you look into the South Asian region and see the development of countries, they have been formed on the basis of religion, like Pakistan, Turkey, and the like. In case of India, religion came as a direct response to the colonial rule. It became a binding factor for people which made them pose a united face in front of the colonial power. 

The rise in religion was solely because of the reason that religion earlier was a binding factor and its breakdown led into disorientation among individual identities. Today, religion is being used as a protest ideology and in fact has also been used to protest globalization and urbanization. 

There are various features of religion that characterize it:

  • Religion is developed on the basis that scriptures are infallible. These religious scriptures cannot be questioned on any basis and what they say is final.
  • Anyone who deviated from the scriptures and the rules stated by it, was condemned in front of the entire society. 
  • Religion has, since time immemorial, had a great impact on the politics and administration of a nation. The direct interference of religion into the matters of State are in stark contrast to the idea of a secular nation. 
  • Religion is anti-democratic, and totalitarian as opposed to egalitarianism. 
  • With the developing times, the technological component of modernization had been widely accepted to keep pace with the developing times, but the cognitive component has been absolutely neglected and not yet accepted.
  • The rising modernism is coming in direct contrast to the religious ideologies. This is giving rise to two sections in the society-ones who blindly follow religious beliefs and the ones who absolutely reject it and allow science to govern their mind. 

Sometimes religion gives rise to communalism. One form of communalism is the one that states that people who follow same religion have common secular interests. 

Liberal communalism states that one religion’s secular interests are different from that of another’s whereas the idea of extreme communalism states that the secular interests of different religious communities are absolutely incompatible, antagonistic and hostile to that of others. In fact, these three forms of communalism are the three stages of its development in the same order. 

Therefore, these were a few points about religion in any state or community, that lead to its rise and development. Any assignment help on the topic, can be taken form the above stated points.

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