The Making Of Religion Essay Research Paper
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The Making Of Religion Essay, Research Paper In The Making of Religion, Alfred North Whitehead attempts to give a concise analysis of the various causes in human nature, which go to form a religion. To reveal the unavoidable transformation of religion with the transformation of knowledge, and also to direct attention to the origin of religion on our understanding of those permanent factors by reasons of which there is a stable order in the world. He begins this purpose of justifying the various causes in human nature to form a religion by showing religion in history, then religion and dogma, then body and spirit, and finally truth and criticism. Religion in History One thing that is certain about religion is that religion is as old as humankind. The evidence of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon life representing the earliest members of our own species practiced burial rites that indicate a belief in an afterlife. They also practiced rites of propitiation. As old as religion is we still encounter some uncertainties when defining religion. Reasons for being unable to define religion is many definitions are too limited in the variety of historical views of religion. Some definitions are narrow; they overlook or dismiss features that are characteristics of religion traditions. Other definitions are reductive or prejudicial. This is a question that challenges each generation on the curiosity of religion that humanity is always shifting its attitude towards it. (Pg 3-4) Justification is the basis of all religion. Your character is developed according to your faith. Religion can be defined as a system of general truth that no one can escape that has the effect of transforming character when they are sincerely held and vividly understood. However, your character and conduct can change your intimate conviction throughout life. Your life is an internal fact that journeys through your external fact, which is relating yourself to others. The behavior of your external life is conditioned by environment, but your internal life receives its final worth, which is self-existence. (Pg 5-7) Social facts are important to religion, because there is no such thing as independent existence. Religion is what the individual does with his own solitariness. If you are never solitary, your are not religious. Accordingly, what should emerge from religion is individual worth of character. Religion in its external expression in human history has exhibit four factors of itself. These factors in the order of the depths of their religious importance are first ritual, then emotion, then belief, and then rationalization. Ritual goes back beyond the dawn of history. Ritual may be defined as the habitual performance of definite actions that have no direct relevance to the preservation of the physical societies of the actors and are found in every human community and are a primary means of social communication and cohesion. Rituals range from single gestures, such as bowing or shaking hands. It demonstrates the tendency of living bodies to repeat their own action. Therefore the actions necessary in hunting for food, or in other useful pursuits, are repeated for their own sakes. Their repetition also repeats the joy of exercise and the emotion on success. In this way emotion waits upon ritual. It was a tremendous discovery for mankind on how to excite emotions for their own sake, which started mankind in the adventures of curiosity and of feeling. This is because ritual is the stimulus to emotion, and a habitual ritual may spread into religion, according to the quality of the emotion excited. (Pg 5-10) In this primitive phase of religion, dominated by ritual and emotion, we re dealing with essentially social phenomena. Ritual is more impressive, and emotion is more active, when a whole society is concerned in the same ritual and the same emotion. Conversely, religion in its decay sinks back into sociability.