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date: 20 September 2021

p. 192. What religion doeslocked

p. 192. What religion doeslocked

  • Thomas A. Tweed


“What religion does,” continues the discussion of definitions by listing criteria for deciding which one might be most useful, and then it notes that adequate accounts describe not only what religion is but also what it does. At this point a definition is offered that aims to show how religion functions. Religion provides a sense of identity and orientation, and it is a force for social cohesion. It is sticky. It creates bonds within the group, cohesion, and bonds outside the group, adhesion. A socially effective religion will cohere, but not so much as to prevent members from making bonds with those of other faiths. Religion also provides personal meaning and wields social power. As an example of how it exerts power, the chapter examines the way that religion both supported and challenged racial injustice in South Africa.

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