Religion and Civilization

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How do we define religion?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of religion is as follows: “the belief in a god or in a group of gods, an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods, or an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group” (Merriam-Webster.) My personal definition of religion is that it is a set of beliefs and practices that generally pertain the worship of one or more than one spiritual beings or representations of a spiritual power. Religion can be personal belief or an organization or group of people who have similar beliefs and values. There are many different types of religions in the world and have been since the history of mankind.
What is its role in a civilization and the development of civilization?
Religion helps establish mankind’s place in the order of the universe. As civilization began to be established through the domestication of animals, the irrigation and cultivation of agricultural crops, and life became more complex (moving from mainly a hunter/gather existence to one that could settle down and have more time to consider advanced ideas) people began to consider questions such as, where life comes from, is there a creator or creators who helped make the world, and what happens after we die. Religion helped answer some of these questions. It gave people purpose, meaning, and perspective. Religion helped establish nations in the case of religious theocratic governments. In many of the ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, the Mayans, and even Mesopotamia, the priests and other religious leaders played prominent roles in help shaping the laws and government of these civilizations. As his...

... middle of paper ... eradicated after their religious members were conquered and their civilizations destroyed, they became absorbed into the conquered civilizations main religions. This was definitely the case with the Aztecs, Incas, and (though there are still groups of Mayan people today their number is very small) other ancient civilizations of the Americas. The Spanish sent their missionaries to all parts of their conquered lands. It is much more difficult for ideas and religion to survive under constant persecution and fear, though it is not impossible. The Judaism and Christianity are two religions which have both endured extreme persecution at different points in history.

Works Cited
Duiker, William J. , and Jackson J. Spielvogel. World History . 6th. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub Co, 2010. print.
Merriam-Webster, 2012. 0. .
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