What is a religion? A religion is defined by Richard Schaefer as a unified system of beliefs and practices that relate to what is believed to be sacred (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 323). There are many world religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu, and so forth, and while all of these different religions are very different they all have similar components (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 325-326, 330). It is these components that make a religion and they are beliefs which are the statements that members hold too, rituals which are the practices required of the member to perform, and experiences which is the feeling of being in contact with the divine (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 331). No matter what religion one belongs to, these will be present.
Religions also are organized. Some countries have an ecclesia, or a national religion, while others have just denominations which are division within a religion that also is not part of a government (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 331). There are also religious sects which are small religious groups that has broken away from a larger religious group (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 33). There are also cults which are cults which are often a secretive group that presents itself as a religion (Schaefer, Richard T, 2009, pg 334-335). Within these different ...
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...ichard T, 2009, Sociology A Brief Introduction, pgs 14, 323-337
Stevens, William J, 2008, Religion: A Functionalist Assessment, retrieved from http://www.helium.com/items/841304-religion-a-functionalist-assessment
Brahm, Eric, 2005, Religion and Conflict, retrieved from http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/religion_and_conflict/?nid=6725
Newberg, Andrew, 2011, Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain, retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=religious-experiences-shrink-part-of-brain
Barkan, Steve, na, Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, retrieved from http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/pub/1.0/sociology-understanding-and-ch/364125
Brunner, Christian Dr, 2011, The Function and Dysfunction
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