The Study of Religion


The study of religion has many different approaches. Various approaches can be classified according to how they approach religious phenomena. These approaches can be divided into two main groups. Those that are monothetic approach the study of religion using the classical view, which holds that every instance of a concept will share one or more defining properties. The other approach is polythetic, which treats religion as a prototype structure that is described by different defining properties.

Symbolic interactionist approach

Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical perspective on religion that focuses on the ways in which people interpret their religious experiences. It emphasizes the importance of rituals and ceremonies in religious life, as these are ways in which we give meaning to our experiences. These practices are powerful and often transformative. For instance, religious rituals can reinforce social unity and promote positive social change.

Social taxon

Religion is a social taxon, meaning that different cultures have different definitions of the term. Some paradigmatic examples of religion include Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. In addition, the term religion can refer to cultural and philosophical traditions.

Feeling of dependence

The feeling of dependence is a central feature of religion, according to Schleiermacher. It is the basis of all relationships with God and constitutes the fullest expression of our religious sensibility. Our nature recognizes the need to experience a sense of absolute dependence, and Christianity provides us with this feeling to a great degree.

Belief in supernatural

Belief in supernatural beliefs is a common feature of many religions. Some believe that certain beings exist in the otherworldly realm that observe and reward human behavior. Others believe that they can communicate with spirits or gods.

Institutional structures

Religion is a complex system that is governed by institutional structures. These structures include rituals, worship practices, festivals, and intercession with God. They can also include art, music, and other aspects of culture.


Idolatry in religion can be either subtle or overt. Subtle idolatry occurs when a person attaches loyalty and devotion to an object other than God. For instance, a person may think that the nation they love is a good creation of God and should be treated with appropriate affection, but not with ultimate devotion. Similarly, a person may think that a true doctrine is an idol if it fails to point directly to God alone.

Belief in God

A survey of beliefs in God was conducted in Western Europe by the Pew Research Center. It was part of an ongoing study of the state of Christianity in Western Europe, and it found that a large majority of respondents said they do not believe in God and have no religious affiliation. However, the U.S. public is much more likely to be positive toward belief in a deity.

Idolatry’s roots in the Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel is a symbol of human rebellion and attempts to undermine God’s will. Its builders sought to impose their own beliefs and language on others, resulting in a disaster that led to the scattering of the people.