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Understanding Religion From a Sociological Perspective

Praying Is Like Meditation

Applying the Sociological Perspective to Religion

Religion has not civilized man, man has civilized religion. (Ingersoll)

By definition, the sociological perspective is "an approach to understanding human behaviour by placing it within its broader social contexts", (J.M. Henslin, A. Nelson), "seeing the general in the particulars" (Peter Burger). The sociological perspective is comprised of three major theoretical perspectives: symbolic interactionism, structural functionalism, and conflict theory.

Religious Symbols


Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic interactionism offers a view of social life as interaction determined by symbols, where symbols are things, material or immaterial, to what people attach meaning. These symbols are the building blocks of human society and they consist of ideas, notions, and conceptions; whether they are positive or negative, they will encourage or discourage people to behave a certain way. With symbolic interactionism, everything is a symbol: self, parents, other members of society, marriage, religion, state.

In symbolic interactionism, religion by itself is a symbol, but as this theory focuses on micro level, on interaction of individuals in one another's presence, religion must be divided into many sets and subsets of smaller symbols. The God or Gods are usually symbols of unquestioned authority. The God or Gods are viewed as creators of the world, therefore they have the right to rule the world, to dictate how to behave, reward those who behave properly with granting an afterlife in paradise and punish those who break the rules with placing them in hell for eternal burning.

Religious people always asked gods for something by paying some fee, they felt was appropriate. Whether it was sacrificing of ritual animals or even human beings or monetary or any material donations or behaving the way the God requires, up to devoting the whole life to the God as a priest or a monk (a nun). Heaven is a symbol of unearthly felicity, therefore sometimes life on earth is considered short, temporary and unimportant in comparison with eternal afterlife. Some nations are more religious, than the others.

In my impression, Muslims, for example, will not tolerate joking about religion, whereas Russian Orthodox believers will involve more common sense and humour, resulting in the proverb "put your trust in God, but rely on yourself". Frankly, Russian Orthodox believers nowadays are more hypocritical than ever, they go along with the flow, play the religious game, but deep in their hearts, they remain unmoved by religion. Their faith is only a façade and not very good one at that. But symbols are aplenty. Crosses, going to the church, righteous talk, rituals, meaning of which has been forgotten.

Structural Functionalism

Structural functionalism, another theoretical perspective, focuses on the macro level and sees the human society as a living organism or mechanism, where each part or component is essential and has a particular function and purpose. Society is "healthy", "stable", "normal", only if all the parts function together in harmony. Therefore, there should be both structure (anatomy) and functions. Functions from which society benefits are considered positive, functions that cause negative consequences for society are considered dysfunctions. Positive functions may be intended (manifest functions) or unintended (latent functions).

If we apply structural functionalism to religion, we will see that religion is one of the most important components of social life. Religion is as old as society and can be viewed as an "inborn" social function. Voltaire even said: "If God didn't exist it would be necessary to invent him." Religion originates primarily out of fear of the inexplicable and supernatural, therefore one of the positive (manifest) functions of religion is that it explains the inexplicable and provides the answers for the most perplexing questions, such as meaning of life or the existence of afterlife.

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So, religion determines the relationship of society with the supernatural matters. Also, it gives comfort and consolation to those who suffer through life. Religion provides the ground for the unity within the nation or nations, which share the same religion, such as Christianity or Mohammedanism. Religion sets the norms of behaviour, prohibitions and vetoes for congregations, which is also a manifest function. One of the latent functions of religion is that it produced great thinkers and philosophers, for they were trying to find the answers for the eternal questions and thus were analyzing the society and social laws. There are also some dysfunctions of religion, such as persecution and war, obscurantism, intolerance, fanaticism and narrow-mindedness. For example, Christianity prohibits killing; however, the history of Christian society is a history of blood, where the Church gives its approval to kill the unfaithful and those who do not conform to the prescribed rules (religious wars, Crusades, Inquisition, massacres, such as Bartholomew's night, bloodcurdling executions and tortures).

Conform or else!

Religion may unite, but way too often it is a fertile ground for conflict within the nation or between nations

Religion may unite, but way too often it is a fertile ground for conflict within the nation or between nations

Conflict Theory

Conflict theory, the third theoretical perspective, offers a view of social life as the constant struggle between classes, social groups, and individuals for power and resources on the macro level. Religion impedes such struggle, because it always provides justification for the present social order and prohibits any attempts to change it. However, religion was neither able to prevent social disturbances and revolutions, nor prevent people from escaping into atheism. Different religions can compete for the dominant roles in the country or in the world, often without much success. One religion might embrace a certain territory, but never a whole world (not yet, anyway). The Church might compete with the state for the dominant role in the country, for clergymen are not less ambitious than statesmen.

Unquestioned Authority


Which perspective is superior?

Each of these theoretical perspectives offers a different lens through which we can look at society and analyze social patterns. Since social life is too complex and has too many variables to take into account, it is hardly possible to give exhaustive explanations of human behaviour in the groups, while using only one theoretical perspective. None of these perspectives can be considered superior. If we draw an analogy with multidimensional space, let each theoretical approach represent a coordinate axis, combination of them will form a frame of reference, in which we might come to better understanding of society, as a multi-dimensional object.

Personal Attestation - a Phenomenal Course!

Continued Education



© 2011 kallini2010


kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on July 04, 2012:

Don't worry, it's unlikely that I will write about her, it's just she combines the three major themes (my top performers) - beauty (debatable, but that article was a debate), religion and a historical figure (like Kim Il Sung).

Sort of a literary Molotov's cocktail. Well, who knows? Maybe in the future - I rarely forget my ideas. I just as rarely finish them.

I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day!

[Daniel looked at the calendar and asked me "What is independence?" It is something about the movie, either he watched it or heard about it without knowing what independence actually is.]

I am glad you stopped by. Always a pleasure.

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on July 04, 2012:

Joan of Arc, a religious beauty?

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on July 04, 2012:

Augustine, I can't believe you can say you are sorry.

Don't be. There is so much written about everything and about religion as well. I have a book "Mythology" - it is so thick you can kill with it (I did not read much from it), but it talks about different religions (not Judaism, Christianity or Islam). There were so many gods, so many stories, so many...

Religion is almost like philosophy - inevitable... I don't want to compare religion to a disease, but religion to human society is like a disease to a body. Sometimes everyone gets sick, sometimes something goes wrong... We have brains, we are socialized into having minds and we are brainwashed into particular beliefs. And the weirder/the more absurd the belief, the more powerful it is.

A human society could not have survived only on rational thoughts.

Please don't hate. With the same rate you can hate politicians - wars are fought over ideas... societies are based on ideas and who said which one is better?

I find the topic of psychology and sociology fascinating.

And thank you for the compliment - I really don't think I have something super clever here. But the article finally got some traffic - now it ranks second in my list.

Beauty first, Religion second... and Canadian Manifesto or Kim Il Sung - third.

I am pondering - what I should write about (when I get back to it) to get at least some traffic?

Joan of Arc? Religious Beauty?

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on July 03, 2012:

I can't believe I missed this gem.

You're view and arugument is concise, clear, and to the point.

I abhore religion. It's caused so much death and suffering. It has given credence to hate, subjugation, and a total disdain for our fellow human beings.

I'm sorry I missed this earlier, but am always fascinated by your thoughts and arguments.

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on July 03, 2012:

Thank you, jadesmg, for reading and leaving a comment. I cannot address your comment properly because religion is such a phenomenon that is larger than life.

So much has been written and it all depends on a perspective and a framework. It depends what your religion is if any, what education you have if any (I am not saying you personally, I mean anyone), what time you were lucky or unlucky to be born into.

You can very well became a Joan of Arc, if all circumstances come together and I am sure her views on religion were quite different from mine.

The reason I mention Joan of Arc is that she and I (supposedly) share the same personality type. When she lived, there was no such discipline as psychology either.

It is such a deep, deep well - religion.

If you wish, you can explore the subject more and write an article on it - I can guarantee it will get some traffic.

Religion is an ever-green subject.

Good luck,

Jade Gracie from United Kingdom on June 30, 2012:

I always viewed religion as a social construct with the purpose of setting a moral code, a set of common rules and behaviours for a society to follow. I guess most like the structue-functionalist perspective. It just seems that it has always been a meanso uniting people into similar common sense ideas. The problems arise though when the ideals of the religion are not as adaptable as the society itself which often seems to be the case, i would argue most commonly in written religious texts but i don't know if this is true. Very interesting hub, thanks

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on May 09, 2012:

On behalf of GOD thou shall not speak for nobody gave you this right...its sad that you know what GOD thinks and will do but stay unaware of some spelling and grammar rules.

Why does Religion and Insanity goes hand in hand? A good topic for sociologists? doctors?

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 01, 2011:

Thank you, JMartin1344, for reading and leaving a comment.

Religion is a sensitive topic and I prefer not to discuss it. I see the difficulty in that simple fact that there are too many religions. Every generation had some beliefs only now the ones that are no longer "valid" are called myths and mythology. I have a book "Mythology" - it is so big and heavy that it is almost a weapon - if I hit someone on the head... What I am trying to say - you can imagine how many Gods existed before Christianity.

Religion or faith is essentially an ideology, a god, the God is an idea and all ideas exist in our minds. Just like mathematics and physics - they are ideas. The universe operates according to these laws, but it does not know them. There is no x + y = 42 in the Universe's mind.

If you are interested in religion, then you will find a way how to reconcile your faith with the inconsistencies. There is plenty written on the subject. Faith is always a personal journey.

I don't believe in God/Gods, I am not religious, but I do not deny the possibility that God exists. I took the same approach as you (God knows that I am a good person and let him judge me) in my article about names. If you want, you can read it.

Thank you again and all the best on HubPages.

jmartin1344 from Royal Oak, Michigan on September 01, 2011:

Another fantastic hub.

I personally consider myself a Christian and do believe in God. However, I find myself having huge issues with my religion, for many of the reasons you mention above with regards to Structural Functionalism. I believe in God, and I have faith in God.

However, I do not trust that everything we are told in Church or read in the current Bible is God's word because I know that much of it was probably man made for the purpose of control/power/and even peace...and I also do not believe that repenting and truly believing in God is the only way to reach Heaven. I believe that God knows who deserves heaven and who is truly a good person, regardless of their beliefs.

When I explain to friends that I do not trust what is written in religious texts 100% I am told "this is where you have to have faith" but I reply that I do have faith. I have faith that I am living my life in such a way that God can see I am a good person. If this isn't the case then perhaps my religion isn't what I thought it was...

This is slightly off topic and I ended up on a rant. I apologise! But to me it all stems back to the idea of using religion as a a good way or a bad way.

Nice hub!

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on June 29, 2011:

Mr. Happy, what drives me insane is that I don't always get notifications that I have a new comment. Because I never leave them unanswered.

I was preparing to write you an e-mail and I came looking for the name of your article I wanted to read. I wanted to be polite and refined and I only by chance noticed...

Mr. Happy commented on...

So, I am here.

No, the new article is not written, but it has the skeleton. Now I can work on it bit by bit. But I think I have material for a few of them. No plans - but one piece that seems very tempting "Reflections/Mirrors/Illusions".

The article may not be ready even after you come back. I'll let you know - if anyone has to read it, it is you.

What is true, what is false:

I might have shared it with you before, but please bear with me, I love Pelevin as much as you love Oscar Wilde (I love him, too).


Victor Pelevin “The Sacred Book of Werewolf”

The cause of error by living beings is that they believe it is possible to cast aside the false and attain unto the truth. But when you attain unto yourself, the false becomes true, and there is no other truth to which one need attain after that.


Well, back to the e-mail.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on June 29, 2011:

The only concrete truth I really know Kallini, is that I am searching for the truth: that is true.

P.S. I came looking for that new article but I guess you are still working diligently on it. I may only get a chance to come back next week, I am not sure. Either way, have a great week-end!

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on June 28, 2011:

Mr. Happiscu, I think the best answer I can give you:

I don't know.

I am not the creator. He/she/they did not tell me.

However, there is a theory that we all are creators of our own lives - we write us just like authors write books.

I love the way Buddhists see the world whether it is right or wrong, for some reason it makes sense to me.


Mind is an insane monkey rushing to an abyss. Moreover, the thought that mind is an insane monkey rushing to an abyss is nothing else but a coquettish attempt of the insane monkey to smooth her hair on the way to the precipice.

Victor Pelevin "T"


The idea is that we use mind to define what mind it. We think that our thoughts are the truth. It is presumptuous.

I don't know.

P.S. Yesterday I saw a guy and he was with a Romanian girl I know, I thought he was Romanian as well, slender and not tall - he reminded me very much of you - but I did not want to ask and impose. Maybe in the end it would not even matter. But rather good-looking.

What does matter in this life?

I think good nature, love and friendship. Where is my spirit? Sometimes I feel disoriented - where is my physical body? Where am I? and who is here? there?

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on June 28, 2011:

Haha ... I had just commented on the "Wherever you go there you are" quote earlier today. Someone left it in a comment on my "To be and how to be" blog.

I will ask the same question(s) here: "Is the physical body always where the spirit is? If the spirit moves does the body necessarily have to move? And so if your spirit goes somewhere, are You indeed there?"

Can there even be a split without dissolving the "you" or "I"?

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on June 28, 2011:

Thank you, Mr. Happy.

I see priests like that - the zealots. I don't think they are religious or spiritual, they are more political. Religion is essentially about a power.

Spirituality has different nature. "Spirit" is essentially breath (life, soul).


"For me, words like "soul" and "spirit" are attempts to describe the inner experience of human beings as we seek to know ourselves and find our place in this strange world. No truly spiritual work could be lacking in soul, nor can any truly soulful work be devoid of spirit."

from "Wherever you go there you are." by Jon Kabat-Zinn


Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on June 28, 2011:

That "pointing priest" in your photo was hollow. Such spirits disintegrate when I "see" them.

I agree, your son (leaving names out) does not need to pay much attention to institutionalized religions. I do think, that he should acknowledge his spirit though (as we all should). Spirituality is important in my opinion because as our base, we have our spirits.

I derailed here ... it happens sometimes.

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on May 24, 2011:

Thank you, Freya, for reading and leaving a comment.

Religion is not an area of my interest. I am exploring Buddhism, but Buddhism is a philosophy. And any philosophy is essentially wisdom. As I said previously - I am not after Judgment (what is right and what is wrong, I will let others waste their time on that), I seek Enlightenment. Conveniently enough - accordingly to Buddhism every moment is perfect.

You misunderstood me when I called myself Madame Universe - not in a sense that I am number one in Beauty (that goes without saying - who is to judge my Beauty? According to which standards? There is no one like me). No, what I meant - I am the center of my own Universe just like everybody else. I am my own center. My mind is open for exploration and experience. Of course, I do exist within my own cultural references - but to exist without them is impossible. The first one would be language. And I have a few... to use and to compare.

I might write more on religion, but only if I have time - now I have too many ideas ...

Freya Cesare from Borneo Island, Indonesia on May 24, 2011:

Thoughtful provoking Hub, Kallini. Written very well too. I won't argue. Just want to enjoy another point of view about this and that. Quite refreshing source for me to ponder. Thank you for writing your mind. ^^

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on April 13, 2011:

I don't understand why you are so patronizing. Did I appear to be an imbecile in the article? Then don't read me and don't interact with me. I don't suffer ... gladly.

Do you know the reality from all angles? How truly amazing of you! Are you a God? The God?

Can you prove anything about religion? I can tell you one thing for sure - God either exists or he (she, they) doesn't. Not that it matters for me.

I might be wrong, but I think you are not God, just another human being neither tolerant nor polite. If you know Reality better than me, than you should know that in reality you know nothing about me. Don't call my views limited ever again.

My friend, you don't have to believe in what believe. If God is so great, whoever he is, he already paid for my sins, he loves me dearly and he accepts me.

Your acceptance is not required, your criticism is not welcome. Please don't ever make comments on my hubs, since I am so limited in my views. I was not asking anyone to teach me the ways of the world. I am entitled to my views.

I will give you the link - you can read - but being limited and conceited as I am, I am pretty sure it will go above your head. Happy reading,

If you bother me again, I will report you to HubPages administration. For I had done nothing to provoke such a comment on your part. But I don't allow people to talk down to me.

All the best,

Shahid Bukhari from My Awareness in Being. on April 13, 2011:

Your Perspective of Religion, is from a certain limited angle ...

For, its wrong to assume, what you see, is all there is to Seeing the Reality ...

Religion, my friend ... as addressed by Social Sciences, is not Religion, but "Culture" ... Like the Amerindian, the Amazonian, and India's Cultural Practices ... followed in Tradition ... but called Totem-ism, Shaman-ism and Hindu-ism ... Religions !

You will find all of these interesting.

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on March 07, 2011:

Thank you SimeyC, but this is essay is slightly different from what I write now. This one was written in 1999 as an assignment for DeVry (course on Sociology). Funny enough, this one was nominated for the writing contest, but I am pretty sure more for its subject matter rather than a quality of writing.

Essays that I write now are quite different, I write about my personal experience or rather on a topic that I pick myself but it is still very much my own perception of things.

I don't write "10 things to do in Toronto before you die", "10 Best Cities", "10 languages to learn". Nothing that can be researched (that has probably written by now 10,000 times), but I write my own musings).

So, that was "Toronto Takes Off as El Toro" - Toronto was nicknamed "El Toro". But then when I wrote it, I was going through responses by Torontonians and they wwre so negative, so I decided to write another hub, this time picking on negativity (it is still "a hub to be written") because I have other hubs to finish and polish first.

But in view of your question, what to consider a blog and what not, my essays are hardly blogs.

It is creative writing, yet I am not a professional writer.

In any case, thank you for stopping by,

and all the best,

Simon from NJ, USA on March 06, 2011:

No need to flag your content! It's provocative and thought inspiring and exactly the kind of content that makes Hubpages so good! Thanks for an interesting hub!

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 26, 2011:

Tony, thank you for the comment. I must admit that my knowledge of sociology is limited by only one course that I took at DeVry. As I always say "Sociology 101" where "101" refers to the basics only. But I am well-read and educated overall. I don't have too many illusions. I am not a believer as I said. Atheism in Russia has a long history, it began long before the Revolution. Russians are not deeply religious or fanatical. We are fluid, embracing other cultures, taking in what is around us, dissolving... It is truly a Russian phenomena. I do believe strongly that when modern Russia will have enough of the current infatuation with the Church, it might move onto something else, as ridiculous as believing in "Cheetah". I am thinking back to the Egyptian mythology, Gods with heads of animals, Gods of Sun, or maybe Greek mythology and all of those beliefs will be TRUE. For the moment.

What makes me cringe is lies. Religion may very well be a career only. Did you read the book "The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCullough? The main character, Father Ralph de Bricassart is so ambitious, he forgoes his love for the church career.

You don't really have to work for secret services to be within the Church and still be non-religious. I saw an article on Mother Theresa that she was struggling with faith, yet I failed to keep it. I wonder...

Tony McGregor from South Africa on February 26, 2011:

I understand where you're coming from exactly. I once visited East Berlin and met a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church there and we had a good discussion. I was later told that he was a Stasi. I think the church since Constantine has made many compromises with evil.

Love and peace


kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 12, 2011:

My comment on Russians may sound negative, yet it is not. I have grown up in Russia while it was an atheist country. I am not christened. I was married by a state authority. I never believed in God, and I never changed. My own mother tells me to put my son in a Catholic school. "But then he must become a Catholic" I say. She tells me that it is only a formality. Indeed, it is. Formality. I refuse. I don't want send this message to my son.

After I grew up, the regime (the socialist regime and its institutions) collapsed as you know. The Church came back. Even before the Revolution, the Church came always after the state. I am sorry to say this, but priests work for the secret services. Nice holy connection. Did God sanction this?

I know these people personally who now became Christians literally overnight. Were their convictions worth anything in the first place? Is their faith real?

If I did not know, I would not have said that. But the whole history of Russian Faith is floating on a hypocritical side. When Russia was accepting (adopting?) converting to Christianity, it was said that people "threw their little pagan gods/idols" in the Dnieper River (with their traditional Russian names) and went on.

We are not so good at keeping our culture. My own ex-husband whom I know enough did not have any faith until he met his second wife. And then - voila! - a big cross on his neck. I nearly lost the gift for speech!

"Do you believe in God now?" I asked.

"Yes, I have to believe in something" he said.

And that is my point.

"We have to believe in something". Yet, we (Russians) don't.

My own son came home once and said that he believed in God. "And what God would that be, sweetie?" "Cheetah".


While it might sound quite ridiculous, I don't really know where it came from. I am still wondering.

"If religion did not exist..."

Tony McGregor from South Africa on February 11, 2011:

While I agree with your general thesis here, your claimed "neutrality" was rather blown out of the water by this: "Frankly, Russian Orthodox believers nowadays are more hypocritical than ever, they go along with the flow, play the religious game, but deep in their hearts, they remain unmoved by religion. Their faith is only a façade and not very good one at that." That is hardly a sociological statement.

I too have a degree in sociology and sociology of religion was one of the special themes that I studied. Enjoyed this overall.

Thanks for sharing.

Love and peace


Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

You are indeed right that there are many fraudulent charity organizations out there: the bad apples should always try to picked-out of the good ones though. Otherwise our money can end-up in the hands of corrupted politicians/officials and it will do more bad than good.

As I wrote above, I try to donate to the Red Cross as much as I can and monthly to Greenpeace. I believe both these NGOs to be honest and hard working for causes in which I believe in.

In respect to education in Canada, there is a lot to be said and even more to be done. I think the more people get involved in the political system, the more we can succeed in creating the society we wish to have and to leave for our children.

Thank you for your good wishes. All the best!

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

Mr. Happy: I did not mean that EVERYBODY is a crook and I don't want to speak for Twilight Lawns, but I assume that it is not what he meant either.

What I meant was that charities provide a fertile ground for corruption. I used to sponsor a child in Peru through World Vision and then due to the collapse of my financial situation I had to discontinue and I felt terrible, but then I heard things about World Vision from the person who resigned from the organization and I have no inclination to repeat my experience.

I am not against charities or charity, but right now I am not in the position to donate. I consider my own son underprivileged because I don't have finances to pay for necessities. He needs to be in sports or some programs that are essential to his development and I don't have the means. I find it a peculiar situation in Canada, that the physical education or special education is left for parents to pay for. It would make sense to invest in the health of the future generations, but it is not happening.

And you probably know more than anybody else that taxes (our Canadian taxes) are not spent the best way always. Same deal with charities.

But I wish you all the best with your work, Mr. Happy, and my best wishes for children. Always.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

To Mr. Twilight: not everyone's a crook.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

On another order of ideas, since you live in Ontario, Canada maybe you can help-out by signing an online petition to get a public school build for kids in northern Ontario, in Attawapiskat. Information on that petition is on my blog.

Many thanks in advance!

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

Thanks for the clarification. If I were to play the devil's advocate, I would say that people who work in charitable institutions could be a little cynical because they see how much work still needs to be done.

For example, I am reading a book titled "Dead Aid" and it's about how relief work in Africa has failed miserably in the last thirty years. One may look at the book and see it as a cynical perspective but I see it as an opportunity to do things a different way, to better things. Read my latest blog for more on my opinion regarding charitable work, volunteering, etc. ("No Name, No Face, No History").

I donate to the Red Cross and to Greenpeace. On the side I volunteer with Youth Assisting Youth and I am working on the Attawapiskat Public School issue (about which I wrote a few blogs already). There are times and reasons as well, to be very disappointed once in a while. One may hear me say not so nice things about certain things or people but that does not make me a cynic. The fight goes on ...

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

Thank you, Ian. I did not realize it goes to such extent, but it makes sense. For some reason I believe that it was Fedor Dostoevsky who said that charity corrupts, but I could not find the quote in either language.

The only one that I found is this.

True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. ~Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970

It would make a good topic or a good question (that will be ignored by masses as usual), but I might try anyways.

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on February 11, 2011:

I agree with you Svetlana.

A little anecdotal evidence:

I have a friend who was very high up in the Congolese Diplomatic Corps and still has very many friends there. She has told me many times that in Kinshasa (Yes, THAT Congo) the charity workers turn up every evening, early, at the best hotels and bars in their magnificent 4x4s and apparently live lives that you and I would find amazingly lush.

Sorry, Mr happy, I have heard this sort of thing far too much.

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

Twilight Lawns: Thank you, Ian. It is a consolation indeed.

Mr. Happy: I realized that my statement made a strange impression because it came seemingly out of nowhere. There was a time when I decided that I would like to try to get a job in a charitable organization. I even volunteered in one. I was told though that people who work in charities are more cynical than those who don't. I cannot measure the degree of cynicism, but there were certain things that I witnessed and I was not impressed. Rhetoric, warm exterior and cold interior - that is my recollection.

You don't have to agree, it is an arguable point at best, but after my experience I would rather steer clear from charities.

Maybe if we were such good Samaritans the world would have been a much better place long ago. It is, however, only my opinion.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 11, 2011:

I am not sure what you meant by: "The most cynical people work in charities". Would you elaborate?

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on February 11, 2011:

I love reading your hubs and I love your answers to questions; mini hubs in themselves. I admire you and one other person for this... both of you have something to say, and you say it. Both of you articulately.

Whereas I mumble to myself and am lucky if I can string out one or two coherent sentences.

kallini2010 (author) from Toronto, Canada on February 10, 2011:

Twilight Lawns: Thank you, Ian, for your comment. Without you, HubPages would be a lonely place for me, as everywhere else, LOL.

I would like to address your comment separately simply because I tend to write a half an essay in every comment and it is not my intention with the response that I have in mind.

To tell you and everybody else the truth, no, I am not afraid, I am simply aware that this subject might evoke negative reaction, but the only way to find out is to publish. I don't want to live my life in fear, I guess I have had it enough by now. I am going through a lot of changes and all of them are painful and maybe religion would have provided some relief if I were a believer. Since I am not, I am embracing my fears, pains and trying to get to a better place in my life with my own blessings and means. I am willing to explore Buddhism (which I am told is not a religion), but I simply don't have enough time. I guess the time is not right still.

The term "Mohammedanism" might be antiquated, but hardly incorrect. I looked it up after you mentioned it -- Islam, Islamism, Muslimism, Muhammadanism, Mohammadanism -- are all the same terms. To me "Muslimism" was something entirely new. Obviously, we learn as long as we live.

The reason I used this word then was that I translated my writing from Russian and in Russian these two terms (Islam and Mohammedanism) are used interchangeably. It is sort of a trace of my writing in a foreign language. These days I tend to think and write in English and translations are more difficult to me because I don't juggle words in my head all the time, I am more or less use the toggle switch: Russian/English.

Mr. Happy: Thank you for the comment. I agree that discussing religion is asking for crucifixion.

I will repeat Mark Twain's words again:

"Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven. ~Mark Twain

And the role of religion is POWER. Religion gives control, control is power, we want power no matter what. It is never enough.

Do you know that "builders of socialism" did not believe in its validity? They only recognized the gold mine of getting unlimited control and power? The most cynical people work in charities. It is the same principle. People are human, forget the words, look for the deeds. It is not what the Church says, it is what it does or did. I don't even want to give examples. But it is a characteristic of society, the need to believe, the opportunity to manipulate masses, the opportunity to get control over masses.

Maybe I really should write another hub on religion, but I find it to be a slippery slope.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 10, 2011:

"Religion is the opiate of the masses." Karl Marx

Religions try to teach people morals, to eliminate as much discontent between people as possible, in order to have smooth-working societies. That is their purpose in the social context I think.

There is a spiritual side to religions I suppose but that has been overshadowed for a long time by pedophile priests, greed and all sorts of other vices within their institutions.

Difficult subject to discuss. Good job though. Cheers!

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on February 10, 2011:

Hmm!I agree with the, "Also, it gives comfort and consolation to those who suffer through life", but why? I had a friend yesterday, saying that he is very unhappy and his relationship is getting worse, "But I have the love of God and that makes it all right"

If that is all he has to look forward to, then how sad. There must be something better than the "These pains and heartaches are sent to try us or to make us stronger"... Rubbish!

I agree with your reasoning, Svetlana, it's elegant and beautifully written, but aren't you worried that there are a lot of "Born Agains" who are going to come and insult you and perhaps flag, at least the comedian; the less than funny George Carlin. There was a captive audience there, and I think using it reduces the validity of your argument slightly

One small thing, my friend, the word is "Islam", not "Mohammedanism"; that is a very antiquated and incorrect term.


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