The role of religion in society

What is the role of religion in European society? The conference is being jointly arranged by the University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam and will take place from 19 April to 21 April Introduction At the end of the nineteenth century, new communities emerged in Europe that signaled new ways of thinking about politics and the place of religion in society. Though Van Rooden limits his analysis to the Netherlands, similar transformations in the social role of religion took place across Europe. Are these changes comparable or perhaps even part of a shared historical process?

The role of religion in society

Sarah Mac Dougall October 18, As girl growing up in America in the s, I was not aware of gender discrimination until I learned about the suffragettes in elementary school.

Even then, discrimination against women was an abstract notion—an outdated, backwards idea of the past that modern society had done away with. The only thing I heard as a child on the subject of my future as a woman was along the lines of how I could be anything I wanted to be.

This set up a large surprise for life in Dakar, in a society that is 95 percent Muslim, with very specific ideas about the role of women in society. Despite this level of specificity about how women should be good housewives and mothers, and about their secondary status compared to men, gender relations are very complicated and much less cut and dried than simply the gender dynamics of conservative Islam.

The most obvious manifestation of this is polygamy. Not only is polygamy technically legal, it is widely accepted throughout modern Senegalese society—a large number of my friends on the program live in families that share their father between two or more homes.

In some cases, the two wives and their children live in houses right next door to one another. In fact, in my Wolof language class, the words for first wife, second wife, third wife, and fourth wife were featured on the vocabulary list for the unit on the family.

However, the societal manifestations of the belief in the inferiority of women stretch much farther than just the legality of polygamy. My host family is Catholic, and so they do not believe in polygamy.

I realized this one night at dinner as my host father told a story about a cousin. This cousin was recently married and, one night, his new wife asked him to stop watching TV and help her clean up the dinner dishes.


This was the punch line of the story, after which everyone in my family laughed uproariously. Since I did not laugh along, the story was explained again, more slowly, since they thought that I just had not understood the French. But here, chez les senegalais, we know how it is really supposed to be in marriage.

While the Catholic faith is often criticized for some of its policies regarding restrictions on women in the Church hierarchy, it does not share the same rigor of beliefs about the role of women in orthodox Islam.

Yet, if the monogamous and polygamous, Islamic and Christian alike, members of Senegalese society share the same general attitude towards women, and it is not due to a shared religion, what is the explanation?

The problem with that explanation is that most of the groups who formed the foundation for the Senegalese people today, are, for the most part, traditionally matriarchal societies. This changed with the advent of the arrival of Islam in Senegal.

This was a hugely powerful change—effectively reversing gender dynamics that had been in place for centuries, with the introduction of a new religion.

Of course, it is not as clear-cut as that.

Muslim Views on Women in Society

Women, like my host mother, still obviously are very much in charge of their home and direct all household operations. They are highly respected and seen as the center of the home. It is these complexities of attitude that make the subject so nuanced, and admittedly frustrating at times, to deal with.

It is particularly interesting to observe the change occurring in gender dynamics among the new generation of Senegalese. Many young Senegalese proudly state that they are looking for relationships and marriage based on love.Roman religion played a fundamental role in most aspects of Roman society.

It was a polytheistic religion with many gods, each with their own specific role. The Roman religion emerged from the worship of Numina and was combined with elements from the religions of surrounding countries.

Religion is a cause of the retention of conservative or traditional values. Thus the form of society is an effect of the religious form in that society. Another position is that religion can cause change in society, and society adopts a new moral order.


Again, the form of a society is an effect of religion. Midway Island, to the northwest of Hawai‘i, is also part of the Hawaiian chain and is believed to have been produced by the same hot spot.

Midway is about kilometers ( miles) from the. Religion does play a role in society, though the extent of its role is dependent on the structure and dynamics of the population.

Religion was a theme noted many times in the U.S.

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Constitution, which ensures the ability of an American to exercise religious freedom. Religion always seems to play a large role in the formation of societies and cultures, and the history of the United States is no different from that of the rest of the world.

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The role of religion in society
Importance of Religion and Religious Beliefs