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In human life, religion is an aspect that has been widely accepted by many people. The importance of religion in human life cannot be underestimated. This is because religion informs the beliefs of many people across the globe. There are many religions that exist in this world. These religions cut across different cultures and nations across the globe. Each religion is unique. This is informed by the different aspects which are associated with the principles and the doctrines which are aligned to these religions.
Sociologists describe religion as a system of beliefs that have been institutionalized. These systems of beliefs exist in the form of symbols and values which are encapsulated in the doctrines, which are geared to providing solutions to the ultimate meaning of life in men. It is worth noting that despite the fact that religion is considered to be a personal aspect, it plays a critical social role. Thus, some of the functions of religion include playing the role of explaining individual suffering. Secondly, religion enhances self-importance, that is, when man opts to associate himself and unite himself with infinite beings one is assured of afterlife rewards. Thirdly, religion enhances social cohesion. In this case, it provides the common denominator for bringing people together. Fourthly, religion enhances social welfare in this case religion has enhanced the social values of the human race. Lastly, religion has a role to play with regard to social control. In this case, it ensures human beings are able to view life from a positivistic perspective.
The author under reflection is Gavin Flood. Gavin is a scholar who has worked widely in the field of comparative religion. He has specialized in the studies which reflect the on goings in the south Asian region of the world. Currently he is the academic director at the Oxford Center for Hindu studies. His research interests are varied, though he has major biases in the sacred texts and phenomenology. He has worked on several books and published widely on the subject. Among his books he has worked on include, An Introduction to Hinduism, Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of religion and The Tantric Body.
Despite the many views and approaches of life, the subject of religion still remains a mystery of religion. In essence there is need to carry out more research in this field in order to be able to establish the role and the importance of religion in the life of human beings. Gavin Flood gives a glimpse of the role of religion in the modern times. This is done through his book, The importance of Religion. This book gives an illumination of the fundamental importance of religion in this age. Furthermore this book gives a glimpse into the meaning of religion in the lives of the human beings in these modern times. Through this book, we are able to learn that religion is not about beliefs alone rather it also includes the provision of inspiration into the realities of the times. This is enhanced through the provision of several aspects in terms of the meaning of death, the importance of dying plus the general aspects of the position of religion in the 21st century.
Evaluation of the usefulness of the book
This book enables the reader to understand the definition of the term religion. This refutes the argument that religion has no applicability outside of the West and the consequent absurd claims that, for example, there is no religion in South Asia. The general aim of this book is to present a general account of religion as an avenue which is used in mediating the human encounter with mystery or the invisible, as a human quest for meaning, and as an impulse towards transcendence.
In addition, through this book, the reader is able to come to terms with the definition or rather the meaning of religion action. In this case, the book brings to the fore the importance of religion as it lies in this impulse towards transcendence. Furthermore, rather than being explained purely through science or politics, this book brings to the fore the fact that religions are kinds of actions which express the quest for understanding life and the desire to go beyond the human limits. This enables the reader to understand that while religions exist within cultures, it also arguable that they show us something about human beings to a point which is outside of the culture. There is a reality that human beings encounter which enables the reader to appreciate religion as a cultural form which mediates the human religions experiences with mystery. In this case, one can substitute the term mystery with words such as “invisible,” and “transcendence”.
In conclusion, it is important to note from the practitioner’s point that religions are not primarily abstract systems but lived realities which are experienced within subjectivity, within the body, within the community, and in the messy cut and thrust of history and human life. Essentially, through this book one can learn that religion is a way of life, a way of living in the human body, which encounters and responds to the raw fact of being, to the human condition, concerned with the formation of transcendent or sublime meaning that offer explanations of, and sometimes solutions to, suffering and death. Essentially, a reader is left with the satisfaction that religions are ways in the world which make strong claims and demands upon people. And while they are concerned with socialization, they primarily function to address questions of ultimate meaning at a bodily and temporal level in which human beings make sense of their experiences. This refutes the notion that religion is absurd, or sounds absurd to the modern ears. This is not the case since it quite clear that religion continues to hold great power and influence over billions of people who cannot simply be dismissed as irrational or deluded. Despite the fact that churches across Europe seem to be emptying, what stands out is the fact that religion is still appreciated all over the world.