The Functionalist Perspective: What Role Does Religion Play In Society

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The Functionalist Perspective seeks to understand the role that religion plays in society, and is premised on how religion satisfies basic needs. One basic need for people is a meaning system. Religion provides a worldview and meaning system for the followers of the faith. But the ideals that a religion encompass alone are often not enough to compel one to follow the religion. Symbols and rituals are vital for helping the believer to take beliefs and make them understood internally in a way that compels them to follow the religion’s rules. This internalization of the concepts of a religion provide meaning and base from which the believer understands the world. There are many prominent symbols and rituals in the Zoroastrian faith. One of which is a…show more content…
According to Zoroastrians, children are unable to sin until they choose to come into the religion. At this ceremony the children go through many rituals of cleansing, such as a ritual bath and the drinking of a consecrated white bull’s urine. These rituals symbolically represent a cleansing and purification before beginning the life of a Zoroastrian. Now for the children, they have a definite memory of committing themselves to the purified life of their religion, where they are called to have “good thoughts, good words, good deeds” and have more meaning to their everyday life. Belonging and identity into a group plays a large role to Zoroastrians. Greeley in the textbook argues how immigrant groups hold tight to religion as a source of stability and reinforcement of culture in a new environment.

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