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Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. Religion is also an example of a cultural universal, because it is found in all societies in one form or another. Functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism all provide valuable ways for sociologists to understand religion. ...Is a church considered a social institution?
The church must be considered as a social institution in much the same manner as we consider the school or local government. Functions of the church include teaching, exhortation, provision for communal religious activities, welfare and recreation, personal counselling of members, and acting as one of the agencies of social control. There are three general forms of church organization: the ...Does religion create social relationships?
Second, religion reinforces social unity and stability. This was one of Durkheim’s most important insights. Religion strengthens social stability in at least two ways. First, it gives people a common set of beliefs and thus is an important agent of socialization (see Chapter 4 “Socialization”). Second, the communal practice of religion, as in houses of worship, brings people together physically, facilitates their communication and other social interaction, and thus strengthens their ...