In the modern and diverse social environment, many institutions function as inevitable part of the society. These institutions aim to either encourage social cohesion or socio-cultural preservation. This includes the education, government, law, family, and the religious institutions, among others. These agencies entail significant roles in the society which includes the definition systems, structures and rules as well as the setting of standards as implied by the phenomena occurring around the people.
Each of these have been institutionalized as people consciously and unconsciously become accustomed, therefore internalized in their hearts and minds. As suggested by Berger and Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (1966), this process of institutionalization includes the process of habitualization of activities pertaining to the agencies. This includes the values and beliefs as shown by these bodies, that are become a part of the everyday activities of the people as they become accustomed to it to the point that becomes an ordinary situation to deal with. They are being considered as part of the social ritual of the people’s day to day activities.
One of the most recognized institution being considered as a significant part of the everyday consciousness of the society is the religious system. “Religion is often conceived as a conservative social force that sustains traditional cultural beliefs and behaviors” (Purzycki amd Sosis). As I understand it, it is the spiritual product of a group’s belief, values and attitude, grounded in moral aspects as structured from the people’s everyday lives and consciousness. The effect of the institutionalization of religious systems is seen in the form of psychological and behavioral aspects, as they are shown by the people’s internalization of the ideas fed to them by religion.
In spite of the widespread establishment of religious systems, some people, including religious persons, have a negative and critical view of religion. Knowing the diverse kinds of religion in the world, different views on the spirituality and morality of these groups, I think there are things to be cited and changed in the contemporary religious system. My religion is Catholic and I am a firm believer of it. This means that I am very receptive of the beliefs regarding my religion, which includes the bible, the archetypes and symbols, the leadership, participation and the values it conveys to the people. With all of these, I think the diversity and separation of religious systems create discrimination and prejudice to other kinds of religious beliefs. This I think is one of the most important issues to be addressed when dealin with religious institutions. Once ideas and attitudes are internalized by the people, it becomes a standard that they have to carry along the way even if it means negative implications on the other groups or individual’s view towards life.
My view of the supposed religious system as I imagine it ideally, is embedded in a society illustrated by empathy and understanding despite personal backgrounds and characteristics, physical or social. By having solidarity, respect is generated and observed as every individual think about the welfare of the other and not only for himself. My established religious system also includes the recognition of other living things as they are essential elements in maintaining balance in the social environment and the cognitive atmosphere of the people.
With these ideas in mind, I could assume that the importance of respect, empathy, understanding, equality, and inclusiveness could spark a religious participation among people who wish to have the same principles in mind. This is the new religious system to be institutionalized in the hearts and minds of the people having one positive aim in life.
Berger, P. and Luckmann, T. 1966. The social construction of reality: a treatise to the sociology of knowledge. NY: Anchor Books.
Purzycki, B.G. and R. Sosis. In Press. The religious system as adaptive: cognitive flexibility, public displays and acceptance. In Voland, Eckart and Schiefenhovel, Wulf (eds.). The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior. New York: Springer Publishers.