Religion vs. Culture

Difference Between Religion And Culture


Religion, the pattern of belief and practice through which men communicate with or hope to gain experience of that which lies behind the world of their ordinary experience. Typically it focuses on an Ultimate or Absolute, thought of by some believers as God.

Religious feeling typically involves a sense of the sacred, of awe, and of mystery. Its most intense moments may be evoked by the numinous experience of a holy being. Important too in many phases of religion is the mystical quest for insight and the discovery of the Ultimate within the believer. Both the sense of dependence on an outside power and the search for meaning within involve an experience of communion with what is sacred or Ultimate. Such experience gives believers strength in dealing with the more serious circumstances of life. Much of religious ritual is aimed at communicating with those extra human powers that significantly control human lives.


One of the goals of anthropology has been to tell the story of culture. But the term culture is by no means unambiguous or easy to define. On the one hand, largely from an evolutionary perspective, anthropology has told a story of culture as the unitary development of humans as a distinctive species. On the other hand, anthropology has told the story of cultures, of the comparative diversity and multiplicity of human groups wedded geographically to region and place. From time to time in the history of the discipline, ambitious efforts have been made to blend these two kinds of stories together. At present, no overarching theoretical framework tells the epic of human culture in terms of the vast archive of ethnographic materials on diverse cultures that anthropology has accumulated. And indeed, there is no sign of such a comprehensive framework on the horizon, nor is such a paradigm being actively pursued by current researchers.

Rather, the predominant use of the idea of culture in contemporary anthropology concerns its signal marking of differences among human populations on the basis of language, habits, customs, and modes of thought. This is consistent with the remarkable general increase over the past two decades in the common everyday use of the term as well as the use of the term by disciplines other than anthropology. For instance, the recent rise of a vibrant interdisciplinary arena of thought and research in the United States known as cultural studies merges perspectives from literary studies, history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and law, among others. Along with its interdisciplinary approach, the field of cultural studies emphasizes the study of diverse forms of popular culture and conditions of everyday life rather than culture as high or elite arts.




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