Most of the world's faiths are cultural religions. Hinduism, with its caste system and social rituals, is inextricably tied to the culture of India. Islam seeks to apply the Koranic law to every detail of society and so creates a specific culture, as evident throughout the Middle East. Tribal religions mythologize tribes' customs, history, and social organization. Secular sociologists go so far as to define religion as a means of sanctioning the social order. According to this line of thought, cultural institutions are invested with a spiritual, divine significance, so that people will more obediently go along with them.
Gene E. Veith is academic dean at Patrick Henry College (Purcellville, Virginia) and cultural editor for World Magazine.
Issue: "The Effects of Popular Culture on Religion" Jan./Feb. 1997 Vol. 6 No. 1 Page number(s): 15-19
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