The Evolution of Religion


Religion consists of specific beliefs and structures that come into being in humans as a result of specific qualities and meanings associated with the sacred. It is not a primary structure but only a secondary practice. It is not something that is inherent to us, nor can we be forced to accept it. So, how do humans go from the flux of immediate perception to a religious worldview? It is possible to learn more about the development of religion in this article.

Sociology of religion

In the study of religion, there are two main approaches: the aprioristic and empirical approaches. The empirical approach is the most commonly used, and focuses on collecting data without preconceived notions. It is essentially the statistical approach, except that it begins with an intuitive concept.

Functions of religion in society

Among the many functions of religion in society are its ability to foster psychological wellbeing and foster social interaction, especially in places of worship. Studies have also suggested that people of all ages who are religious live happier lives. Furthermore, religion is also thought to improve physical health, and some researchers even claim that people who are religious live longer than non-religious people.

Characteristics of religion

There are many different types of religions, each with their own unique set of characteristics. Despite this, the three most common religions in the Western world share several characteristics.

Evolutionary psychology

In the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary psychology is applied to religious beliefs. This approach focuses on the massive modularity of the brain, and proposes that our cognitive modules evolved as adaptations to past selective pressures. The concept of religion is considered an after-product of these specific modules. However, in an evolutionary psychology perspective, religion is a product of “broad” evolution rather than “narrow” evolution. These concepts suggest that religion evolved as a feature of behavioral modernization that facilitated the success of Homo sapiens.


Theodicy is the study of God’s action towards humans. Theodicy is an important part of religious studies, and it helps to understand the nature of suffering and the way it affects individuals. Some religions have theodicies that emphasize the need to overcome suffering and evil in order to progress toward God. Others hold that suffering is a means to gain access to God’s ultimate good.

Social implications of religion

The social implications of religion are an important part of our social world. Religion has a powerful impact on civic and political life, but it also affects individual identity. This Virtual Issue of Social Problems highlights the various ways religion shapes our world.