Contextualising Religion

A further advantage of studying minority religions is that it can provide an opportunity for recognising how various sectors of society (the state, legislature, economy, culture, family etc.) can interact with the religions in ways that are not always so readily observable with the more established religions, the latter often appearing to fit relatively seamlessly into the fabric of society. Reactions by, for example, relatives of converts, the media, mainstream churches, and the government can affect and be affected by minority religions in a great variety of ways. Students may thereby come to understand the importance of contextualising religion (and other aspects of society) if one wishes to have a fuller understanding of their functioning. Questions can arise about the extent to which some practices might be considered cultural rather than religious – even when it is claimed that they have a religious foundation.

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Beyond The Big 6

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