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Religion and Material Culture - Essay Example

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Many people are religious and have established a relationship between their social existence in the society and the unexplainable powerful force. Given that the society is made of culture and religion, it can be concluded that there is an existing relationship between material culture and religion. As examined in this article, religion might be impoverished by ignoring the material aspect of culture (Smart 1998, p. 51). Culture is used by people in the society to refer to symbols, customs and habits of a given group of people in the society. It is also used in some cases to depict things passed on from one generation to the other in the society. Material culture is a term employed in the description of the archeological artifacts of the society. Culture is identifiable to the behaviors and actions of the members of a society. For instance, the Irish culture could be said to be identified by their language accent and religion, which is Catholic. Therefore, other things in the society such as language, beliefs, norms and symbolism could also identify culture (Foucault & Carrette (1999, p. 86). Material culture involves material things and symbols used in a given society. The material things include artifacts that are archeologically identified and utilized for various purposes as identified by the society. Some of the materials culture identified with some cultures includes the homes that people live in, businesses, churches and Penticton. On the contrary, to the material culture, non-material culture may also include the values of people and morals apart from the language, norms and symbols as indicated earlier. The physical substances representing culture do not work alone and require non-material culture. For instance, seeing objects does not make meaning unless one reads and understands the meaning of the object, something facilitated using language (Smart 1998, p. 75). The examination of objects in the society helps us establish the purposes of the objects. A common example of material culture is the dress code practiced by different cultures across the world. The dress code could be used to signify different class of the society an individual is from, the purpose of the dress, the function and the era. For instance, the dress code of priests in a Christian church varies from the dress codes of the congregation. The lessons from existing material culture in the society imply that non-material culture and material culture must be integrated in the society for harmonious coexistence in the society. According to Smart (1998, p. 414), different societies and communities have integrated religious beliefs and practices with material culture. Physical objects are used for various religious purposes in the society. Religion is associated with the worship of the supernatural being and forces controlling the universe and existence of man. Just as different religions exist, there exists too different material objects associated with the religions. Buildings are some of the physical structures representing cultural aspects of religion used for specific reasons such as places of worship. The church is a common place of worship identified to Christians, a temple for the Hindu religion, a mosque for Muslims while a synagogue for the Jews. In addition, some religions use shrines. A part from the physical place of worship, religious activities ...Show more


Religion is common in the society where people believe their existence as an effect of powerful supernatural forces that they cannot comprehend or explain. Due to this belief, the natural being is worshiped in various ways in different societies…
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Religion and Material Culture essay example
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