What is Religion?



  • One type of belief system 
  • Regarded as a 'secular' term
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Belief System

  • Broadly defined as a framework of ideas through which an individual makes sense of the world 
  • A set of beliefs and principles.
  • Includes philosophies such as Phenomenology and Existentialism as well as religions like Islam and Judaism 
  • An umbrella term for any organised set of ideas and principles 
  • Associated with collections of ideas that have a religious basis 
  • It is a set of principles that underpins a religious conviction 
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  • He studied the Trobriand Islanders.
  • He is a functionalist and in 1915 he examined the religious beliefs of the Trobriand Islanders in the South Pacific 
  • He lived with them to observe their culture (Participant Observation) 
  • One of the first ethnographic field studies
  • Their religion is based on animism 
  • They use magic to influence the spirits 
  • Rituals and spells are cast before going to sea
  • Provides a sense of control over the weather and the sea spirits; reassures them of safety 
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