Religion is one of the universal aspects of human culture. Everywhere the world over, human beings are adherents of one religious group or the other. That being the case, religion is an essential part of the human socio—cultural environment. It has been one of the social determinants of the shape of the human society. Religion has thus played and continues to play a great role in the development of human societies.
THE CONCEPT OF RELIGION
An outright definition of religion is almost an impossibility. Not just because it confuses issues but also because of the purpose of this assignment, it will confound and it will blur the concept of religion as it will make it impossible for the reader to have a proper grasp of the issues at hand when religion is mentioned. The word ‘religion’ has been put to use in efforts to describe various other concepts that are in some way related to religion but have not grown up to become one. Some of such groups that are wrongly classified as religious are cults, sects and denominations. From the onset therefore, let it be clear in our minds that religion is a much-abused word as it has been used to apply to so many things that claim to be religious. This will appear to stem from the ‘fact’ that everybody knows what religion is until we are asked to define it, then nobody knows.
This paradox can be explained by the notion that most humans are made to explain religion from their own angles. Asked to define religion a Christian, Moslem, Buddhist and an adherent of what is called African Traditional Religion will individually come up with notions that give the impression that they are talking about different concepts. Efforts to define religion suffer not only from such group-inspired parochialism that most men share to varying degrees, but also from the complexity of religion which may include a theology (a body of formal doctrine), a ritual, a type of personal experience, a set of moral values, and an organization of...