Religion / 04.05.2009

By Arun Pillai The South Asian Idea had provided a link to a lecture by Professor Jared Diamond on the functions of religion. One of our readers responds with an extension to Professor Diamond’s argument. We would welcome a discussion on this topic. Professor Jared Diamond lectured on the functions of religion in a number of societies from ancient to modern times. Some of these functions were the providing of explanations of the world around us, the maintenance of political obedience and stability, the teaching of moral precepts, and the justification of wars. For more on each of these functions, I recommend listening to his lecture. In this short piece, I want to comment on some things Diamond leaves out. Notice that all of the functions listed above are social functions: they pertain to all of society. While these are no doubt important, there are individual functions that...