Efects of Religion

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Effects of Religion

Tracey Campbell

August 17, 2010

Religion has the unique quality that it can either unite or divide a society. Throughout history, there are thousands of examples that show how an organized religion can unite a people. Throughout the middle ages, Catholicism was the center of any major town or city. People lived by the church bells that would echo through villages. Births, deaths and weddings would all be announced by the sound of the bells; Sunday mass was a regular routine. While the strength of the Catholic Church has waned over the years, the unification of religion has remained. Even today, small towns across the world use church bells to toll the hour and announce social events. The family created in the church is often just as important as the family at home.

 Unfortunately, the opposite effect can also be true. Religion can divide a society as quickly as it can unite. Holy wars have raged for thousands of years. Millions of people have died over millennia in the name of religion because their particular brand or ideas are more "correct" than their neighbor's. Northern Ireland has been torn apart because of Irish Catholic and Protestant factions warring in the city; killings were done in the name of God and often seen as something that needed to be done. Even school aged children would avoid certain classmates because of religious beliefs. In America, we see the same sort of prejudices in dealing with Muslim groups. There is a strong distrust based solely on religious beliefs.