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Religion as a System of Control As humans made the transition from a mobile hunting and gathering life way to a more sedentary and permanent agriculturalist one the life of the average human was allowed to become more complex In this complexity came the early understanding of life and death To deal with this mystery and the other mysteries inherent in a more complex life humans created religion From the earliest burial sites religion progressed to contain multiple deities in innumerous forms all over the world There are a few common characteristics among them that have helped researchers to understand this abstract and evolving system of beliefs In this understanding it can become evident that this system of beliefs did not simply function as fun things to do on the weekend but rather that the beliefs precedence and rituals functioned as strong social and political controlling devices often used by the people with the most religious influence to non-religious ends To understand how religion could function as a social controller it is necessary to look at the most basic components of most major religions One fundamental aspect of religion is the belief in spirits A spirit is defined as a conscious anthropomorphic and also perhaps representing the underlying essences of life ie love war artisanship etc Another characteristic of religion is that it is a systematic pattern of beliefs values and behaviors which are inherent in association with the society Vitrebsky This pattern aspect often stems from the religious dependency on the cycles of nature and the patterns found therein Utilized in most religions are symbols These symbols are references that are used to speak of the abstract ideas of a religion in the common terms of the people The symbol helps the believer to understand the high ideas of the religion without having to dedicatedly study the religion itself Often considered to be the single most important aspect of religion is the
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