Religion and Theology


We treat religion as a matter not only of doctrine and belief but of participation, custom, ritual, action, practice, and belonging. It is as much a matter of social and cultural influences and behavioural patterns located in day-to-day concerns and the ordinary processes of life – as concerned with ameliorating problems in the present, in producing explanations of why things have gone wrong, and in proposing mechanisms that offer the hope of improvement – as it is with ultimate concerns, theological explanations of the nature of the universe, or the destination of the soul.’ (Reader, I. and Tanabe, G.J., 1998, Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religion of Japan, pp. 5–6)

Discuss the implications of this statement for the study of religion.

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