Culture vs Religion
Culture has no universally accepted definition though everyone agrees that it refers to all the composite knowledge that exists in people of a particular society. Culture is what is reflected in the language, the dress, the tools used by the people and the manner of interaction that is typical of different people. However, these are only the tangible aspects of a culture, and how the people of a society perceive themselves and their body of knowledge that is acquired and not a result of genetics is what is closer to the concept of culture. Religion is a part of all cultures and, in fact, most of the traditions and customs in a given culture have a religious basis. Despite being a subset of culture, there are differences between culture and religion that will be highlighted in this article.
The social heritage of a particular people is their culture, and this includes the entire body of knowledge that is a result of thousands of years of living together. Why people from a particular area behave the way they do is a question that is easily answered by understanding the concept of culture. Culture is enough to answer all questions pertaining to dress, language, beliefs, customs, traditions, and even the artifacts and tools used by the people of a particular society. Culture is shared knowledge and hence used and exhibited by all people of a particular society.
Culture becomes material when we talk about the tools and artifacts used by a particular people. The architecture of the buildings of a particular area often reflects the culture of the place. The clothing, the manner in which people greet each other, their staple diet, and their style of eating are all reflective of their social heritage. In short, the concept of culture gives us an inkling of human refinement as people move towards perfection all the time.
Right from the early times of animism, religion has been the backbone of people of all societies. People were afraid of natural phenomenon, and when they could not find answers to the phenomenon like lightening, fire, earthquake, and volcanoes, they devised explanations to make sense of things around them. This gave birth to a system of beliefs and worldview that is termed as the concept of religion. If one does not want to delve deeper into what constitutes a religion, the concept of sacred and profane in a society is enough to tell all about the religion being practiced there. The concepts of morality and what is right and wrong are based upon the religion being practiced in a particular place by the people.
The belief in a God or several Gods and their worship and service is central to all religions of the world. However, the more important concept is that of morality and right or wrong as it serves as a guiding force when it comes to the behavior of people of a religion. Religions have sets of beliefs and rituals that make them distinct from other religions and different religions have different explanations of origin and life after death. Everything that is considered sacred is associated with religion in most societies while anything that is profane has nothing to do with religion.
What is the difference between Culture and Religion?
• Culture and religion are intertwined though it is a fact that religion is just a subset of a culture
• Culture is the composite body of knowledge that is called the social heritage of a people while religion is the system of beliefs and values in a supreme deity and its service
• Religion is necessary for the existence of human beings as they need to have a guiding force in their lives
• Moral values and the concepts of right and wrong are based upon religious beliefs