Most people in Kenya will agree that Religion plays an important part in their lives, even if they are not religiously and formally attached to a particular religious organization. In this essay we will define terms such as religion, social life, and social change. We will briefly look at the origin of religion; we will consider Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim’s views on religion and its relevance to the Kenyan society, major types of religions in Kenya, we will consider the aims and functions of religion on society and its effects on social life in Kenya.
Religion is a social institution involving beliefs and practices based on a conception of the sacred. According to Schaefer, (2005) Durkheim defines religion as a unified system of beliefs and practices. It involves a set of beliefs and practices that are uniquely the property of religion. According to Rosman, et el (1995) many people in the world believe in supernatural in an order of existence beyond the observable universe. Giddens (2001) states that religion involves a set of symbols, invoking feelings of reverence or awe and are linked to rituals or ceremonies engaged in by a community of believers. Social change is alterations in basic structures of a social group or society and it’s an ever present phenomenon in social life.
As to the origin of religion Tucker, (1978) states that Marx views that “humanity makes religion; religion does not make humanity but the origin of religion can generally be traced to Near East and classified in three basic categories; polytheistic, which is a belief in many gods; pantheistic, a belief that all are god and monotheistic a belief in on God.
According Schaefer, (2005) 87% of the world’s population adheres to some religion with Christianity being the largest single faith followed by Islam. In Kenyan society according to Finkle (2003), although traditional beliefs and ritual practises vary greatly in detail among Kenya's many ethnic groups,...