Friday, July 11, 2008

Religion and Hierarchy

Hierarchy is something that crops up in many religions. I’m not referring to the relationship between humans and the Divine, but rather the relationships that occur between humans in a religious structure/organization.

For instance in Catholicism (the only reason I’m using this example is because I find it to be the easiest) there is the Pope, various Archbishops and Cardinals, bishops and bishops of a diocese, priests, and pastors. And of course then there are the lay people.

And so I have been thinking: what is the purpose behind such hierarchy? If one was to come from a fairly Marxist perspective, their reason may be that it is a form of social control. And yet other religions beside those ‘dominant’ ones such as Catholicism also have some sort of hierarchy within them. BTW for instance, has the High Priestess and High Priest of a coven.

So, do you believe hierarchy is an important aspect of a religious organization? Why do you think many choose to have a hierarchy? Does your religion have any form of hierarchy?

(A latter thought I had: how do you feel about the hierarchy of men and women in certain religious organizations? If there is one in your religion, how do you feel about it? And if there isn’t, do you think there should be one?)

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