Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Matthew Scherer




religion, politics, institutions, manipulation


Religion’s place in political order is a controversial subject. How does the function of religion compare to that of political order? Can it support a society in the same way? My research attempts to answer these questions by investigating three distinct time periods and cultures. I first examine the primitive people of the Azande tribe in Africa, an example of a society based mainly on religion. My research then turns to the fifth and sixth century Greeks, a society in flux, attempting to hold on to religion in the throes of a logical revolution. Finally, I turn to America to discover if religion has any function at all in a society whose Constitution forbids the establishment of a national religion. I conclude that while religion and political order are not identically functioning institutions, they do share many qualities, such as the ability to empower leaders, support morals, and function as a tool for personal manipulation. Through my research, it will be shown that a society based on religion is similar, at the core, to one governed by political order.