In offering its system of meaning, religion has two dialectical functions in public life: social critique and instrument of legitimacy. When the first function doesn’t effectively work, the second one will go unchecked, and religion becomes prone to abuse of power. We can find this in the history of world religions and in our Indonesian reality today.

Sociologically, most major religions emerged in times of crisis initially and primarily as ethical, moral and social critiques of the status quo. Founders of religions are strident social critics who, at times, have to suffer alienation, persecution, expulsion or even crucifixion.

As such religion emerged as a radical challenge and prophetic alternative to the existing confining social praxis, moral decadence, corrupt tradition and false system of consciousness. In this way, religion also provides inspiration, social energy and vision to create sociological imagination.

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