عنوان مقاله [English]
Many scholars in the field of social thought have analyzed ideology as a system of ideas and beliefs of communities in relation to religion and culture. Investigating some of theories respecting ideology, the current research stipulates that, under the influence of structuralist and pragmatist approaches in social sciences, the definition of ideology has resulted in a functional definition of religion. The functionalist definitions are dependent on a theoretical view which tries to explain beliefs on the basis of a functional role. Therefore, ideology may be taken either as religion or as any value system with functional aspects. However, flying in the face of those approaches which mainly underline functions of religion, the symbolic cultural approach adopts an interpretative and spiritualistic method and states that each society can hold its particular cultural patterns which are possibly religious, scientific or ideological. Spiritualistic approaches, too, fail to uncover the realities of religion but they arrive at a deeper understanding of religious beliefs of peoples by discovering and interpreting the cultural patterns of societies.