Perspectives on Religion Thus far. we have been looking at religion primarily from a macro level perspective. Symbolic interactionists focus their attention on a microleve analysis examines the meanings people give to religion in their everyday lives. Religion as a Reference Group For many people. religion serves as a reference group to help them define themselves. For example. religious symbols have meaning for large bodies of people. Star of David holds special significance for Jews.just as the crescent moon and star do for Muslims and the cross does for Christians. For individuals as well. a symbol may have a certain meaning beyond that shared by the group. For instance. a symbolic gift given to a child may have special meaning when he or she grows up and faces war or other crises. It may not only remind the adult of a religious belief but also create a feeling of closeness with a relative who is now deceased. It has been said that the symbolism of religion is so very powerful because it "expresses the essential facts of our human
existence- (Collins. 1982:37).