In 19th century the seminal work of Max Mullar, W.Robertson Smith, E.B. Tylor and J.G.Frazer had raised a new path i.e study of religion in anthropology, religion is a part of culture and a set of beliefs about the purpose and nature of the universe and life. Religion is universal but it is not universally same so it is very tough to define religion but Tylor in 1871 summed up religion as “belief in spiritual things.” In 1973 Clifford Geertz defined religion as “(1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men [sic] by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”
There were many anthropological theory which mainly concern with the conception of supernatural power, natural power which is found in different society. Some theory is also concern with the functional aspect of the religion.
Animism is a theory which is proposed by Tylor, the term animism comes from the Latin word anima which means soul. It is the belief in spiritual being
Animatism it is a belief in supernatural power not in supernatural beings, the power is usually impersonal, unseen and potentially everywhere. It is powerful but dangerous if it is miss used.it is a belief in a small scale society example the Polynesian culture of South Pacific this power is known as mana.
Naturalism theory is proposed by Max Mullar it is the belief in natural object, the primitive people used by natural phenomenon such sun gives light so they started worshiping sun as it is the source of light.
Functional theory: according to Malinowski religion is a adapting tool to get rid of stress and strain for example the fishermen of Trobriad island practice magical and religious activity before going for fishing. These are the outcome of fear which a possible disaster on gave rise to.