History has taught us that cultures and individuals put a large amount of significance into inanimate objects. Whether the object is a sacred city or an old car, as humans we can’t help but feel a certain connection to these non-human objects.
For Christians, Jews and Muslims, the city of Jerusalem has been an example of an inhuman object. Jerusalem, although non-human is valued and loved by billions of people. The City has deep meaning for Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Symbolic and interpretive anthropology states that symbols are learned and shared from generation to generation; Clifford Geertz argues, “Culture is not a model inside people’s heads but rather is embodied in public symbols and actions”. The city of Jerusalem symbolizes deep historical roots for many people, the importance of Jerusalem has been passed down from generation to generation, the city itself is a symbol of unity, as a place where religious people can go to pray or interact with their brethren or god.
Because of this symbolism the city of Jerusalem has been fought over for generations, the importance of this city has been passed down and the need to control Jerusalem has led to many conflicts. Still to this day, whoever controls the city of Jerusalem is the subject of many heated interactions and bloodshed between religious groups. Not only does the city of Jerusalem relate to symbolic and interpretive anthropology, Jerusalem also relates to functionalism. As Dr. McGranahan states, “Functionalism seeks to discover connections in and between societies”. Jerusalem as a whole is a collision of many different societies and cultures; the city has an important function and plays an important role for all of these different cultures.
Jerusalem meets many universal human needs: the need for meaning, safety and a meeting place for religious peoples. Jerusalem gives Christianity, Judaism, and Islam a tangible source of faith. This tangible source gives practitioners of these religions a sense of safety, knowing that there is something that they can physically see that embodies their religious beliefs. Jerusalem gives people of faith and religion a place to meet and congregate and a place where they can be with likeminded people. The city of Jerusalem provides cross cultural social and spiritual needs of all three major monotheistic religions. Jerusalem serves as an important place for billions of people who are emotionally connected to the city in some way or another, this connection between human beings and a non-human entity (e.g. a city) is very powerful and is extremely important to anthropology as a whole.
 Anthrotheory.pbsworks.com accessed 17 September 2015
 Lecture, Professor Carole McGranahan, ANTH 2100 Intro to Cultural Anthropology September 14 2015.