- Slides: 49
Common Themes of Religion Love Purpose Mysteries Death
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Characteristics v. Common of Religion Elements: v. Beliefs v. The Sacred and Profane v. Rituals and Ceremonies v. Personal Experience v Functions v. Social of Religion Cohesion v. Social Control v. Provides Meaning and Purpose
HISTORY OF RELIGION v IN PREINDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES v v RITUALS PRACTICED 40, 000 YEARS AGO EMBRACED “ANIMISM” v v v ELEMENTS OF THE NATURAL WORLD ARE CONSCIOUS LIFE FORMS THAT AFFECT HUMANITY NO FULL-TIME RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES v v v SCIENCE HAS OFTEN REPLACED RELIGION AS A SOURCE OF COMFORT AND CERTAINTY SCIENCE IS SILENT WHEN IT COMES TO ANSWERING “WHY” WE AND THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE EXISTS OFTEN THESE TWO BELIEF SYSTEM ARE AT ODDS WITH ONE ANOTHER ALIKE, YET VERY DIFFERENT
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Beliefs – Convictions that certain things are true. There are mysteries that confound and mock our abilities to understand them. (Name some? ) Religion serves a function for society in providing answers to those mysteries, and by providing meaning and hope to people who might otherwise feel hopelessly insignificant and lost. These answers, however, sometimes are more abstract and difficult to understand than the mysteries themselves, and require a level of belief that is often referred to as faith; unquestioning belief in God, religion, and other things sacred.
CAN THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE GET ALONG? v FAITH v v BELIEF ANCHORED IN CONVICTION RATHER THAN SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IF NOT SCIENCE, WHAT? v SCIENTIFIC SOCIOLOGY IS INTERESTED IN THE CONSEQUENCES OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF RATHER THAN A DIRECT CRITIQUE OF THE BELIEF SYSTEMS
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Beliefs are found in all religions, and include the Christian belief that Jesus is the son of God, and that Jesus arose from the dead after crucifixion; the Judaic belief in the “covenant” under which the Jews became God’s chosen people; the Islamic belief that there is only one God (monotheism), and that Mohammad, and Jesus, were only messengers; and the Hindu belief, not in a single deity, but in a spiritual force, “dharma”, that resides everywhere in the universe (pantheism) and in several deities (polytheism) who have influence over different aspects of our existence. v. Historically religious beliefs are not subject to the laws of science or philosophical inquiry, and many “heretics” of all religions have felt the power of religious rebuke, including death.
Sociological Analysis of Religion v Polytheism -
Sociological Analysis of Religion v Pantheism - God is the Universe
Sociological Analysis of Religion v Monotheism -
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v The Sacred and the Profane – According to Durkheim, all religions distinguish between the sacred, those things which have supernatural significance and qualities, and the profane, those things which are regarded as part of ordinary life. The sacred includes items that are symbols of other holy things, thus in Christianity, the cross is a common symbol for the act of Jesus dying for our sins. (Things inside and outside the temple)
THE PROFANE AND SACRED DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN THE ORDINARY AND EXTRAORDINARY v DURKHEIM v v THE PROFANE v v ORDINARY ELEMENTS OF EVERYDAY LIFE THE SACRED v v RELIGION FOCUSES ON THINGS THAT SURPASS THE LIMITS OF OUR OWN KNOWLEDGE THAT WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY, INSPIRING A SENSE OF AWE, REVERENCE, AND EVEN FEAR RELIGION v THE SOCIAL INSTITUTION INVOLVING BELIEFS AND PRACTICES BASED UPON A CONCEPTION OF THE SACRED
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Rituals and Ceremonies – routinized behaviors which allow the believer to temporarily approach their deity and bring the sacred and profane together within a social setting, thus reinforcing the power of the belief as part of a group experience; lighting candles on a menorah, the daily prayer cycle, communion, and bathing in the Ganges River.
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Rituals and Ceremonies – Prayer as a ritualistic and/or ceremonial link to personal experience.
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Moral Communities – religious groups that share common beliefs and values. v A religious community serves several functions: v provides continuity form one generation to another (education or indoctrination? ) v allows the laity to look after the profane matters while an elite tend to the sacred v provides social support v in times of threat, religious communities can offer some protections
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Personal Experience – religion can provide the interpretations for understanding one’s own behaviors, the personal meanings of these interpretations, and the resolve to do something about these problems or feelings that vex them. Individuals can feel that a “divine message” has been received personally, or has been received by one or more of their community members. A religious experience can be liberating in terms of guilt, depression, or any other number of maladies. A common expression is to give oneself up to God, Allah, or dharma. Individual problems and issues are absorbed by something bigger than themselves. These experiences can be very individualistic, yet also be consistent with the religious beliefs of the religious community as a whole.
Personal Experience v Losing ourselves in contemplation
Gaining Social Approval v. Extrinsic - Religiosity v. An orientation that sees religion as a means of gaining friendship, status, comfort, or other valuable ends.
Gaining Social Approval v. Intrinsic Religiosity - v. An orientation in which people attempt to internalize religious teachings, seeing religion as an end in itself.
Gaining Social Approval v. Quest religiosity - v An orientation that sees religion as a journey taken to understand complex spiritual and moral issues (vs. quick, simple answers)
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Religious Organizations v Church – 1) organized bureaucratically, 2) has a large membership, v 3) follows well-established rituals, and, 4) accepted by society even if not practiced v Denomination – as contrasted with an ecclesia, which is the official state religion, such as the Church of England, a denomination is a religion that maintains friendly relations with the government and other religions but does not claim to be the nation’s only legitimate religion v Sects – rejects the accepted form of a church, has little bureaucratic organization, follows emotions rather than rituals, are very committed to their beliefs, and may advocate violence to gain their ends. v Cults – has little to do with traditional religion, develop around a charismatic leader, often reject the greater society
CHURCHES AT ONE END OF THE SPECTRUM WITH SECTS AT THE OTHER v CHURCH v ORGANIZATION THAT IS WELL INTEGRATED INTO SOCIETY v v FORMS OF CHURCH v ECCLESIA v v A CHURCH FORMALLY ALLIED WITH THE STATE DENOMINATION v v CHURCH AND COMMUNITY OFTEN FORM A DUALITY INDEPENDENT OF THE STATE AND PLURALISTIC SECT v A TYPE OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION THAT STANDS APART FROM THE LARGER SOCIETY v THE AMISH PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF A NORTH AMERICAN SECT
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Religious Organizations v. Denomination – a religious group larger than a sect, but smaller than a church. The term denomination is used to describe a recognized religious organization that is self-governing and has doctrinal autonomy. v. Religion- Christianity v. Churches-Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodox v. Denominations (Protestantism) v. Baptists v. Presbyterians v. Lutherans v. Anglicans (Church of England) v. Seventh Day Adventists v. Sects – Shakers, Mennonites, Amish
CULTS RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE SUBSTANTIALLY OUTSIDE A SOCIETY’S CULTURAL TRADITIONS v CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP v VIEWED AS DEVIANT v OFTEN HAVE A DOCTRINE THAT VARIES FROM MAINSTREAM RELIGIONS v OFTEN REQUIRES MEMBERS TO RADICALLY ALTER THEIR LIFESTYLES v BRAINWASHING?
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Bureaucratic and Political Organization v. Roles v. Clerics v. Laity v. Political Structure v. Authoritarian v. Democratic v. Power v. Centralized v. Diffused
v 2. 0 BILLION FOLLOWERS v 85% OF AMERICANS AND CANADIANS v CHRISTIANITY BEGAN AS A CULT v IT IS MONOTHEISTIC (ONE GOD) v JESUS CHRIST IS CENTRAL FIGURE AS BOTH MAN ON EARTH AND SON OF GOD v PREACHES PERSONAL SALVATION v MANY SPLITS FROM ORIGINAL FORM OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM
ISLAM v v v 1. 2 BILLION FOLLOWERS NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE ARABS THE MIDDLE-EAST, ASIA, AND PARTS OF AFRICA ARE ISLAMIC-CENTERED ISLAM IS THE WORD OF GOD AS REVEALED TO THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD, BORN IN MECCA AROUND 570 THE QUR’AN URGES SUBMISSION TO GOD (ALLAH) AS THE PATH TO INNER PEACE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM v v v RECOGNIZE ALLAH AS THE TRUE GOD RITUAL PRAYER GIVING OF ALMS TO THE POOR FASTING DURING RAMADAN MAKING THE ONCE IN A LIFETIME PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA
JUDAISM v v v 15 MILLION ADHERENTS WORLDWIDE NATIONAL MAJORITY ONLY IN ISRAEL JEWS BELIEVE THAT A COVENANT EXISTS BETWEEN GOD AND GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE THE TORAH EMPHASIZES MORAL BEHAVIOR IN THE WORLD DENOMINATIONS: v v ORTHODOX JEWS ARE VERY TRADITIONAL REFORM JUDAISM IS MORE CHURCH-LIKE CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM ACTS TO BRIDGE THE FIRST TWO BELIEF SYSTEMS ANTI-SEMITISM v PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST JEWISH PEOPLE
THE OLDEST OF ALL WORLD RELIGIONS MORE THAN 800 MILLION BELIEVERS v FOUND MOSTLY IN INDIA AND AFRICA v NO SACRED WRITINGS LIKE THE BIBLE v PRINCIPLES: v DHARMA REFERS TO CORRECT LIVING v KARMA REFERS TO BELIEF IN SPIRITUAL PROGRESS THROUGH REINCARNATION v v NIRVANA REPRESENTS SPIRITUAL PERFECTION AND A RELEASE FROM THE CYCLE OF REBIRTH
OTHER RELIGIONS v BUDDHISM v 350 MILLION PERSONS v v ALMOST ALL ASIANS RESEMBLES HINDUISM IN DOCTRINE AND CHRISTIANITY DUE TO ITS TIES TO THE LIFE OF ONE INDIVIDUAL v SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA v v ACHIEVED “BODHI” OR ENLIGHTENMENT BECAME “BUDDHA” NO “GOD OF JUDGMENT, ” BUT DAILY ACTION HAS ITS CONSEQUENCES CONFUCIANISM v v v 100, 000 PERSONS IN NORTH AMERICA PRIOR TO THE 1949 REVOLUTION, IT WAS AN ECCLESIA: THE OFFICIAL RELIGION OF CHINA PERHAPS IT IS MORE A WAY OF DISCIPLINED LIVING THAN A RELIGION
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RELIGION IN THE U. S. v AFFILIATION v v v 56. 2% PROTESTANTS (20. 6% BAPTIST) 25. 1% CATHOLICS 9. 2% NO PREFERENCE 2. 3% JEWISH 1. 7% OTHER OR NO ANSWER RELIGIOSITY v v REFERS TO IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION IN A PERSON’S LIFE TYPES: v v v EXPERIENTIAL: EMOTIONAL TIES RITUALISTIC: FREQUENCY OF ACTIVITIES IDEOLOGICAL: DEGREE OF BELIEF IN DOCTRINE CONSEQUENTIAL: TIE INTO DAILY ACTIVITIES INTELLECTUAL: KNOWLEDGE OF RELIGION IN THE U. S. THERE IS A LOT OF THE EXPERIENTIAL TYPE
RELIGIOUS PRACTICES ARE FOUND TO BE TIED TO VARIOUS OTHER SOCIAL PATTERNS v SOCIAL CLASS v v v HIGH ACHIEVEMENT: EPISCOPALIANS, PRESBYTERIANS, AND UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST CONGREGATIONS MODERATE ACHIEVEMENT: METHODISTS AND CATHOLICS LOWER ACHIEVEMENT: BAPTISTS, LUTHERANS, AND MEMBERS OF SECTS JEWISH PEOPLE TEND TO BE REPRESENTED AMONG THE HIGHER ACHIEVERS DUE TO EMPHASIS ON EDUCATION AND ACHIEVEMENT RACE AND ETHNICITY v MANY RELIGIONS ARE TIED TO SPECIFIC REGIONS AND SOCIETIES IN AMERICA, v IRISH CATHOICS, ANGLO-SAXON PROTESTANTS, GREEK ORTHODOX, RUSSIAN JEWS, ETC.
Denomination Percent of Ratio: Number of Percent of Current % of Presidents U. S. Pop. to % of Pop. Episcopalian 11 26. 2% 1. 7% 15. 4 Presbyterian 10 23. 8% 2. 8% 5. 1 Methodist 5 11. 9% 8. 0% 1. 5 Baptist 4 9. 5% 18. 0% 0. 5 Unitarian 4 9. 5% 0. 2% 47. 5 Disciples of Christ 3 7. 1% 0. 4% 18. 7 Dutch Reformed 2 4. 8% 0. 1% 48. 0 Quaker 2 4. 8% 0. 7% 6. 9 Congregationalist 2 2. 4% 0. 6% 4. 0 Catholic 1 2. 4% 26. 5% 0. 1 Jehovah's Witness 1 2. 4% 0. 6% 6. 0 TOTAL 42 100% 59. 0%
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Functional Perspectives v Religion is just one the social institutions that contribute to the stability of a society through the social processes of: v Societal cohesion v Social control – religion applies authority and direction to important points of a person’s life cycle including marriage, birth, and death v Provision of purpose – religion helps reduce social anxiety by providing answers to broad questions about the meaning of life, existence, and non-existence
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Conflict Perspectives v like all the other social institutions, religion can be used by the powerful to legitimate their authority, keep themselves in power, and keep the other classes “in line” v official religious belief (dogma) can reduce the importance of the here-andnow, and stress the importance of the other-worldly, leading to an acceptance of the status quo, even if inequality and exploitation is obvious (a form of false consciousness) This is what Marx had in mind when he referred to religion as the “opiate of the masses”. v religious belief can be used to validate the political and economic institutions of a society, and even lead to the incorporation of the religious into civil institutions such as law, education and the political order; Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Conflict Perspectives v a humanistic perspective, a bit different than a true conflict perspective, is critical of the effect that religious dogma can have on the development of the pursuit of knowledge and freedom of expression. When Spinoza, a Jewish philosopher, suggested that instead of taking the Bible literally, we should see it as allegory; and instead of seeing God as separate from nature, we should see God in all things, including nature, he was driven from his synagogue and excommunicated. He wrote: “Those who wish to seek out the causes of miracles, and to understand the things in nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away which is the only means by which their authority is preserved. ”
The Conflict Perspective v Conflict theorists are highly critical of religion. v By diverting thoughts to future happiness in a coming world, religion relieves one of suffering. v Religion legitimates the social inequalities of society.
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Conflict Perspectives v another humanistic perspective was offered by Nietzsche (passage from Gay Science) Can humans exist without the social institution of religion? Nietzsche felt that it was extremely difficult, but possible. But where would individuals turn to for answers to the unanswerable? v. Marx – religion is used by the powerful to control the classes; “opiate of the masses”. Classical religion can be replaced with spiritualism. v The “Ethicalist” movement can be seen as a transition stage in which individuals emphasize living a “good” life, treating others with respect and altruism, instead of worshiping a deity.
A Sociological Analysis of Religion v Symbolic Interaction – religious identity serves as a reference point which affect the political choices, sexual relationships, and other aspects of daily life for many individuals. It is incorporated into their self, and they see themselves as acting as a Christian/Jew/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist. v v radical changes in faith may involve entire belief systems, self identity, and one’s positions in society.