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SOC 101 (300)
Lecture

Religion

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 101
Professor
Barry Mc Clinchey
Semester
Winter

Description
[RELIGION] March 6, 2013 1. Belief Systems  Religion o A set of organized beliefs about the supernatural or spiritual worlds and their associated ceremonies that guides people’s behaviour and joins them into communities of believers o Need in collective consciousness for ceremonies, religious nonsense  Faith o A belief system based on convictions that does not require objective evidence to substantiate its claims 1. People accept understandings on the basis of faith  E.B Tylor (1832-1917) o Religions evolve from simple and primitive to modern and complex over time o Stages of religious evolution 1. Animism: supernatural beings or spirits inhabit both living things and inanimate objects 2. Polytheism: society recognizes a set of independent supernatural beings or gods 3. Monotheism: religion identifies with a single, all-powerful, all-knowing god  Religion is a human creation  Greek God have been discredited  Social scientists dispute Tylor’s stages arguing that religions do not progress along a simple and universal line of development o Piaget, Erickson, other stage theorists o Civil (or secular) religion: a system in which sacred symbols are integrated into the broader society regardless of their individual religious affiliations  Religious symbols exist within are day to day lives, despite are religious affiliations  “in god we trust  Ties to patriotism, nationalism, charter of rights and freedoms, Christian-based holidays 2. Types of Religious Groups  New Religious Movement o An informal group without defined structure o Emerges around authoritarian and charismatic leaders o Isolate members and supress rational thought o Usually disband once leader dies  Sect o Small religious body with exclusive or voluntary membership that is aloof or hostile to the larger society o Technically illegal in Canada o Formed when a group breaks from a larger religious groups o More long term, not dependent on one charismatic leader  Church (mosque, synagogue) o An institution that brings together a moral community of believers in formal worship and integrates itself within the larger secular world o Most prevalent in societies with a high degree of religious pluralism o Not at all against the community 13 o Ecclesia: a state religion  Ascribed membership Chapter: 1 [RELIGION] March 6, 2013  Ex. Catholic Church in Italy, Islam in Iran, Lutheran Church of Sweden, and Anglican Church of England o Denomination: socially accepted religious body that has bureaucratic characteristics similar to those of the church  Different sorts of emphasis on certain beliefs, within the larger church  Self-governing  Some accept gay marriages, women in roles of authority etc  Seen as midpoint between church and sect 3. World Religions  Max Weber’s classification o Contrasted Oriental religions (Eastern) with Occidental (Western) religions o Middle Eastern cultures (Persia, Arabia, and North America) focus on mastery over the natural world, other people, and the human body (asceticism)  Christianity  Islam  Judaism  Hinduism  Buddhism  Confucianism  Jehovah’s Witness  Sikhism  Fundamentalism  Agnosticism and Atheism 4. Religion in Canada  One of the most pluralistic societies in the world  Largely a Christian Nation  7 out of 10 Canadian identify selves as either Catholic of Protestant  Traditional religions loose memberships, while sub-groups gain membership  Immigration affects religious distribution  Those who do not report partaking in religious practices still have some sort of religious affiliation 13 Chapter: 2 [RELIGION] March 6, 2013 5. Theoretical Insights into Religion  Functionalism o Durkheim (1912, 1954) 1. All religions originate in society, separating the world into the profane and the sacred 2. God was invented for very specific purposes 3. The profane encompasses the secular aspects of life (objects, practices, behaviours) 4. The sacred encompasses those things that we set apart, ritualize and form emotional connections to 5. Totem: an object that has special significance and meaning for a group of believers, needs no explanation  Ex. soldier in middle ages at battle, profane use
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