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Soc 101 Ch 13-15 everything you need

24 Pages

Course Code
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

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Chapter 13 Religion Theoretical insights to religion y Religion a set of organized beliefs about the super natural or spiritual world that guides behaviour and joins people into communities of believers y Faitha belief system based on conviction that does not require objective evidence to substantives its claims ie belief in god without proof of seeing himher y Functionalism o The elementary forms of religious life by Emile Durkheim is considered the defining analysis of religion from functionalist approach o Durkheim says that religion originates in society which creates religion by separating profane from sacred o Profane elements of the everyday world that o not inspire or motivate o Sacred things or activities that are set apart ritualized and at times inspire emotional reactions o Ex wine and bread at a communion are not sacred but become sacred at the ritual o Totem an object that has special significance and meaning for a group of believers o Collective conscience according to Durkheim the group awareness that manifests itself in part through religion o Durkheim also believed that religion was a strong source of social power that could inspire collective action o Collective effervescence expressed when a social group achieves a new an dynamic expression of the groups will and can motivate rapid changes to the social structure o Religion to functionalist answers the problems of meaningo Religion also acts as the below in many societies y Religion joins people into communities of believers that promote social stability and a sense of belonging ie fosters unity and consensus y Religion provides people with a social identity group solidarity is affirmed and enhanced through public rituals an ceremonies y Religion provides social control through the establishment of moral standards of behaviour an orderly social existences is possible only when people share common moral values when they do these values are an expression of society itself y Religion provides people with a sense of purpose and brings meaning to their lives religion provides comfort to people during crisis y Religion provides a social service function provides support to people in need o Some limitations of functionalist Durkheims interpretation of religion 1 Religion can be dysfunctional ie Religious groups have problems with other religious groups 2 Some religions strict individuals the right to think for themselves 3 Religions must compete with other social institutions and categories that are sources of personal identity 4 It fails to recognize the roles that social class power and gender play in the development and maintenance of religion a component that conflict theorists explain religion 5 It suggests very little opportunityfor individual agency since it is considered collective conscience y Conflict Theory o Grounded on three primary assumptions y Religion is socially constructed and build upon economic relationships y Religion diminishes feelings of frustration resulting from the forces of alienation y Religion is used by social political and economic elite to control the workers o Marx viewed religion as a form of social control that dulls the pain of oppression for the proletariat and prevents them from seeing the world as it truly exists o Marx thought religion was an illusion that made proletariats pain of oppression bearable and submissive o He thought that studying and critiquing religion one is able to uncover the problems at the root of social relations o By focusing on the future religion helps distract people from the inequalities and difficulties that exist today so to understand religion one must understand social economic and political landscape of the people o Limitations of marxs insights y Marxs assumption that religion supports and maintains the status quo in society is challenged by Max Weber who says religion can be inspiration behind great social change y Predestination the doctrine that god alone chooses elects who is saved y Weber argues that protestants saw their resulting economic success as evidence that they were following their calling and doing gods willy Some contemporary religious movements actually challenge the rich and powerful by advocating income redistribution in society y Liberation theology a movement by religious fundamentalists who advocate a literal interpretation of the Bible to promote greater social equity y Sense of community that some people find in religion is a positive force inspiring many to help the less fortunate and to participate in political movements y Symbolic Interactions Theory o they view religion as an important source of rituals and symbols that help to define peoples perceptions of their social world o Rituals help to reinforce group membership in number of ways
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