Lecture 19: Religion (Chapter 10)
Test 3 covers everything from Test 2: sexuality of gender, education, religion, and families. More
lectures on one means more content on test.
Sociology of religion is not about the values and questions of the religion -> interested in HOW they play
out in society.. Validity of questions is irrelevant.
Scared: extra-ordinated, dedicated to worshipping (such as of a god or deity), not what sociologists
focus on this but how a group is united around this, declared holy, separate from everything else.
For more part sociology is concerned with profane world -> everything not religious/sacred -> secular.
As societies begin industrializing, religious institutions become weakened -> secularization occurs with
modern world and is inevitable.
As societies become modern, we have respect for diversity and others' belief systems -> takes away
moral constraints, power of church becomes diminished
Max Weber argued modern sciences and politics lead to disenchantment of world -> not easily
enchanted by ideas of divinity -> become skeptical -> question faith -> religion declines. Major religions
of world, behind there was a charismatic leader who was inspired by supernatural powers. (Jesus,
Mohammed, Moses, Buddha) -> enchantment around them -> lead to social change into religion ->
followers believe them b/c were enchanted. Harder to inspire people in modern world. With rise of
modern democracy, religion is on decline. Religious institutions have becomes bureaucracies -> destroy
charismatic element by becoming institutionalized -> more you enact rituals & practices, more it
becomes routine and weakens religion. Mystery around leader begins to wane. Weber was a protestant
and mostly talked about the catholic church. Institution of Catholicism drowns out real religion.
However, there is still an element among the people of to be enchanted by a charismatic leader -> such
as Hitler, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama (especially first campaign), John F. Kennedy, Osama bin
One way of measuring if religion is waning is by looking at religiosity -> degree to which religion is
important to people -> famous Gallup Poll: Religiosity and Atheism Index -> 59% still religious, 23% not &
only 13% convinced atheists -> if secular theory was true this would NOT be the case.
Where is religiosity powerful and why? Where is it not? Top ten atheist? China, Japan, Czech Republic,
France, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Iceland, Australia, Ireland -> why China? b/c
communist, why Ireland when it’s a Catholic country. Top religious: Ghana, Nigeria, Armenia, Fiji,
Macedonia, Romania, Iraq, Kenya…
Religiosity & income level? Religiosity is higher amongst poor vs. rich. The wealthier a person is, the less
likely they are to be religious. Religiosity & educational attainment? Higher education = less religious
Ten countries with decline in religiosity in 2005? Vietnam, Switzerland, France, south Africa, Iceland,
Ecuador, US, Canada, Austria, Germany HOWEVER atheism only rose by 3%
Direct relationship between religiosity and income: higher income per person in the country = lower the
level of religiosity in the country and vice versa. Vietnam and China are exceptions - low income but also