Class Notes (838,702)
Canada (511,055)
Sociology (2,433)
SOCA02H3 (398)
Lecture 10

SOCA02- Lecture 10 (Religion).docx

7 Pages
87 Views
Unlock Document

Department
Sociology
Course
SOCA02H3
Professor
Malcolm Mac Kinnon
Semester
Winter

Description
March 29, 2012 Religion  What impact do religious beliefs have on social organization? Max Weber asked how religion acts on momentous social change? 1. SELECTED THEMES FROM RELIGION (a) DEFINITION OF THE SITUATION  “what people believe to be true, is true in its consequences”- if people believe a particular teaching is true, then that belief will have consequences; sometimes known as the Thomas Theorem; what people believe is what is important, particularly in sociology (i) CHEDDAR CHEESE CULT  Cult believes that the moon is made of cheddar cheese; every time a full moon arrives, the cult goes into a farmer’s field and proceeds to eat cheese throughout the night, believing that this will confer salvation and everlasting life; economic impact of cheese festivals- price of cheese will increase because behaviour of cult will produce a shortage of cheese; Lyon Festinger- studied a cult- When Prophecy Fails- what happens when a prophecy made by a religious group doesn’t come to pass? Festinger studied a cult that believed a spaceship would descend from heaven on a certain day, and take people will them; thousands of people showed up (mostly farmers who gave away their farm), but they were left in the lurch; so did they stop believing in the cult? One would think that a rational person would abandon the cult when the prophecy failed; however, the followers became even more committed in their beliefs; members of the GAIA cult, when they get confirmation against their beliefs, they will only hold on to their beliefs even more strongly; global ice cover has remained the same since 1970; (b) ULTIMATE QUESTIONS  Religion’s defining trait is that it attempts to answer questions we have about existence; why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Why was the universe created? These issues cannot be answered by science; science deals with empirical, factual issues, not these ultimate issues, which leaves room for religious interpretations; Big Bang theory- we can calculate how long ago the big bang took place, and how fast it is expanding, but it cannot calculate questions such as who lit the fuse? (c) RELIGIOSITY  Religiosity is how religious are people? How committed are they to their beliefs? Various measures have been developed; one that is not very reliable is how frequently do people attend their place of worship; people attend places of worship for all sorts of reasons- living in a very religious community, people will attend to accepted socially; people may attend regularly because they are compelled to attend (often the case with children, who would be less inclined to attend if given the choice); sociologists have developed religiosity measures- Depth of Religious Commitment- try to measure people’s strength of belief, emotional attachment to a religion, knowledge about religious ideas, performance of rituals throughout the day;  Social factors connected to religiosity include: obligation, opportunity, need, and learning; religion one is born into is important (d)SECULARIZATION  A modern development; many say we live in a secularized world; an important pattern of social change; a decline in the importance of the supernatural and the sacred; religion declines in influence (one of the reason for this decline is that other institutions begin to elbow religion out of the way such as psychiatry, education, medicine); secularization is most advanced in the more developed parts of the world; in the time of the middle ages, Life was nasty, brutish, and short; Life was nothing to write home about; a vale of tears; average lifespan was 35; epidemics were frequent; 1340s- the black death (plague); people had to face violent deaths which was common; peasants had no legal rights (they weren’t citizens); social inferiors were treated by superiors like chatthl (likethroperty); no law and order (or very little); the advent of the nation state in the late 16 and 17 century established law and order in a large geographical area; prior to that, law and order was virtually non-existent; premature, painful death was a part of life (cut on finger); antibiotics only came along in the 1930s, thus prior to that, people died of minor infections;  medicine used to be hit and miss, it was based on bloodletting; bloodletting is a great example of a belief lasting a very long time without actual basis in truth; bloodletting was called phlebotomy; even the upper class used the same medicine; people often died due to excessive loss of blood; began in ancient Greece; popular in India, Middle East, and Europe; by 1850 or so, people began to question it; in some cases it was still used until the 1920s in the US;  famine was frequent; even a dry summer can cause famine; no insecticides were used, and fertilizer was poorly understood; rough correlation between quality of life and religiosity; the poorer the quality of life, the higher the religiosity; as quality of life improved, focus began to change to this worldly; when quality of life is poor, people think otherworldly; led to loss of functions- other institutions significantly took over functions that used to be done by religion; ex. Charity (alms to the poor, universal health care now covers that sort of thing), bereavement counseling (someone to provide comfort upon the death of a person, now done by funeral parlour directors), treatment for depression or other emotional issues, exorcism (emotionally disturbed); psychotherapists now handle this sort of thing;  religion is increasingly influenced by secular culture; in the past, religion shapes the rest of culture, but it has now changed; today, many protestant religions ordain women (in response to the women’s movement); also ordaining gays; many religions are also big fans of modern environmentalism; many have some sympathy for GAIA stories and the like; aid to the third world, as well as poverty; international human rights is another way in which secular culture has influenced religion; finally, pacifism; Quakers were pacifists; the belief that warfare is not justified under any circumstances  the secularization thesis- religious institutions, actions, and consciousness will become even more relevant; secularization will wipe out and replace religion; some sociologists prescribe to this view  Persistence thesis- argues that religion will always be here in some form or another; not for any personal reasons, but for sociological reasons; some ultimate issues in life that cannot be answered by science; what shall I do? How shall I live? There will always be some room for religious beliefs  Secularization in Canada- Quebec used to be the most religious province in Canada by far; beginning in the 1960s, the Quiet Revolution took place; the influence of the church declined; church attendance dropped; people stopped believing in the church’s ideas on birth control; church’s belief was that withdrawal would work as birth control; church’s strong opposition to abortion was also ignored; deep seeded beliefs can still be found in various parts of the world, and various religions; religion is not in an advanced stage of decay; among Christians, fundamentalism has experienced tremendous growth; to accept a holy book, literally;  Most religious, highly developed country is the US; Rick Santorum, opposed to abortion and also contraception; at one time in the West, religion controlled education; elements of that seen today (TCDSB); science and technology (independent variables) are part of secularization as well, they both cause secularization (dependent variable) by improving living conditions; as quality of life improves, people tend to become more secular; they begin to focus on this worldly affairs; as science and technology create more wealth and secularization, more wealth (feedback loop) is put into science and technology; it is a reinforcing relationship; in the world today, there is a greater tendency to see birth, illness, death, fortune, as a result of natural forces and not so much as a result of a divine power;  In 2007, Indonesia, tsunami hits the country; it was seen as the result of natural forces; what natural forces? Plate tectonics (the Earth is made up of a bunch of plates that float on a bed of molten lava); they are constantly moving (causing earthquakes); in contrast to an earthquake that took place in Lisbon, in 1775; Jesuits in Lisbon condemned those people giving aid, arguing that prayers for forgiveness was the only way to respond to the tragedy; giving aid was a punch in the face of God’s will; tsunami was God’s way of punishing people for their sins;  Secularized psychology- in the middle ages, fleas on rats caused the Black Death, which was supposedly God’s punishment for human’s sins; flagellants- the church ordered flagellants; people walked around whipping themselves; turned out to be a way of spreading the disease, rather than preventing it; the germ theory of disease  Revised secularization thesis- religion will stick around but in a diminished form at least for the foreseeable future; US, one of the most highly developed societies in the world, is very religious; Canada is similar to Europe in its religious beliefs; some see it today as a mark of national or ethnic identification; religion is often secondary to national or ethnic identification; Russia (Orthodox Christianity)- supported Serbia on ethnic grounds (same religious beliefs); Conservatives and liberals are political positions, usually on two minds on religion; social conservatives (Rick Santorum) see it as a moral decline, losing touch of religious pasts; liberal leftists tend to be more secular, and see secularization as a kind of liberalization from intolerance of the past; sometimes secularization can be dogmatic and intolerant in its own right; some university student groups (notably in Carleton and McGill) attempts have been made to ban prolife groups; all ideologies and spiritual beliefs tend to have intolerance; 2. A NORTH AMERICAN CLASSIFICATION OF  Atheism is the rejection of the belief in God; Marxists are by definition atheists; Soviet Union was an atheist state; agnostics are people who sit on the fence, there may be a God or there may not be a God; Deists are of the belief that a God or supreme power created the th planet/universe and then left it alone; Pantheists came alone in Europe in the 18 century, and comes before modern day environmentalism; believe God exists in everything we see (life, non- life/ animate or inanimate objects); Animism (before Pantheism) was common to band and tribe societies who believed that breath or soul or spirit exists in every object; soul exists in humans; Totemism is believing that animals have an ancestral relationship to human beings (look up definition); GAIA (movie Avatar)- life has an interconnectedness; idea of using resources of the globe is anathema; some aboriginals are opposed to the oil sands (some are on board with oil companies)  European classifications of religion- church- strict hierarchy of roles; division of labour within the church; very specific rules and regulations; teachings are non-threatening, and recruits from all classes; another part is sect (breakaway religious groups usually due to disagreements) are less structured, more spontaneous, less integrated into society, more separated; strict enforcement of rules; insider/outsider mentality; early scholars said that the North American continent is different from Europe, in that North America was born in religious freedom, resulting in more variety of religions; about 3200 different religions in N.A.; being def
More Less

Related notes for SOCA02H3

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit