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Class 4 Oct 3.docx

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Matthew King

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Religion in Society; Religion & /ideology What is a theory of religion - A theory of religion is an answer to one of at least 2 questions 1) What is the origin of religion 2) What is the function of religion - A theory or religion could try and answer when, where and why and how a specific religious movement - It could try and answer when, where, why and how religious movement functions alongside other features of society and culture - How does religion as an equal player in the social field affect other thigns Durkeim helps us think about: th - 19 century - Forms sociology in France - Interested in questions of social cohesion , how do ppl of the same family or social community how do they develop and maintain social cohesion. How do they create their society. - Connection btw religion and social order - Asking questions about function and meaning o How symbols do social work eg. What a church is Positivism: - Human society follows laws, just like the natural laws of physics or biology, which can be discovered and studied by empirical observation - How human sciences are defined and instituted in schools - They function according to laws eg. Energy, gravity - Human scientist, sociologist, anthropologist start too look for the laws of social experience, trying to find the underlying laws of social communities o Used to legitimise there position Collective Consciousness - Durkheim started asking questions about social solidarity - Eg. What is it that binds Canadians from Halifax to BC - Why is it that during the world war 2 ppl from Canada signed up to fight a war for a british queen - What does it mean to be part of a community, society. What holds these societies together - Durkheim’s theory is that its not born in us but created through a system of beliefs and values o The answer lies in group participation in values that were learned through social experiences (eg. Team building exercises) o - The things that rises from this is collective consciousness - Religion as a group experience. This what religious does. o Gets ppl together and share similar ideas and writes o Object of religious ppl has to be a sacred one Social Facts: - Primary idea of Durkheim - The whole world has to be separated btw sacred and profane - The sacred power it was what brings ppl together ,’, is collective consciousness - Social facts involve learning Locating the religious in the social - Religion is about symbols and natural expression of society - A reflection of core, communal social identities  they represent the sacred Durkehim defines religious as: - A unified system of beliefs and practise relatives to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden - Next def: first and foremost a system of ideas by which men imagine the society of which they are members and the obscure yet intimate relations they have with it - Religion is the way we imagine our society o All we do is talk about our own social community o It is impossible to Durkheim for religion to describe anything other then the higher ideas of the group Sacred vs. Profane - First criterion of religious belief - All religions, beliefs, myths, dogmas etc. Are representations that express the nature of sacred things - Distils things down to belief in the sacred not the gods o The sacred can be a rock, a set of laws, a site, a tablet Durkheim says that: - We out to pay attention to how religious faith is created and re-created - A symbol represents the collective idea of the society - The symbol doesn’t have to be anything specific but rather can change all the time and can change with the times. But the sacred work that it does doesn’t change Picture of a Buddhist - How would this act as a symbol of religion o Found in a temple, those seeing it meditate o Ppl will offer things to Buddha and create the Buddha as sacred - Religion is society perceiving itself - The sacred is the sum of the social whole and the sacred item will change with society - Durkhiem is attempting to create a broad explanation of an ever changing symbol o And even though
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