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Lecture

RLG210Y1 Lecture Notes - Parable Of The Lost Sheep, New Religious Movement, Jesus Movement


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG210Y1
Professor
Joseph Bryant

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Lec notes wed dec 1, 2010
Max weber The
historical sociology of the world religion
Sought to establish the interconnections between economics, politics, war, religion, etc, as these
interrelations shift and unfold in the course of shaping and driving human history
The importance of “religiously determined systems of life regulation” for economics, politics,
warfare, art , the erotic, education and intellectual life, etc
Starting point: differing levels or degrees of religious aptitude or interest among individuals
Virtuoso or „heroic‟ religiosity <- - - - -> „everyday‟ or „mass religiosty‟
Basic orientation is that human seek supernatural support and aid “so they may prosper and have
a long life on earth‟‟ …..(health, wealth, status, power, etc), and they seek assurances of
advantages in an afterlife”
There are far more prophets that become sociologicall successful some find teachings and not
supporters
-------- the tension between tradition and charisma
Humans prefer order, stability, the familiarity of routine
Religion is one of the most conservative or social institutions: its truths are timeless, sacred,
unchanging religions address the ultimate questions of value, meaning, purpose
I,e religion is not oriented towards being fashionably, trendy, or now
Chrisma- extrodaniary trait of character, personality- it is the force that raptures religion
Richard Bulliet, introduced the idea of s shaped curve of conversion :
The available convert pool to any religion is sociologically and psychologically diverse, and the
soci-historical contexts in which conversions occur are dynamic, chagong
5 basic convert types:
Innovators- the earliest recruits, who are zealots, enthusiasts, seekers=2.5% of the population
Early adaptors- risk taking pioneers or social marginals = approx 13.5%
Early majority- mainly those or somewhat higher social standing who are attracted to a
movement moving from fringe status to greater social porminance =approx 34%

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Late majority- religious moderates
The laggards-
Webers SECT Church dynamic
Sects and churches are oriented toward a) distinctive types of religious intensity or experience
and B) competing organizational and membership standards
Against an existing religious tradition, new tradition, new religious movements begin by
recruiting from those seeking a higher truth, a more intense experience they are unfulfilled,
uninspired by tradition, and so are willing to risk joining or exploring something new
SECT- a voluntary association of those who have been called, chosen, enlightened , inspired ,
who are thus qualified commonly follow exacting purity requirements, engage in intensive
spirituality activity, zealous commitment to the faith true believers- = virtuoso or heroic
standards of religiosity for the members= a visible community of saints , hoi, the holy ones, the
chosen
Church- an organization where charismatic sancity is objectified not in the individual members,
but in the institution itself, in the priestly order, the sacrements and the rituals, the sacred texts
,,,a church is an entriprise in salvation, disoensing holiness to its members on conditions of
loyality = mass religiousity the church is a school for sinners lower standard of purity ,
knowledge, so long as members remain loyal to the church and its leadership, which extends
forgiveness and absolution, drawing upon the treasury of grace and holiness held by the church =
salvation democratizied
The historical-sociological tension:
New religious movements typically begin with sectarian mode of heroic or virtuoso riligiousty
and zeal, but to become a stable social precense, they must win over those less disposed to such
intense religiousty ,,,they must compromise on the high principles and virtuosos standards to
permit a mass or popular following
Successful sects thus move in the direction of becoming churches
---- this sets the stage for a new upsurge of sect formation
- the successful then become churches
Weber sees a cyclical pattern, passing from tradition to a charismatic upsurge of rigor,
enthusiasim, zeal which leads to a new tradition , opening space for a new charisma
Christianity:
1) Provides a illustration of webers theortical framework
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