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Chapter 11-Religion Nov 5 2008

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Sheldon Ungar

Reading Notes 11-05-08 Chapter 11: Religion Sociology and Religion O Science and religion are compatible; science limits itself to what is perceivable, religion maintains that reality includes the no perceivable O Conflict arises between the two when one oversteps the boundary of the other O Emile Durkheim O Religion cannot override science is basic evolutionary claims or dismissing sound medical diagnoses Theoretical Traditions Marx and Conflict O Religion constitutes the latter response, resulting in ppl who are economically and politically deprived redefining reality, rather than changing their oppressive conditions O Religion soothes the disadvantaged like a narcotic- functioning as the opium of the ppl, in the process blinding them to the inequalities at hand and bottling up their creative energies O Those who hold power encourage religious belief among the masses as a subtle tool in the process of exploiting and subjugating them O Aligned with interests in of the dominant few, religion serves to hold in check the potentially explosive tensions of a society Durkheim and Collectivity O Religions origin is social O People who live in a community come to share common sentiments, and as a result collective conscience is formed O Collective Conscience: is Durkheims term that refers to the awareness of the group being more than the sum of its individual members and the belief that what is being expected is the supernatural O When they gather together they have a feeling a being in the presence of something of something beyond themselves that is experienced by each member, yet is greater than the sum of their individual conscience O Once ppl experience such an alleged supernatural reality, they proceed to designate some related objects as sacred and others as profane O Sacred & Profane: are the two categories by which Durkheim claimed all things are classified; the sacred represents those things that are deemed to warrant profound respect, and the profane encompasses essentially everything else O Religious beliefs articulate the nature of the sacred and its symbols, and religious rites provide guidelines as to how people should act in the presence of the sacred O Because all groups feel the need to uphold and reaffirm their collective sentiments, ppl come together as what he refers to as a church O The idea of religion is inseparable from that of the church, since it is an eminently collective thing O Even when religion seems to be entirely a matter of individual conscience, it still is nourished by social sources O Religion creates and reinforces social solidarity Weber and Ideas O In addition to having a supernatural component, religion is largely oriented toward this world O As a result religion, religious ideas, and behaviour should frequently be evident in everyday conduct O Ideas, regardless of whether they are objectively true or false, represent a persons definition
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