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University of Toronto St. George

SOC103 November 23, 2010 Religion William James (1902) Religion - a common human response to the fact that we will die, offers us immortality, better times, security of spirits that look over us. Provides meaning and purpose in a sometimes cruel world Karl Marx Religion is opium of the people Abolition of religion as illusoryy happiness of people is required for their real happiness Underscores Marxs connection of religion and economy People in hard times (especially poor ones) to draw themselves from their conditions If you live under promise of afterlife then your oppression in current life might lead to passivity so you dont fight for better conditions If you believe youll have a better life later why would you bother trying to make current life better? People would become passive and not care about current issues Religion and Sociology Under what circumstances is religion a source of social stability? community - protects vs suicide social change - becoming more or less religious Western World Belief God controls and influences current life Often attribute luck and good will to God Divine Control Theory God has influence on outcome of life Life goes according to Gods will or Gods control Influences social structures usually politics Especially in American politics, Gods name is still often quoted Often assigned gender and human attributes People feel intimate bond with divine - similar to friends and family God is conscious being, all knowing, has explicit expectations for all of us This idea that God has full control over our affairs, weather, sports games have deep theological roots across all religions
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