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SOC103H1 Lecture Notes - Theistic Evolution, Richard Dawkins, Demythologization

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Alexandra Zylka
November 23rd, 2010
SOC103H1F – Religion
Lecture Notes
Guest Speaker - Brian Carwana (second half of lecture)
William James (1902)
oReligion is a common human response to the fact that we all
stand at the edge of an abyss. It helps us cope with the terrifying
fact that we must die. It offers us immortality, the promise of
better times to come, and the security of benevolent spirits who
look over us. It provides meaning and purpose in a world that
might otherwise seem cruel and senseless.
Karl Marx (1843)
oReligion is a sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a
heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is
the opium of people. The abolition of religion as the illusory
happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The
demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand
to give up a condition which needs illusions.
oMarx worried about the anaesthetic properties of religion
oSocieties in the west have become less religious over time.
oMany believe God controls things (based on belief, faith and
o“Thank God I survived” – accident
Divine Control
o“…divine control involves the extent that one believes that God
exercises a commanding authority over the course and direction
of his or her own life”
Schieman, Pudrovska, and Milkie 2005
o“The belief that there exists a superhuman, supernatural
intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe
and everything in it”
Richard Dawkins 2007
Orthodox Christians believe that God has a special connection with
every individual.
oIntimate bond with a divine power
Divine Control thesis – that God will intervene in our everyday lives
oSocioeconomic Status, and usually includes one’s yearly income
and the amount of education they attained
Deprivation-Compensation thesis
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