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SOC 250Y1Y LEC 1.doc

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Joseph Bryant

SOC 250Y1Y: Prof. Bryant September 12. 2012 Lecture 1 Sociology of Religion - views the individual (personalities) as a social product of society, the group, a collective a. the social factors or vases for religious beliefs, actions, experiences, communities, etc. b. the relevance or significance of religion in social life and history - but the sociological study of religion confronts unique interpretive challenges: - historical claims, beliefs of a higher reality - supernatural /transcendence - ex. Mana, Chi, Karma, Dao - the idea of 2 realities, our world is dependent on the higher mysterious one ONTOLOGY - concerned with the nature of "being", reality or existence, casually and constitutively ("what the world is and how it works") - Elementary motif to inquiry EPISTEMOLOGY - concerned with the nature of knowledge, how we know things - knower vs. known - natural science (exterior) vs. social science (within the subject frame) - will analysis viewing from the outside, observing the subject mathematically or scientifically Religion is based on a distinct ontology the claim that there are supernatural beings or powers or a super sensible reality, an Absolute, Divine, or Transcendent realm that is ultimately prary and casually responsible for both the Natural world Social Science has no direct or objective "access" to that purported transcendent reality; it cannot be visited for purposes of measurement or examination (unlike the realities of politics, art, war, etc.) - the social sciences observe/study the subject mostly through interviews and seeing what other within society claim - methological atheism/agnosticism (Peter Burger) - believe that there is no higher realm/ there is no way to confirm this Religion is based on and creates an epistomological dualism or split: religious believers claim the reality of the Divine or Trascendent; but social scientists and historians have no way of assessing or testing the legitimacy or accuracy of that belief. That is to say, for science, the Divine or supernatural is not empiracally verifiable or falsifiable. Epistemologically, faith statement - i.e. the claims of believers to spiritual or divine truths - are not fundamentally factual or empirical. Rather, they are essentially declarative ("God is love" "Nirvana is ultimate bliss" "Paradise will be your reward" "Karma determines rebirth" "God, the merciful and compassionate") performative ("I have been saved by the Lord" "Om" "There is no God but God, and Muhammed is His messenger" "I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit") emotive ( expressing or soliciting feelings of awe, reverence, joy, dependence) Religious language or discourse is akin to poetry than to factual claims. Accordingly, the evidence or proofs for faith statements are "intern
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