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SOC 250Y1 Lecture 1.docx

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Joseph Bryant

SOC 250Y1 Lecture 1  Sociologies of politics, art, war, science, literature, etc. and RELIGION o Do not compartmentalise  Holistic o From a point of view to understand, none are superior o The social sciences cannot function without history  There are things rooted in the past that still activate the present  To fully understand the present we need to understand the past  The sociological study of religion attempts to identify: o The social factors or bases for religious beliefs, actions, experience, communities, etc. o The relevance or significance of religion social life and history  But the sociological study of religion confronts unique interpretive challenges  ONTOLOGY: concerned with the nature of “being,” reality or existence, causally and constitutively (what the world is and how it works)  EPISTEMOLOGY: concerned with the nature of knowledge, how we know things  Religion is based on a distinct ontology o The claim that there are supernatural beings or powers, or a super-sensible reality  An Absolute, Divine, or Transcendent realm that is ultimately primary and causally responsible for both the Natural world and the Social world  Social science has no direct or objective “access” to that purported Transcendent reality; it cannot be visited for purposes of measurement or examination o Unlike the realities of politics, art, war, etc.  Modernity has been the big change to religion o Past people have turned religion for answers on everything o Modernity: we have created new institutions separating us from religion o Many institutions have a base in religion  Many were created by religious institutions  There are no societies since the emergence of complex societies which have not practiced some sort of religious traditions o Modernity again introduces a change  Introduced a significant growth in non believers or questioners  The degree of disbelief being large is a new phenomenon  Religion is based on and creates an epistemological dualism or split o Religious believers claim the reality of the Divine or Transcendent  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 empirically verifiable…or falsifiable  Epistemologically, faith statements (the claims of believers to spiritual or divine truths) are not fundamentally factual or empirical o Not empirical or factual  Most faith based language is similar o 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 o Performative  I have been saved by
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