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Lecture 12

Sociology 1020 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Calvinism, Opiate, Stamen

Course Code
SOC 1020
Kim Luton

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Sociology 1020-002 Set Two
Religion Lecture
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one anther.” – Swift
Religion: any culturally transmitted system of beliefs used to orient people and set meaning for the sacred. Religion is
often used to justify things. It fuels issues that set people apart from each other. It would often appear that religion is used
as an ideology to authorize violence in our world.
Kenneth Westhues Religion
…any set of beliefs, rituals, roles, and procedures by which people respond to the fact of limitation…the existence
of a beyond… We human beings cannot do everything we wish. An escape from death is beyond us. Certainty is not
within our power. A social arrangement in which all are absolutely equal is impossible. Death, uncertainty, and
inequality… inhere in the human condition…
We cannot do everything we wish to do.
Death, uncertainty and inequality are part of the human life.
Sought to understand the functional role of religion
Science saw religion as pure myth and bunk
Sacred objects and activities are those shared by the group but treated with awe and respect
Sacred objects represent, in part, the greater power
Religion forms a purpose: social control
The great power is deemed to be superhuman power
Collective Effervescence:
o Even when alone, we carry the group with us
o Power of the group becomes what we internalize, and come to call God
Why is it Persistent?
o Internalization: individual is socialized and carries the groups norms, etc. Develops a conscience
o Religions power over human minds is the power the group has over the minds of individuals
Durkheim’s Function of Religion
Represents society through rituals and myths
Sacred are those things shared by the group
o Also, the development of sacredness is bestowed on objects and acts when weyre given importance
in group worship
Profane or secular are done by the individual
Integration: church/temple services
Regulation: the profane and sacred: washing and prayer sessions. These are the things you should do
prescriptions and the things you shouldnt do proscriptions
Empower: reason to persist through adversity the promise of an afterlife often keeps people in order.
Represent: link experience and belief making sense of things
Religion born of a need to explain suffering and difficulty i.e.: the discrepancy between what would be ideal
and what is
Religion is an agent of change
Believes it is essential to look at how a specific religion functions in a specific society and how religious
ideas are related to the rise of capitalism in Western Europe
Capitalism and the Protestant Ethic
Argues that Aesthetic Protestantism (Calvinism) is an elective affinity
Elective Affinity
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