Sociology of Religion
Moral regulation or false consciousness?
- Sociologists believe in religion but not God, because they look at things scientifically.
- Religion is one of the largest institutions for socialising
- Human impulse to create rituals & processes of belief
- Religions create norms and prevent anomie
- On the other hand, religion makes us think everything’s in God’s plan
Religion and Modernisation
- “A community can only exist over time if some form of religion establishes what is sacred”
o This butts against the theory the societies that are deeply tied to religion are less
- But secularisation (a society that separates church & state) is precondition for modernisation
o The church becomes private and the state becomes a public entity with no religious ties
o Secularisation is argued to be a key component of modernising a society
o Does modernisation exist apart from religion or can they coexist?
Long life expectancy
Slowed population growth
Equality of opportunity
Secularisation: Privatisation of Evil
- Separation of church and state
- Social ordering through scientific method
o Classification, bureaucracies, diagnosis
o Power was no longer centrally located
o Secularism was seen as freeing people from the restraint of religion (Crusades, etc.)
Secularism is seen as the ideal human form while religion is seen as primitive
- Pursuit of the profane (material, status)
o “Profane” referring to the material world – objects that have no spiritual value (unlike
the crucifix which is sacred) - Pluralism and diversity: individual rights superior to obligation of community
Critics of secularism
- Religiosity has change, not declined
- Increasing religiosity as a response to modernisation
o Religious wars: reclaiming identity through demonization of the “other”
Over the last few decades, the majority of wars have been about religion
o We can’t erase religion and expect people to be alright with that.
Church & state: an uneasy divide
- Western societies are secular
o Faith in private sphere (home)
o Public schools do not promote any one religion (Christmas holidays winter break)
- Religion as traditional and symbolic power
- If “God” does not govern the public spheres of society – what moral framework determines out
o You cannot remove the sacred from society – things break
o Sociologists believe in the importance of ritual and faith, but not God.
o What is rational/scientific is amoral – that’s the point of science.
Christianity Protection of religious freedom Liberty of Individual
- How far should the state be allowed to infringed on your rights?
o When does freedom of speech become hate speech?
Rick Santorum and the return of social conservatism
- Rick Santorum
o Evangelic part of super pack
o Strong leader in the republican nomination
- What does this mean for Canada?
o Religion is not seen as important in our political leaders, as opposed to the US
o The US’s emphasis on religious affiliation brings about a non-secular movement
The US has long been seen as the most secular country
A compelling message
- Moral (dis)order as material world collapses
o Economic recession, terrorist attacks Santorum says it’s about the moral disorder that’s taken