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RELI 2736 (12)
Midterm

Midterm Notes.pdf

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Department
Religion
Course
RELI 2736
Professor
Holly Thomas
Semester
Summer

Description
RELI Midterm Notes Class One: July 6th Common Notions of What Religion is ▯ Our brainstorm from class: what is religion, and where do we find it today? Class Two: July 8th Exploring characteristics of Religion, and how social scientists study it ▯ World religions/populations ▯ ▯ US is most religious western country ▯ ▯ Most populated religions: Christianity; Islam is fastest growing ▯ ▯ Non-Religion also growing ▯ Kurtz (2007) ▯ ▯ Religion and Modernization ▯ ▯ ▯ Defines norms, values and meaning ▯ ▯ ▯ Answer fundamental questions about truth ▯ ▯ ▯ Forge cultural tools for both cooperations and conflict ▯ ▯ ▯ Emergence of scientific reasoning, developments in comm., trans. ▯ ▯ ▯ Coexistence and exposure to multiple faiths ▯ ▯ ▯ Religion impacts these developments as well ▯ ▯ Three Common Sociological Metaphors ▯ ▯ ▯ The Sacred Canopy: Religion as a worldview constructed to answer ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ the profound questions of human life. Can cover small ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ subgroups or entire national cultures. Doesnʼt work as well in ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ areas of plurality. ▯ ▯ ▯ The Religious Marketplace: increased social, cultural and religious ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ diversity in global village. Based on marketing of religions: ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ markets determine choice. Characteristic of plural societies. ▯ ▯ ▯ Elective Affinities: correlations between particular belief systems ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ and the cultural and economic values of particular social ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ groups. Bridges the more structural and more agency based ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ approaches to the understanding of religion. ▯ ▯ Four other Approaches: subjective, structural, dramaturgical, and ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ institutional ▯ Warms, Garber, and McGee (2009) ▯ ▯ What is religion? ▯ ▯ ▯ A human universal, extremely difficult to define in a comprehensive ▯ ▯ ▯ way, is a cultural/social/familial institution, and involves a divide ▯ ▯ ▯ between the natural and the supernatural. ▯ ▯ 7 Characteristics of religion +1 extra 1. Stories: common themes, not always verifiable, sacred narratives 2. Existence of non-empirical beings/powers/states/place/qualities 3. Use of Symbols and symbolism 4. Inclusion of ritual 5. Specialized roles 6. Use of Altered states of Consciousness 7. Changes over time (8) Religion is a social institution RELI Midterm Notes Class Three: July 13th Early Sociological Approaches to the Study of Religion (Durkheim) ▯ Durkheim basics ▯ ▯ Structural Functionalism: society acts as a whole, with each part having ▯ ▯ own function ▯ ▯ Social Facts: Social structures, cultural norms, and social values that are ▯ ▯ external to the individual, influence the individual ▯ Durkheims issue with previous definitions of religion ▯ Durkheimʼs definition of religion ▯ ▯ The sacred and the profane ▯ ▯ ▯ Not simply a good/evil or holy/secular distinction; evoke collective g n i l e e▯ ▯ ▯ f ▯ ▯ Moral community ▯ ▯ ▯ the Church (not necessarily a Church, just a religious group) ▯ ▯ ▯ Church = group of people who share the same religious beliefs ▯ ▯ ▯ about what is sacred and profane ▯ ▯ ▯ Moral community ▯ ▯ Collective effervescence ▯ ▯ ▯ The rare occasions on which the entire tribe gathers together ▯ ▯ ▯ becomes sacred, and the high energy level associated with ▯ ▯ ▯ these events gets directed onto physical objects or people ▯ ▯ ▯ which then become sacred ▯ Critiques of Durkheim ▯ ▯ Eurocentrism ▯ ▯ Creation and reproduction of dualisms ▯ ▯ Lack of elaboration concerning the concept of ʻcollective effervescenceʼ ▯ Durkheim, Religion, and Second Life ▯ ▯ DEBATE about whether Durkheim would consider online groups to be ▯ ▯ religious
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