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Chapter 16

Chapter 16 Religion.docx

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Tina Fetner

Chapter 16Religion Chapter Study OutlineWhat Is ReligionReligion is a system of beliefs and practices around sacred things a set of shared stories that guide belief and actionReligious beliefs help shape social behavior by setting expectations and helping people distinguish between right and wrongThere are many religions throughout the world all of which fall into one of three categories Theismthe worship of a god or gods Ethicalismthe adherence to certain principles to lead a moral life and animism the belief that spirits roamthe natural worldSecularism is a general movement away from religiosity and spiritual belief and toward a rational scientific orientation Theory Marx Weber and DurkheimIn accordance with his belief that all social facts of life are grounded in conflict Karl Marx argued religion was used to keep workers from questioning their oppressedposition in everyday life by promising them riches in the afterlifeMax Weber argued that Protestantismwas a prerequisite for the development of capitalism because it introduced the idea that a person fulfilled his duty to God through hard work and asceticismMaking money was not frownedupon although spending that money on pleasure and personal enjoyment wasmile Durkheim argued that religions perform the social function of promoting solidarityby strengthening the collective conscience He also felt that sacred symbols become powerful because people collectively invest them with power through their shared beliefs Secularization or SpeculationPluralism is the presence of numerous distinct religious groups in one society Pluralism has been viewed as having a negative effect on religion overall because the plethora of choices weakens the credibility of any one church A more positive view of pluralism sees it as a way for diverse religions to engage with one another to build a common sense of communityAttendance at religious services is declining overall in the United States but the number of people who profess to have religious or spiritual beliefs is holding steady or rising
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