SOC 1100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Islamic Fundamentalism, Four Noble Truths, Tiber

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10 Aug 2016
Week #5 – February 3rd, 2015
Chapter 16: Religion – Page #409-430:
The structure of society and a person’s place in it influence his or her religious beliefs and
Under some circumstances, religion creates societal cohesion, while under other
circumstances it promotes social conflict and social change. When religion creates societal
cohesion, it also reinforces social inequality
Religion governs fewer aspects of most people’s lives today than in the past. However, a
religious revival has taken place in various parts of the world in recent decades, and many
people still adhere strongly to religious beliefs and practices
Diverse possibilities for religious participation compete in modern societies. For example,
although most people are becoming more secularized, many people are becoming more
History suggests that major world religious were movements of moral and social
improvement that arose in times of great diversity and were led by charismatic figures. As
they consolidated, they became more conservative
People are more religious when they are brought up in a religious family, reside in regions
where religion is highly authoritative, and are very young or very old
Religion and Society:
Religion is the common human response that we all stand on the edge of abyss
It helps us cope with the terrifying fact that we must die
It offers us immortality, the promise of better times to come, and the security of benevolent
spirits who look over us
It provides meaning and purpose in a world that might otherwise seem cruel and senseless
The motivation for religion may be psychological, but the content and intensity of our religious
beliefs, and the form and frequency of our religious practices, are influenced by the structure
of society and our place in it
Theoretical Approaches to the Sociology of Religion:
Durkheim’s Functionalist Approach:
When people live together, they come to share common sentiments and values
Collective conscience comprises the common sentiments and values that people share as
a result of living together
Profane refers to the secular, everyday world
Sacred refers to the religious, transcendent world
Totems are objects that symbolize the sacred
Rituals are public practices designed to connect people to the sacred
Religion, Feminist Theory, and Conflict Theory:
Religion and Social Inequality
The impulse to find a better world is often encouraged by adversity in this one
New religions were started from a promoted message of equality and freedom
The Routinization of Charisma is Weber’s term for the transformation of divine
enlightenment into a permanent feature of everyday life
It involves turning religious inspiration into a stable social institution with defined role, such
as interpreters of the divine message, teachers, dues-paying laypeople, and so fourth
The routinization of charisma typically makes religion less responsive to the needs of
ordinary people, and it often supports social inequalities and injustices
Religion and the Subordination of Women
Marx first stressed how religion often tranquilizes the underprivileged into accepting their lot
in life called religion “the opium of the people”
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Week #5 – February 3rd, 2015
The major world religions have traditionally placed women in a subordinate position,
reinforcing patriarchy
The 5 World Religions
Judaism originated
about 4000 years ago
in what is now Iraq,
when Abraham first
asserted the existence
of monotheism. About
800 years later, Moses
led the Jews out of
Egyptian bondage.
The emancipation of
the Jews from slavery
was a defining
movement in the
history of Judaism.
The central teachings on
belief in one G-d and on
the idea that G-d
sanctions freedom and
equality. The 613 divine
mentioned in the five
books of the Torah form
the core of orthodox
Jewish practice. The
mitzvoth include
prescriptions for justice,
righteousness and
observance: rest and pray
on the Sabbath, honour
the hold and the wise, do
not wrong a stranger in
buying or selling, do not
seek revenge or hold a
grudge, etc. The Torah
forms part of the old
In 17th-century Eastern
Europe, ecstatic Chasidic
sects broke away from the
bookish Judaism of the
time. In 19th-century
Germany, the Reform
movement allowed prayer
in German, the integration
of woman worship, etc.
Orthodox Judaism was a
reaction against the
liberalizing tendencies of
Reform and involves a
return to traditional
observance. Conservative
Judaism crystallized in
Britain and the U.S. in the
19th-century to reconcile
what its practitioners
regarded as the positive
elements in Orthodoxy with
the dynamism of Reform.
Reconstructionism is a
liberal 20th-century
movement known for its
social activism and gender
Christianity originated
in about 35 CE in what
is now Israel. Jesus, a
poor Jew, criticized the
Judaism of his time for
its external conformity
to tradition and ritual at
the expense of
developing a true
relationship to G-d as
demanded by the
Belief in G-d and love
him; love your neighbour
these are the two main
lessons of Jesus. These
teachings were novel
because they demanded
that people match
outward performance with
inner conviction. It was
not enough not to murder.
Once could not even hate.
Nor was it enough not to
commit adultery. One
could not even lust after a
neighbour’s wife. These
teachings made Jesus
anti-authoritarian and
even evolutionary.
Admonishing people to
love their neighbours
impressed upon them the
need to emancipate
slaves and women.
Christians retained the
Jewish bible as the Old
In 312 CE, the Roman
Emperor converted to
Christianity and turned
Christianity into a state
religion, after which the
church became the
dominant institution in
Europe. In the 16th-century,
Martin Luther, a German
Priest, challenged the
Christian establishment by
seeking to establish a more
personal relationship
between the faithful and
G-d. His ideas quickly
captured the imagination of
half of Europe and led to
the split of Christianity into
Catholicism and
Protestantism. In the
Middle Ages, Christianity
had split into Western and
Eastern halves, the former
centered in Rome, the
latter in Constantinople
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