Textbook Notes (369,133)
Canada (162,403)
Sociology (1,062)
SOCA02H3 (310)


14 Pages

Course Code
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Religion RELIGION AND SOCIETY Shiva is the ritual week of mourning following the death of a Jew. Religion is the common human response to the fact that we all stand at the edge of an abyss. It helps us cope with the terrifying fact that we must die. If offers us immortality, the promise of better times to come, and the security of benevolent spirits who look over us. It provides the meaning and purpose in a world that might otherwise seem cruel and senseless. The motivation for religion may be psychological. 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. Although spirituality is evidently strong, participation in formal religious observance is less frequent than in the past. The scope of religious authority has also declined in Canada and many other parts of the world. Religion governs fewer aspects of life than it used to. Canadians expect that religion can help them deal with only a restricted range of spiritual issues. The level of participation in religious services and practices is on the rise. Relatively intense, demanding fundamentalist and conservative religious traditions are gaining strength as more liberal traditions become less appealing. THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION Durkheim, Functionalism, and the Problem of Order Hockey is Canadas national religion because it draws a huge audience. It also generates a sense of what Durkheim would have called collective effervescence. www.notesolution.com o Excites us by making us feel part of something larger than we are. Durkheim said that when people live together, they come to share common sentiments and values. These common sentiments and values form a collective conscience that is larger than any individuals. The profane refers to the secular, everyday world. The sacred refers to the religious, transcendent world. Totems are objects that symbolize the sacred. Rituals in Durkheims usage are public practices designed to connect people to the sacred. Durkheims theory of suicide predicts a lower suicide rate when social solidarity increases and a higher suicide rate when social solidarity decreases. The Stanley Cup playoffs may fairly be regarded as a sacred event in Durkheims terms. Marx, Conflict, and Religion as a Prop for Inequality Durkheims theory of religion is a functionalist account that offers useful insights into the role of religion in society. Conflict theorists have lodged two main criticisms against it: o Itoveremphasizes religions role in maintaining social cohesion. Religion often incites social conflict. o When religion does increase social cohesion, it often reinforces social inequality. Durkheim ignored that issue, too. It was Marx who first stressed how religion often tranquilizes the underprivileged into accepting their lot in life. According to Marx, religion diminishes class conflict; he called religion the opium of the people. In medieval and early modern Europe, Christianity promoted the view that the Almighty ordains social inequality. In Russia and other Slavic languages, the words for rich (bogati) and God (bog) have www.notesolution.com
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