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SOC101 NOTES- Religion.docx

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Christian O.Caron

SOC101 NOTES- Religion Religion: means different things (no consensus on definitions). • Substantive definitions (focuses on what it is): belief in something; entails actions; involves emotions; a social phenomenon. • Functional definitions (focuses on what it does): provides meaning and purpose to life; promotes social cohesion and sense of belonging; provides social control. Marx (conflict): religion is a human creation and ‘opium of the people’; encourages people to accept existing social inequalities and unite people under ‘false consciousness’; those who hold power encourage religious belief in the process of exploiting and subjugating them; conflict between religious groups, within groups and with larger society occurs; people join religious groups that downplay the importance of life. Durkheim (collectivity): religion’s origin is social and result a collective conscience; religious beliefs articulate the nature of the sacred and its symbols (sacred/profane), and religious rites provide guidelines as to how people should act in the presence of sacred; religion creates and reinforces social solidarity; while science is incomplete and too slow, religion has a “gap-filling” role. Weber (ideas): unlike Marx and Durkheim, Weber had little interest if religion is true or false but argued that religion represent a person’s definition of reality; religion is oriented toward this world, as religious ideas and behaviour are evident in everyday conduct; need to interpret action by understanding the actor’s motives; god conceptions are strongly related to economic, social, and political conditions in which people live; growth of monotheism is related to goals of political unification; dealt with themes like relationship between religion and social class and nature of religious organizations; different groups in society vary in their inclination to be religious. Humanist perspective: human-centred and is concerned with making life meaningful; meaning that do not have supernatural referent and are used to interpret the world. Collective conscience (Durkheim): awareness that a group is more than the sum of its individual members and the belief that such awareness is experienced as the supernatural. Religiosity: refers to how important religion is to people. • Can be measured in: strength of belief, emotional attachment, knowledge, frequency of
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