SOC101Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Negative Relationship, Bryan R. Wilson, Anomie

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Published on 21 Jun 2012
Chapter 7- Religion
Religion’s influence is not declining as thought in 1960s
Terrorist attacks, conflicts, etc reminds us that religion is alive, potentially a source of
division and something that people seek solace, meaning and hope
Science- what is perceivable; religion- non-perceivable
Sociology doesn’t study whether religion is true, but that they are believed to be true
and the consequences of that on individual and social life
Karl Marx
oReligion is human creation
oCompensates people who are economically deprived
oInclination of people to reinterpret rather than change their oppressive
oReligion – explosive tensions of society
oSociety and religion- intertwined
oAttacks on society – attacks on religion
oReligion: inadequate slave for sick society (binds people)
oAtheist and anticlerical
oScientific understanding of society has potential to raise quality of social life to
utopian heights
oCollective conscience: awareness of group being more than sum of individual
members, and believing what is experienced is the supernatural
oWhen religion experience an alleged supernatural reality, objects become
(sacred: deemed to warrant profound respect or profane: everything else)
oCreates and reinforces social solidarity
oCollective life is source and product of religion
oReligion: a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things
which unite into one single moral community called a Church)
oGroups need to reaffirm collective sentiments, therefore come together as
oDecline of traditional Christianity, but social sources that give rise to religion
will remain
o“gap filling” – religion explanation, science is incomplete
oCapitalism, therefore debated with Marx
oreligion has supernatural component and is largely oriented toward this world
oTherefore religion ideas and behavior should frequently be evident in everyday
oProtestant ethic (capitalistic) can be traced back to influence of Protestant
oPlacing oneself in roles of those being studied, then can understand motives of
actor and see how ones ideas influence behavior
oComparative study of religion
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oStudy of diverse societies lets us see culture’s influence on religion
oMonotheism: belief of one god – relates to goals of political unification
oReligious organization
oRoutinization- people following transforms into a permanent congregation
Charles Glock and Rodney Stark (1965)- humans develop systems of meaning to
interpret the world -> religions: relgious perspectives
Others with science based system or political “isms” (communism) do not have
supernatural referent -> humanistic perspectives: human centered
Religion- discovering life’s meaning, humanistic- making life meaningful
Personal religiosity: level of religious commitment characterizing an individual
3 basic indicators: identification, membership, attendance
Stark and Glock (1968)- dimensions of religiosity: belif, practice, experience and
knowledge components of commitment of religion
Project Canada national surveys (1975)- religiosity in country- Canadians are not
strongly committed to traditional expressions of religion
Collective religiosity: religious commitment as manifested in and through religious
groups; key to creation and sustenance of personal religiosity
Ideas we hold are from interaction with people, therefore to retain ideas we must
continue to be endorsed – therefore argues involvement in religious groups have to
2 main kinds of organizations (based on Christian settings)
oDominant groups (roman catholic church)
oBreak away groups (protestant groups that broke away from roman catholic
Church- sect typology: framework originating with Weber, in which religious
organizations are studied in terms of ideal-type, church, and sect characteristics
Sect: a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith
Distinguished between church and sect based on theology and relationship to society
Sects initially spin off from established church, then evolves into church itself
Analyzing religious groups by organizational approaches used in studying social
Basic features: 1) nature and sources of members 2) formal and informal goals 3)
norms and roles established to accomplish purposes 4) sanctions used to ensure that
norms are followed and roles are played 5) success that groups experience in pursuing
their goals
Membership of religious groups are involved in following parents’ footsteps (95%)
Declined participation because people who move don’t become involved with
congregation after arriving in their new settings
Groups compete for members- one area is leadership
Also compete in physical resources and range of services (megachurches with worship
and educational opportunities- nicely decorated environments)
Try to attract to people but also maintain integrity- favor the least religious
Conscious goals often have conflicts with unconscious goals
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Document Summary

Ideas we hold are from interaction with people, therefore to retain ideas we must continue to be endorsed therefore argues involvement in religious groups have to exist. Islam, hindu, sikh, buddhist growth in recent years due to immigration from asian regions: exaggeration that canada is highly diversified religious mosaic, gallup poll findings show that there has been a considerable decline in church. 1/5 people attend services, 30% belong to churches attendance since 1940s in canada: reversal pattern of youth attendance- suggests maybe renaissance of religion in canada. Individual and societal factors play important role in people to embrace religion and religious groups in additions to organizational activity. Weber- religion- product of inner compulsion to understand world as meaningful cosmos and take up a position toward it . 80% of people reflect on big questions of life. Reflection gives religion to respond, but less than 1/3 canadians who raise questions are religiously committed.

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