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Religion Notes

by: Asif Khan

Religion Notes SOC 201S

Asif Khan

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About this Document

Notes from Professor Lopez's lecture on religion.
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Asif Khan on Sunday November 15, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 201S at Old Dominion University taught by JONATHAN W LOPEZ in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see AN INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY in Sociology at Old Dominion University.


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Date Created: 11/15/15
Religion Notes Defining Religion gt What Religion Is 0 ReligionA social institution focused on designating that which is sacred from that Which is profane With a highlight on the sacred I Commonly involves some conception of a supernatural realm I SacredElements beyond everyday life that inspire respect awe and even fear I ProfaneOrdinary and commonplace elements of life as distinguished from the sacred gt What Religions Do 0 From a functionalist perspective a religion is something that unifies believers into a community through shared practices and a common set of beliefs relative to sacred things I Emphasis on unifying dimension I Any social practices that strongly unite us such as being a sports fan can function like religion for the individual and for society Components of Religion gt What Religions Do 0 Inspired by Durkheim functionalists study religions as unified systems of beliefs and practices involving sacred things in the context of community I The nature of the beliefs and practices matters less than that they are shared I Believers attitudes toward sacred objects more important than what the objects are I Under this approach unification of believers into shared community is the most important aspect of religion I In this view religion need not fit conventional picture of a religion gt Religious BeliefsStatements to which members of a particular religion adhere o FundamentalismRigid adherence to core religious doctrines often accompanied by literal application of scripture I Fundamentalism found worldwide among most major religious groups gt Religious RitualsPractices required or expected of members of a faith gt Religious ExperienceFeeling or perception of being in direct contact with ultimate reality or of being overcome with religious emotion gt Community 0 EcclesiaReligious organization claiming to include most or all of the members of a society is recognized as the national or official religion 0 DenominationLarge organized religion not officially linked to the state or govt o SectRelatively small religious group that has broken away from some other religious organization to renew what it considers the original vision of the faith I Sects are at odds with society and do not seek to become established national religions I Established SectReligious group that is the outgrowth of a sect yet remains isolated from society gt Cults or New Religious Movements 0 New Religious Movement NRM or CultSmall alternative faith community that represents either a new religion or a major innovation in an existing faith I Similar to sects I Tend to be small and often Viewed as less respectable than more established faiths I May be unrelated to existing faiths gt Ecclesiae denominations sects and new religious movements have different relationships to society 0 Best Viewed as types along continuum World Religions gt Early sociologists predicted that modern societies would experience widespread secularization o SecularizationReligion s diminishing in uence in the public sphere especially in politics and the economy I Increase in the US of nones or agnosticatheists many of whom are young adults I However about 85 of world s population adheres to some religion gt Major religions exert significant in uence collectively and individually 0 Christianity 0 Islam 0 Hinduism o Buddhism 0 Judaism Sociological Perspectives on Religion gt Early sociologists sought to provide a science of society that would tap the ways of knowing built into the scientific method and apply them to society 0 Recognized significant role religion played in maintaining social order 0 Needed to understand how it had accomplished this gt Integration 0 Durkheim viewed religion as an integrative force in human society I Gives meaning and purpose to people s lives I Serves to bind people together in times of crisis and confusion I Strengthens feelings of social integration within specific faiths and denominations 0 Can lead to con ict between members of different religions gt Social Change 0 Weber sought to understand how religion might also contribute to social change 0 The Weberian Thesis I Protestant EthicWeber s term for disciplined commitment to worldly labor driven by a desire to bring glory to God shared by followers of Martin Luther and John Calvin I Religion contributed through the Protestant Reformation to the rise of capitalism o Liberation TheologyUse of a church in political efforts to eliminate poverty discrimination and other forms of injustice from a secular society I Activist Roman Catholics in Latin America are a prominent example I Adherents contend that organized religion has a moral responsibility to take strong public stand against oppression of the poor racial and ethnic minorities and women gt Social Control 0 Marx on Religion I Described religion as an opiate that was particularly harmful to oppressed peoples I Religion drugged masses into submission by offering a consolation for their harsh lives on earth I Religion plays an important role in propping up the existing social structure 0 Gender and Religion I Women have played fundamental role in religious socialization but generally take subordinate role in religious leadership I Most religions are patriarchal and reinforce men s dominance in secular and spiritual matters I Women compose approximately 20 of US clergy but account for 34 of theology students


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