14 Nov 2011

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  1. Religion
  2. Religion O Anchor of identity O Gives meaning to life O Provides personal gratification O Release from frustrations and anxieties
  3. Sociology & Religion O NOT to criticize O Goal is to study how religion is organized O How it affects the members of a given society
  4. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life O Two questions O What is religion? O What are the functions of religion for society? O Study of indigenous Australians
  5. Religion is… O “A unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred beings, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden – beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them”
  6. Cultural Component O System of beliefs O Beliefs – states of opinions O Practices – rights, modes of action O Beliefs and practices exist within a social context O Consistent with the values and norms of the culture
  7. Social Organizational Component O Community or Church O Collective of persons who share similar beliefs and practices
  8. Sacred Things O Profane O Realm of the every day world O Sacred O Objects or ideas that are treated with reverence and awe O Existing only in relation to the profane O Anything can become sacred O Not a property of the object O Exists in the mind of the believer
  9. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life O Religion developed out of group experience O Performing rituals results in developing a sense of awe O Reinforces the moral norms of society
  10. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life O Anomie O When a society is no longer in awe of moral norms O Normlessness
  11. Religion has… O A set of beliefs O Things considered sacred O A community of believers O A set of rituals, ceremonies or behaviors O A form of organization
  12. Types of Religion O Animism O Belief that spirits in habit virtually everything in nature O Spirits can be influence by specific rituals
  13. Types of Religion O Totemism O Worship of plants, animals or other natural objects as gods and ancestors O Durkheim O Totems were expressions of a society’s conceptions about itself O True of all societies
  14. Types of Religion O Shamanism O Belief that certain individuals have special skill or knowledge in influencing the spirits that affect processes and events in their environment
  15. Types of Religion O Polytheism O Belief in and worship of more than one god O Monotheism O Belief in and worship of one god
  16. Troeltsch’s Categories of Religion O Mysticism O Belief that spiritual or divine truths come to us through intuition and meditation, not through the use of reason or the ordinary range of human experience and senses
  17. Troeltsch’s Categories of Religion O Church O An institutionalized organization of people who share common religious beliefs
  18. Troeltsch’s Categories of Religion O Three kinds of Churches O Ecclesia – an official state religion that includes all or most members of a society O Denominations – not officially linked to the state O Sects – small groups that have broken away from a parent church and that call for a return to old ways O Follow rigid doctrines & fundamentalist teachings
  19. Troeltsch’s Categories of Religion O Cult O Directed by a charismatic leader O Call for a new, unique and frequently unusual lifestyle
  20. Conflict Theory O Religion is a tool of the elite to keep the lower classes in check O Counsels the masses to accept their positions and be humble O “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
  21. Marx on Religion O Camera obscura O “inverted world consciousness” O “Man makes religion; religion does not make man.”
  22. Marx on Religion O “The religious world is but the reflex of the real world.” O “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of men is a demand for their real happiness. The call to abandon their illusions about their condition is a call to abandon a condition that requires illusions.”
  23. Durkheim O We typically think of religion as another way of thinking O True function of religion is to make us act and help us live our lives O “The worshiper who has communed with his god is not only a man who sees new truths that the unbeliever does not know; he is a man who is capable of more.”
  24. Durkheim O All societies have religion O We perceive society as something greater than ourselves and give it supernatural existence O More complex society, more complex religion
  25. Durkheim O “Nearly all great social institutions are born of religion.” O “In order for the chief aspects of collective life to have begun as merely diverse aspects of religious life, religious life clearly must have been the pre-eminent form and abbreviated expression of the whole of collective life. If religion generated everything that is essential in society, this is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.”
  26. Durkheim O Religion is an expression of social cohesion O “The collective ideal that religion expresses, then, Is not due to some innate power of the individual, but rather to the school of collective life that the individual has learned to idealize.” O “A society can neither create nor recreate itself without at the same time creating the ideal.”
  27. Functionalism O Religion is a requirement for group life O Manifest and latent functions and dysfunctions O Manifest functions – solidarity, control, answers, ceremonies/ritu als, emotional support O Latent functions – mate selection, psychic reward for good deeds O Dysfunctions – exclusion, division, status quo
  28. Robert Bellah O Civil religion
  29. Religion has… O A set of beliefs O Things considered sacred O A community of believers O A set of rituals, ceremonies or behaviors O A form of organization