Religion is a social institution
involving beliefs and practices based
upon a conception of the sacred.
The sacred is that which is defined as
extraordinary, inspiring a sense of
awe, reverence and even fear. In
distinction, the profane consists of
ordinary elements of everyday life.
3. Religions involve ritual, formal
Sociology can investigate the social
consequences of religious activity,
but can never assess the validity of
any religious doctrine because
religion involves faith, belief
anchored in conviction rather than
4. Theoretical Analyses Structural-
Durkheim understood religion as the
symbolic celebration of the power of
society over the individual. Totems
are objects in the natural world
collectively defined as sacred.
5. Durkheim noted three major social
functions of religion:
a. Social cohesion.
b. Social control.
c. Providing meaning and purpose.
d. Criticism- downplays the
dysfunctions of religion.
6. Social Conflict
Marx noted that religion tends to
legitimize inequality and the status
quo. It also endorses patriarchy.
Does God Favor Males?
7. Religion and Social Change
Max Weber’s Protestant ethic thesis is
an important example of how religion
can promote social change, in this
instance the growth of capitalism.
Liberation theology is a fusion of
Christian principles with political
activism, often Marxist in character. It
has been important in much of Latin
8. Types of Religious Organization
A church is a type of religious
organization well integrated into the
larger society. There are two types of
churches.An ecclesia is a church that is
formally allied with the state.A
denomination is a church, independent
of the state, in societies that accept
9. A sect is a type of religious organization that
stands apart from the larger society.
• They display the following characteristics:
• They are less formal, more emotional, less
• Their leaders display charisma.
• They rely on active proselytization, recruiting
many members through a process of
• They usually attract lower-class members
10. A cult is a religious organization that is substantially
outside the cultural traditions of a society.
World Religions Christianity is the world’s most
widespread religion—mono theisticIslam. Moslem
beliefs center around the “five pillars of Islam.”
Judaism is the smallest of the world religions. It
centers around the concept of the covenant
Hinduism is the oldest of the world’s great religions
and is located principally in India. Buddhism also
arose in India Confucianism was the state religion of
11. Secularization is the historical decline in
importance of the supernatural and the
Civil religion is a quasi-religious loyalty
binding individuals in a basically secular
society. There has been a marked revival of
fundamentalist-a conservative religious
doctrine that opposes intellectualism and
worldly accommodation in favor of restoring
traditional, other-worldly spirituality.
12. Fundamentalism is distinctive in the following
a. interpret the scripture literally.
b. reject religious pluralism.
c. pursue the personal experience of
d. opposes “secular humanism.”
e. endorse conservative political