Define the basic elements of religion. Describe the functions of religion according to the functionalist perspective. Explain the conflict theory perspective on religion. Describe the basic types of religious organization. Differentiate among the major types of religion.
Religion A system of beliefs, practices, and philosophical values shared by a group of people; it defines the sacred, helps explain life, and offers salvation from the problems of human existence. Religion can assume many forms, however it is a universal human institution found in all societies
Émile Durkheim observed that all religions divide the universe into two mutually exclusive categories:Profane - All empirically observable things—that is, things that are knowable through common, everyday experiences.Sacred - Things that are awe inspiring and knowable only through extraordinary experiences. - The sacred has the ability to represent the shared values, sentiments and beliefs of the group
Rituals Patterns of behavior or practices that are related to the sacred.Prayers A means to address or communicate with supernatural forces or beingsEmotions Rituals and prayers can bring forth altered emotional states. In some religions this state is expected in others it is understood as possible.
Many religions have an organizational structure which includes: - A means of recruiting and training of specialists - Methods for conducting services/meetings - The fostering of interaction among members to increase group unity
All religions endorse a belief system which usually contains: - A supernatural order - Set of values for daily life (profane) - Healing power thru people, prayer, relics Religious Taboos – Most contain sacred prohibitions against looking at, touching or mentioning certain objects, acts or people.
Magic is used to manipulate and control matters that seem to be beyond human control and that may involve danger and uncertainty. It is an active attempt to coerce spirits or to control the supernatural It can serve some of the same functions as religion, but it is usually designed to assist the individual only
Sociologists study the relationship between religion and society. Functionalists identify four functions that religion can provide for society: - Meeting Individual Needs - Marx - Maintaining Social Cohesion - Durkheim - Providing a Worldview - Weber - Serve societies adaptive needs
INDIVIDUAL NEEDS Religion helps individuals reduce anxiety and promotes emotional integration. It helps them deal with the unexplainable SOCIAL COHESION All societies needs to re-affirm their value system. People also need to come together and communally proclaim acceptance of the society’s values This binds the people together and can cause or re-enforce internal acceptance of the societies norms
ESTABLISHING WORLDVIEWS Human’s have a need to understand the purpose of life. Religion creates and legitimizes a worldview, which then affects the social, political and economic spheres of society ADAPTATIONS TO SOCIETY Religion can help further adaptive strategies by enforcing them or enshrining them in the sacred
Marx believed that religion is one of the most alienating influences in human society, affecting all other social institutions Marx felt the dominant religion in society was the religion of the upper classes. It’s role is to justify the status quo, often by giving political authority sacred legitimacy It is used to maintain control of society and to dominate the lower classes
SUPERNATURALISM Supernaturalism postulates the existence of nonpersonalized supernatural forces that can, and often do, influence human events. - The concept of MANA is an example of belief in an impersonal supernatural power. - MANA is a diffuse, non personalized force that acts through anything that lives or moves -
ANIMISMAnimism is the belief in inanimate, personalized spirits or ghosts of ancestors that take an interest in, and actively work to influence, human affairs.ABSTRACT IDEALS Abstract ideals focus on the achievement of personal awareness and a higher state of consciousness through correct ways of thinking and behaving, rather than by manipulating spirits or worshipping gods.
THEISM Theism is the belief in divine beings—gods and goddesses—who shape human affairs. Gods are seen as powerful beings worthy of being worshipped. POLYTHEISM The belief in a number of gods MONOTHEISM Monotheism is the belief in the existence of a single god.
THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH A universal church includes all the members of a society within one united moral community. It accepts and supports the secular (political) structureTHE ECCLESIA An official or national religion. The church shares the same ethical system as the secular society and often promotes the interests of the ruling class. It offers membership to all of society, but not all participate.THE DENOMINATION Tends to limit its membership to a particular class, ethnic group, or religious group. It has no official connection to the state, but participates in society.
THE SECT A small group that adheres strictly to religious doctrine and often claims that they are the authentic version of the faith from which they split. They are an off-shoot of secular and/or religious society which they have rejectedMILLENARIAN MOVEMENTS Typically prophesy the end of the world, the destruction of all evil people and their works, and the saving of the just. These groups tend to emerge in times of stress.
RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY The U.S. was founded on the concept of religious tolerance While half of the population self identifies as Protestant, there are over 200 different religious organizations registered in the U.S.ATHEISTS - Do not believe there is a God.AGNOSTICS - Either believe that there is no way to know if there is a God; or believe there is a divine power, but that man cannot know it’s nature or form.
SECULARISM Modern society is becoming less influenced by religion. Religious institutions are being confined to narrowing spheres of influence as some people turn to secular sources for moral guidance.ECUMENISM The trend among many religious communities to draw together and project a sense of unity and common direction. It is partially a response to secularism