Beliefs in Society (AKA “Religion”)
Content
• Different theories of ideology, science and religion, including both Christi...
Religion Questions since 2002
Short answer questions since 2002
Old spec 8 marks (These old spec style questions are based...
June 06
Identify and briefly explain some of the ways in which religion could be said to ‘exert
social control over the me...
June 11 Identify and briefly explain three characteristics of religious fundamentalism. (9 marks)
Jan 12 Identify and brie...
June 05
Briefly examine the view that the established Church has suffered from “declining influence” over most
social grou...
June 10
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, examine the view that cults and sects have taken the place of
establishe...
Religion past essay questions
Old spec– 40 mark questions; now marked out of 33
Jan 02
A Evaluate the view that religion a...
A Assess the view that sociological arguments and evidence support functionalist views of the role and
functions of religi...
A “religious practice varies from time to time and place to place but the need for religion remains constant”
To what exte...
June 10
3 Assess the view that science has replaced religion as the main ideological influence in
society today. (33 marks...
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  1. 1. Beliefs in Society (AKA “Religion”) Content • Different theories of ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions. • The relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability. • Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice. • The relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices. • The significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context. Exam: 1 hour 30 minutes exam 60 marks / 80 UMS Paper format: 9 marks of short question – 3 x “identify and briefly explain” 1 mark for identification , 2 marks for explanation. 18 Mark short essay: Format is usually “Using material from the item and elsewhere assess…….” 6 marks AO1, 12 marks AO2 33 mark essay (as per SCLY 4) – one from a choice of two 15 marks for AO1, 18 marks for AO2 (9 marks for AO2a, 9 marks for AO2b) 1
  2. 2. Religion Questions since 2002 Short answer questions since 2002 Old spec 8 marks (These old spec style questions are based on 2 marks for an identification and 2 marks for an explanation) June 02 Identify and briefly explain two problems in assessing the influence of religion in modern society. (8 marks) Jan 03 Identify and briefly explain two examples of sociological evidence that might be used to support the postmodernist view expressed in Item A that the ‘grand narrative’ of religion has collapsed (lines 7 – 8). (8 marks) June 03 Identify and briefly explain two reasons, apart from that referred to in Item A, why we might have a “false view of the religious nature of past societies” (Item A, lines 4 – 5). (8 marks) Jan 04 Identify and briefly explain some of the reasons why women have a higher participation rate in religion than men. (8 marks) June 04 (a) Identify and briefly explain some of the reasons why interest in and commitment to alternative spiritual groups may be relatively “short-lived” (Item A, line 9). (8 marks) Jan 05 Identify and briefly explain two pieces of evidence that might lead sociologists such as Bryan Wilson to conclude that modernity brings with it a decline in the importance of religion. (8 marks) June 05 Identify and briefly explain some of the reasons why church attendance might be seen as an unreliable measure of belief today. (8 marks) Jan 06 Identify and briefly explain some of the reasons why New Religious Movements have such a high turnover of members. (8 marks) 2
  3. 3. June 06 Identify and briefly explain some of the ways in which religion could be said to ‘exert social control over the members of society’ (Item B, line 4). (8 marks) Jan 07 Identify and briefly explain some of the characteristic features of sects, apart from those referred to in Item B. (8 marks) June 07 Identify and briefly explain some of the ways in which functionalists see religion meeting the needs of society and/or individuals. (8 marks) Jan 08 Identify and briefly explain some of the arguments and evidence for the view that Britain is less religious now than it was in the past (Item B). (8 marks) June 08 Identify and briefly explain some of the problems in measuring the extent of religious belief in society today. (8 marks) Jan 09 Identify and briefly explain some of the reasons why sects and cults are often short lived .(Item B, lines 6 . 7) (8 marks) New spec 9 mark questions(These new style questions are based on 1 mark for an identification and 2 marks for an explanation) Spec (a) (i) Identify and briefly explain two reasons why women seem to have a higher participation rate in religion than that of men. (6 marks) (ii) Identify and briefly explain one reason why people from some ethnic minorities seem to have a higher participation rate in religion than other social groups. (3 marks) Jan 10 (a) Identify and briefly explain three reasons why traditional religious organisations may have lost support and/or membership over the past thirty years, apart from that referred to in Item A. (9 marks) June 10 Identify and briefly explain three reasons why membership of sects may be short-lived. (9 marks) Jan 11 Identify and briefly explain three reasons, apart from lower church attendance, why the Church of England might be seen to be ‘in decline’, (Item A, line 7). (9 marks) 3
  4. 4. June 11 Identify and briefly explain three characteristics of religious fundamentalism. (9 marks) Jan 12 Identify and briefly explain three reasons why members of minority ethnic communities may seem to be more religious than members of the majority population (9 marks) June 12 Identify and briefly explain three reasons why statistics on religious belief may not be accurate. June 13 identify and briefly explain three ways in which women may be disadvantaged by religion today Old Spec 12 marks (these are similar to, but not the same as, the current 18 mark essays) June 02 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, briefly examine the extent to which religion can still be said to be functional for individuals and society. (12 marks) Jan 03 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, identify and briefly examine some of the sociological arguments that might be used to challenge the view expressed in Item A, that ‘religions seem to have lost their authority’ in today’s society (lines 11 – 12). (12 marks) June 03 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, examine some of the reasons why there is “much disagreement on the meaning of the concept of secularisation” (Item A, line 1). (12 marks) Jan 04 With reference to Item A and elsewhere, briefly examine why young people seem to be less religious than older people. (12 marks) June 04 Using information from Item A and elsewhere, briefly examine why religious groups such as those referred to in Item A fail to attract men and the under 35s. (12 marks) Jan 05 Examine some of the arguments and evidence that might lead some sociologists to argue that, “most of the world is bubbling with religious passions” (Item B, line 13). (12 marks) Jan 06 Using material from Item B and elsewhere, briefly examine why some people feel that traditional churches and denominations no longer meet their religious needs. (12 marks) 4
  5. 5. June 05 Briefly examine the view that the established Church has suffered from “declining influence” over most social groups in Britain today (Item B, lines 4 – 5). (12 marks) June 06 Using information from Item B and elsewhere, briefly examine the evidence and/or arguments in favour of the view that religion can act as a force for change in society. (12 marks) Jan 07 Briefly examine the view that traditional churches have lost status and influence in society over the past thirty years. (12 marks) June 07 Using material from Item B and elsewhere, briefly examine post-modernist views on the nature and role of religion. (12 marks) Jan 08 Using material from Item B and elsewhere, briefly examine the view that there is ‘a great deal of religious and spiritual activity in society today’ (Item B, line 9). (12 marks) June 08 Using material from Item B and elsewhere, briefly examine the view that ‘conservative or orthodox or traditionalist movements’ have become more significant and have increased their influence in the world today (Item B, lines 6–8). (12 marks) Jan 09 (b) Using material from Item B and elsewhere, briefly examine the view that the appeal of sects, cults and new religious movements is causing traditional churches to lose status and influence in contemporary societies. (12 marks) New spec 18 mark questions (remember, 6 marks AO1; 12 marks AO2) Spec Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the reasons why young people seem to participate in religious activity far less than do older generations. (18 marks) Jan 10 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that most people today see spirituality and religious belief as purely private and personal matters. (18 marks) 5
  6. 6. June 10 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, examine the view that cults and sects have taken the place of established churches as the most important religious and spiritual movements in society today. (18 marks) Jan 11 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that, while the Church of England is declining, other religions and spiritual movements are flourishing. (18 marks) June 11 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that religion is a force for social change. (18 marks) Jan 12 Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the view that most people today chose not to be lifelong members of religious organisations (18 marks) June 12 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that women are no longer oppressed by religion. June 13 Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that religion no longer acts as “a shared universe of meaning” for people today. 6
  7. 7. Religion past essay questions Old spec– 40 mark questions; now marked out of 33 Jan 02 A Evaluate the view that religion acts as a conservative force in modern society. (40 marks) B “The main function of religion is to provide people with a code of behaviour which regulates personal and social life.” Assess the extent to which sociological arguments and evidence support this view of religion in modern society. (40 marks) June 02 A “Modern Britain is now a secular society.” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence agree with this view? (40 marks) B “New Religious Movements can best be distinguished by the degree of commitment that they demand of their members.” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of New Religious Movements? (40 marks) Jan 03 A Analyse and evaluate the relationship between religion and social change. (40 marks) B Critically examine the view that the religions of ethnic minorities have been more successful at maintaining membership and participation than those of established churches and mainstream denominations. (40 marks) June 03 A Assess the view that in most societies religion functions more to cause conflict than to bring about harmony and consensus. (40 marks) A Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisations. (40 marks) Jan 04 A Assess the view that cults and sects are only fringe organisations that are inevitably short-lived and of little influence in contemporary society. (40 marks) B Claims that the United Kingdom is now a secular society are wrong. Both religious activity and religious belief are flourishing.. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (40 marks) June 04 7
  8. 8. A Assess the view that sociological arguments and evidence support functionalist views of the role and functions of religion in contemporary society. . (40 marks B “The growth of religious fundamentalism challenges the view that the world is becoming more secular.” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? . (40 marks January 05 A “Religion can be both a conservative force and an initiator of social change.” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of religion? (40 marks) B “Religion may be an important way in which some social groups express their unity. However, it can also contribute to social divisions and social conflict.” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of religion? (40 marks) June 05 A "The main function of religion in society today is to dull the pain of oppression." To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of religion today? (40 marks) B "There is more to religion than just belief. For instance, religion and religious organisations may help groups to cope with changes such as migration and adjustment to new societies. For some, religion provides the whole basis on which their lives are structured." To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of the relationship between religious beliefs, religious organisations and social groups? (40 marks) Jan 06 A Evaluate functionalist views on the role and functions of religion today. (40 marks) B Evaluate sociological explanations of the relationship between gender and religious belief and practice. (40 marks) June 06 A Assess the nature and extent of secularisation in society today. (40 marks) B Assess the view that cults and sects inevitably turn into denominations and churches. (40 marks) Jan 07 A “religion today is more about believing than belonging” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of the relationships between religious beliefs, religious organisations and social groups in society today? (40 marks) B Assess the extent to which Marxist and feminist theories help our understanding of religion in society today (40 marks) June 07 8
  9. 9. A “religious practice varies from time to time and place to place but the need for religion remains constant” To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view (40 marks) B Religion is more a cause of conflict than harmony in society To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view (40 marks) Jan 08 A ‘The relationship between religious beliefs, religious organisations and different social groups is complex and diverse. Different groups have different needs and priorities.’ To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (40 marks) B Evaluate the view that new cults and sects are replacing traditional religions as the means for experiencing and expressing religious belief in the world today. (40 marks) June 08 A Assess the view that religion was once mainly a conservative influence but today is more of a force for social change. (40 marks) B Evaluate postmodernist explanations of the role and functions of religion in contemporary society. Jan 09 A The experience of religion varies significantly between different social groups. For example, religious membership, belief and practice vary according to age, gender, ethnicity and social class. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (40 marks) B Assess the view that the main function of religion is to bring about harmony in society. (40 marks) New spec – 33 MARK QUESTIONS Specimen A Assess the view that cults, sects and New Age movements are fringe organisations that are inevitably short-lived and of little influence in contemporary society. (33 marks) B The growth and influence of religious fundamentalism across the world challenges the claim that contemporary society has become more secular.. To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view of contemporary religious belief and practice? (33 marks) Jan 10 A Assess the view that the main function of religious belief is to promote social stability. (33 marks) B Critically examine the relationship between different social groups and their religious beliefs and practice. (33 marks) 9
  10. 10. June 10 3 Assess the view that science has replaced religion as the main ideological influence in society today. (33 marks) 4 Evaluate feminist views on the role and functions of religion in society today. (33 marks) Jan 11 3 Assess the view that, for minority ethnic groups, the practice of religion and membership of religious groups is mainly a form of cultural defence. (33 marks) 4 Assess the view that religion is a major source of instability and conflict in society today. (33 marks) June 11 3 Assess the view that secularisation has been a feature only of modern European societies. (33 marks) 4 Assess the view that new religious movements are mainly for the middle classes and the young. (33 marks) Jan 12 3 the growth of new age movements is evidence of a spiritual revolution is society today To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view 4 Assess the usefulness of functionalist theories in understanding of religion today June 12 3 Religion is still the most significant ideological influence in the world today.’ To what extent do sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33 marks) 4 Critically examine sociological views of sects in society today. (33 marks) Jan 13 3 Assess the view that religion inhibits social change 4 Evaluate the role of new age movements in society today. 10

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