• A2 Beliefs in Society

Defining Religion
Miss Russell
Bilton School
To Start: Booklet Re-cap
Based on the booklet you created on a religion of your choice, reflect on your
learning and note ...
Thinking Ladder…

To
the different
sociological definitions
of religion.
To
how
sociological definitions
define religion a...
How will I know if I am learning?
By the end of the lesson…
E

Will be able to recall the different sociological
definitio...
Some thoughts on Religion….

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
Some thoughts on Religion….

“We have just enough
religion to make us
hate, but not enough to
make us love one
another.”

...
Some thoughts on Religion….

“Religion is the
opium of the
people”
Karl Marx 1843
Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
Some thoughts on Religion….

“A Christian is a man
who feels repentance
on a Sunday for what
he did on Saturday, and
is go...
Some thoughts on Religion….

“So many gods, so many
creeds,
So many paths that wind and
wind,
While just the art of being ...
Some thoughts on Religion….

“God seems to have
left the receiver off
the hook….and time
is running out.”

Arthur Koestler...
Some thoughts on Religion….

“Wherever God erects a house of
prayer,
The devil always builds a chapel
there;
And t‟will be...
Task: What is Religion?
Considering the thoughts on religion and using your learning so far… try to answer
the following q...
Definitions
• Religion has been defined in many ways:
1. A belief in some kind of supernatural power
2. An expression of t...
Task: Sociological Definitions
Around the room are descriptions of different sociological definitions of
religion. Complet...
What is religion?
• There are three ways in which sociologists
define religion

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
Substantive Definitions
• Focuses on what a Religion
is.
• Weber defines religion as
belief in a superior or
supernatural ...
Evaluation
• Conform to a widespread
view of religion as belief in
God.
• Defining religion in this way
leaves no room for...
Functional Definitions
• Functional definitions stress
how religions contribute to
societies in terms of it‟s social
and p...
Evaluation






Advantage of functional definitions
is that they are inclusive. It allows
us to include a wide range o...
Football… a Religion?
According to the
Functional
definition,
Could football be classed as a football
religion according t...
Social Constructionist
•
•

•

•

Social constructivists take an Interpretivist
approach
Not possible to produce a single ...
Evaluation
• Do not assume that religion
always involves a belief in God
or the supernatural, or that it
performs similar ...
But it‟s not clear cut…
• In pairs discuss the differences and
similarities between
• A Religion
• Football

Charlotte Rus...
Mainstream religions have a place of worship

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
All religions have a holy texts as a source of guidance

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
Religions have many followers and life partners are chosen
that way

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
Football Fans worship every weekend

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
Rules and conventions exist, just as religious followers follow
codes and morals. Football grounds are like places of wors...
Fights can break out between rival fans; just like religious
followers can be intolerant of other faiths

Charlotte Russel...
Players are worshipped, as if they are prophets

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
There are some differences...

...football fans expect a win every
week, whereas religious followers do not
expect weekly ...
To Finish…
• Construct a mind map
about the concepts
discussed in today‟s
lesson
• Refer to:
• Key words
• Definitions
• A...
To Finish…

Which sociological definition do
you think best represents religion.
Why?

Charlotte Russell

Bilton School
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  1. 1. • A2 Beliefs in Society Defining Religion Miss Russell Bilton School
  2. 2. To Start: Booklet Re-cap Based on the booklet you created on a religion of your choice, reflect on your learning and note down the answers to the following questions… What did you learn about religion as a whole? How can it be defined? Write down three things about your chosen religion that you learned, which you didn’t know before… Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  3. 3. Thinking Ladder… To the different sociological definitions of religion. To how sociological definitions define religion and how they differ from each other. To sociological definitions of religion.
  4. 4. How will I know if I am learning? By the end of the lesson… E Will be able to recall the different sociological definitions of religion. C Will be able to explain how the sociological definitions define religion and how they differ from each other. A Will be able to evaluate sociological definitions of religion.
  5. 5. Some thoughts on Religion…. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  6. 6. Some thoughts on Religion…. “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathon Swift 1711 Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  7. 7. Some thoughts on Religion…. “Religion is the opium of the people” Karl Marx 1843 Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  8. 8. Some thoughts on Religion…. “A Christian is a man who feels repentance on a Sunday for what he did on Saturday, and is going to do on Monday.” Thomas Russell Ybarra 1880 Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  9. 9. Some thoughts on Religion…. “So many gods, so many creeds, So many paths that wind and wind, While just the art of being kind Is all the sad world needs.” Francis Thompson 1913 Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  10. 10. Some thoughts on Religion…. “God seems to have left the receiver off the hook….and time is running out.” Arthur Koestler 1967 Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  11. 11. Some thoughts on Religion…. “Wherever God erects a house of prayer, The devil always builds a chapel there; And t‟will be found on examination, The latter has the largest congregation.” Daniel Defoe 1701 Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  12. 12. Task: What is Religion? Considering the thoughts on religion and using your learning so far… try to answer the following questions… 1) What do you understand by the term ‘Religion?’ 2) Which of the thoughts on Religion do you think is most true of Religion? Why? 3) What functions does a religion perform? 4) Why might someone believe in a religion? 5) Should it include a God or Holy book? Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  13. 13. Definitions • Religion has been defined in many ways: 1. A belief in some kind of supernatural power 2. An expression of this belief in collective worship 3. A set of moral values which guide action 4. A force which brings people together and unifies society Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  14. 14. Task: Sociological Definitions Around the room are descriptions of different sociological definitions of religion. Complete a comparison table of the definitions. • In the first row summarise the definitions. • In the second row think of how each of the definitions could be evaluated. Is the definition a complete picture of religion? What practices does it include/ignore? Substantive Definitions Functional Definitions Social Constructionist Definitions Summary of Definition Evaluation Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  15. 15. What is religion? • There are three ways in which sociologists define religion Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  16. 16. Substantive Definitions • Focuses on what a Religion is. • Weber defines religion as belief in a superior or supernatural power that is above nature and cannot be explained scientifically. • Substantive definitions are exclusive-they draw a clear line between religious and non-religious beliefs. • To be a religion, a set of beliefs must include belief in God or the supernatural. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  17. 17. Evaluation • Conform to a widespread view of religion as belief in God. • Defining religion in this way leaves no room for beliefs and practices that perform similar functions to religion but do not involve belief in God. • Western bias, excludes religions such as Buddhism, which do not have the Western idea of a God. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  18. 18. Functional Definitions • Functional definitions stress how religions contribute to societies in terms of it‟s social and psychological function. • According to Durkheim the key function of religion is to strengthen social solidarity and integration. • Yinger: Religion performs functions for individuals such as answering questions about the meaning of life and what happens when we die. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  19. 19. Evaluation    Advantage of functional definitions is that they are inclusive. It allows us to include a wide range of beliefs and practices that perform functions such as integration. Also, do not specify a belief in God so there is no bias against nonWestern religions such as Buddhism. However, just because an institution helps integrate individuals into groups, this does not make it a religion Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  20. 20. Football… a Religion? According to the Functional definition, Could football be classed as a football religion according to chanting is not seen the as a religion, even functional definition? though football might give fans a feeling of Could chanting together at a integration! football match be regarded as So religious integration? the functionalist approach neglects some examples of integration. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  21. 21. Social Constructionist • • • • Social constructivists take an Interpretivist approach Not possible to produce a single universal definition of religion to cover all cases, since in reality different individuals and groups mean very different things by „religion.‟ Social constructionists are interested in how definitions are constructed, challenged and fought over. Aldridge shows how, for its followers, Scientology is a religion, whereas several governments have denied it legal status as a religion and sought to ban it. This shows that definitions of religion can be contested and are influenced by who has power to define the situation. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  22. 22. Evaluation • Do not assume that religion always involves a belief in God or the supernatural, or that it performs similar functions for everyone in all societies. • Their approach allows them to get close to the meanings people themselves give to religion. • However, this makes it impossible to generalise about the nature of religion, since people may have widely differing views about what counts as a religion. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  23. 23. But it‟s not clear cut… • In pairs discuss the differences and similarities between • A Religion • Football Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  24. 24. Mainstream religions have a place of worship Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  25. 25. All religions have a holy texts as a source of guidance Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  26. 26. Religions have many followers and life partners are chosen that way Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  27. 27. Football Fans worship every weekend Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  28. 28. Rules and conventions exist, just as religious followers follow codes and morals. Football grounds are like places of worship Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  29. 29. Fights can break out between rival fans; just like religious followers can be intolerant of other faiths Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  30. 30. Players are worshipped, as if they are prophets Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  31. 31. There are some differences... ...football fans expect a win every week, whereas religious followers do not expect weekly miracles. ...there is no superhuman god. Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  32. 32. To Finish… • Construct a mind map about the concepts discussed in today‟s lesson • Refer to: • Key words • Definitions • AO2 evaluation Charlotte Russell Bilton School
  33. 33. To Finish… Which sociological definition do you think best represents religion. Why? Charlotte Russell Bilton School

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