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  • 1. Religion is an essential part of the shared moral ideas that make social life possible. Religion provides the customs and ceremonies to bring individuals together thereby ensuring that selfish individualism does not undermine society. Emile Durkheim Collective Conscience Social Solidarity
  • 2. Bronislaw Malinowski There are situations in a person’s life which can be disruptive such as birth of a child or the death of a loved one. Religious rituals are a way of coping with these stresses. Religion is a successful way of meeting individuals emotional needs for security. Life crises Tension Management
  • 3. Robert Bellah Civil Religion Modern societies are based on a new kind of religion that unites people into a shared culture. Modern nation states like the USA are built on beliefs and rituals which generate widespread loyalty among diverse groups.
  • 4. Religion is an important means of numbing the minds of workers to their subordinate positions in an unequal society. Religion can represent a yearning for a more caring world and the belief in a better future. False Consciousness ‘Heart of a Heartless World’ Karl Marx
  • 5. Frederick Engels The significance of religion lay in its ability to provide a set of universal, moral guide-lines for a new ruling class especially in relation to marriage. The emerging bourgeois had to have a means of controlling sexual behaviour to ensure that legitimate heirs could be identified for inheritance purposes. Morality of Marriage Inheritance of Property
  • 6. Otto Maduro Relative Autonomy Liberation Theology Religion is a cultural institution that can be independent of the state and therefore act as voice of the people. In developing countries the clergy can be a voice of the exploited masses within society. The church can help bring about a social revolution.
  • 7. Karen Armstrong Women have not always been subordinate within religion and uses archaeological evidence to show how the Mother Goddess has been worshipped in ancient cultures. Over time a single male God became important and this introduced a more ‘aggressive spirituality’ Female Goddesses Monotheism
  • 8. Zygmund Bauman ‘Life project’ - people want to be admired for the way they live their life. This creates the need to constantly evaluate ones beliefs and change them to appear to be dynamic. Religious revivals - people search through a variety of religious movements till they find a leader whose moral advice they trust. Life Project Religious Revival
  • 9. Max Weber Calvinism Elective Affinity Christianity is a salvation religion that claims people can be “saved” when they convert to certain beliefs and moral codes.The idea of “sin” and its atonement by God's grace plays a fundamental role. Unlike the Eastern religions' passive approach, salvation religions like Christianity are active, demanding continuous struggles against sin and the negative aspects of society.
  • 10. Simone de Beauvoir “For the Jews, Mohammedans and Christians man is master by divine right; the fear of God will repress any impulse towards revolt in the downtrodden female.” Religion deceives women into believing they will be compensated for their suffering with equality in heaven. Second Class Status False Compensator
  • 11. Nawal El Saadawi Religion became patriarchal with the misinterpretation of religious beliefs by men. Arab girls are often the victims of sexual exploitation as men distort Islam to serve their own interest. Patriarchal Dominance Female Circumcision
  • 12. David Lyon Individuals ‘pick and mix’ an identity from the vast choice of religious practices and beliefs on offer. There is a resurgence of traditional religions and spread of new forms of spirituality. This upsurge of belief in mystery is a challenge to scientific rationality. Spiritual Supermarket Re-enchantment
  • 13. Paul Heelas The established traditions and beliefs of conventional religions have been rejected by many people. New Age groups in the West are based on a mix of beliefs such as meditation and ‘dream catchers’. They claim to reveal absolute truths - a guide to how to live ones life. Detraditionalisation New Age Metanarrative

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