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  • 1. SCLY3 Mock Exemplar January 2012.
  • 2. 1. (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) Id: differential socialization . Exp: Miller and Hoffman argue that women are socialized to be passive, obedient and emotional. They are therefore more suited than men to the sentiments of being religious. Id: structural location . Exp: women tend to dominate the private sphere of the home, family and childcare. They therefore have the time and the duty to socialize their children with the moral values and opportunities of a religious community.
  • 3. (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) Id: cultural defence . Exp: immigrant communities may chose to seek the security and solidarity of a familiar religious community from which to draw strength and belonging in the face of an alienating and, possibly, hostile host community .
  • 4. 1. (b) Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the idea that religion is a form of false class consciousness. (18 marks) PLAN: 1. Introduction. 2. How religious IS a form of false class consciousness – Marx and the opium of the people. Justification of social injustice , promise of eternal life , Caste System . 3. How religion IS NOT a form of false class consciousness – Maduro and Liberation Theology . Church of England, challenging bankers. Civil rights. 4. Conclusion.
  • 5. False class consciousness is the Marxist idea that individuals and groups living in a capitalist society , such as the UK, are distracted from and kept unaware of the true source of theirs and others oppression : capitalist exploitation . This essay will briefly assess if religion is indeed a source of false class consciousness or if it works to enlighten followers’ lives and to challenge the powerful oppressors in capitalist society. False class consciousness is the Marxist idea that individuals and groups living in a capitalist society, such as the UK, are distracted from and kept unaware of the true source of theirs and others oppression: capitalist exploitation. This essay will briefly assess if religion is indeed a source of false class consciousness or if it works to enlighten followers’ lives and to challenge the powerful oppressors in capitalist society .
  • 6. Marx likened religion to ‘the opiate of the masses ’. By this analogy, he meant that religion acted like a powerful drug : anaesthetizing and hypnotizing religious populations into believing that life wasn’t as bad as they ordinarily felt. This promise of eternal life was socially constructed by religious organisations like the Christian Church to make life more bearable and to prevent any challenge to the capitalist hierarchy. That religion, with its messages of poverty being a virtue rewarded with everlasting life, was designed and used by the powerful to keep populations of working class people subjugated and the ruling class justified in their high status. A biblical passage which has frequently been used to reinforce this dogma is “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is a clear example of a theodicy of non-privilege or a compensator to the poor and one designed to prevent them from confronting the source of their oppression: the capitalist elite. Marx likened religion to ‘the opiate of the masses’. By this analogy, he meant that religion acted like a powerful drug: anaesthetizing and hypnotizing religious populations into believing that life wasn’t as bad as they ordinarily felt. This promise of eternal life was socially constructed by religious organisations like the Christian Church to make life more bearable and to prevent any challenge to the capitalist hierarchy . That religion, with its messages of poverty being a virtue rewarded with everlasting life, was designed and used by the powerful to keep populations of working class people subjugated and the ruling class justified in their high status. A biblical passage which has frequently been used to reinforce this dogma is “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is a clear example of a theodicy of non-privilege or a compensator to the poor and one designed to prevent them from confronting the source of their oppression: the capitalist elite. Marx likened religion to ‘the opiate of the masses’. By this analogy, he meant that religion acted like a powerful drug: anaesthetizing and hypnotizing religious populations into believing that life wasn’t as bad as they ordinarily felt. This promise of eternal life was socially constructed by religious organisations like the Christian Church to make life more bearable and to prevent any challenge to the capitalist hierarchy. That religion , with its messages of poverty being a virtue rewarded with everlasting life , was designed and used by the powerful to keep populations of working class people subjugated and the ruling class justified in their high status . A biblical passage which has frequently been used to reinforce this dogma is “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is a clear example of a theodicy of non-privilege or a compensator to the poor and one designed to prevent them from confronting the source of their oppression: the capitalist elite. Marx likened religion to ‘the opiate of the masses’. By this analogy, he meant that religion acted like a powerful drug: anaesthetizing and hypnotizing religious populations into believing that life wasn’t as bad as they ordinarily felt. This promise of eternal life was socially constructed by religious organisations like the Christian Church to make life more bearable and to prevent any challenge to the capitalist hierarchy. That religion, with its messages of poverty being a virtue rewarded with everlasting life, was designed and used by the powerful to keep populations of working class people subjugated and the ruling class justified in their high status. A biblical passage which has frequently been used to reinforce this dogma is “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is a clear example of a theodicy of non-privilege or a compensator to the poor and one designed to prevent them from confronting the source of their oppression: the capitalist elite. Marx likened religion to ‘the opiate of the masses’. By this analogy, he meant that religion acted like a powerful drug: anaesthetizing and hypnotizing religious populations into believing that life wasn’t as bad as they ordinarily felt. This promise of eternal life was socially constructed by religious organisations like the Christian Church to make life more bearable and to prevent any challenge to the capitalist hierarchy. That religion, with its messages of poverty being a virtue rewarded with everlasting life, was designed and used by the powerful to keep populations of working class people subjugated and the ruling class justified in their high status. A biblical passage which has frequently been used to reinforce this dogma is “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is a clear example of a theodicy of non-privilege or a compensator to the poor and one designed to prevent them from confronting the source of their oppression : the capitalist elite .
  • 7. The notion of “seek and ye shall find” is an example of the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth instead of using human endeavour and argument. This make the present more acceptable and prevents challenge to the capitalist elite. Religion has also used other ‘sound bites’ to justify the social order & class system & each person’s position within it. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.” The Caste system in India has also worked to this effect; justifying the fabulous wealth and status of the Brahmins in comparison to the poverty and subjugation of the Dhalits in terms of their good or bad karma. This, in effect relinquishes all responsibility for social justice from the powerful elite and lays the blame squarely with each person’s moral behaviour. However, Marxist ideas of religion as a source of false class consciousness are undermined in postmodern society where it can be argued, most ideological influence, particularly in Europe, comes from the media. The notion of “seek and ye shall find” is an example of the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth instead of using human endeavour and argument. This make the present more acceptable and prevents challenge to the capitalist elite . Religion has also used other ‘sound bites’ to justify the social order & class system & each person’s position within it. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.” The Caste system in India has also worked to this effect; justifying the fabulous wealth and status of the Brahmins in comparison to the poverty and subjugation of the Dhalits in terms of their good or bad karma. This, in effect relinquishes all responsibility for social justice from the powerful elite and lays the blame squarely with each person’s moral behaviour. However, Marxist ideas of religion as a source of false class consciousness are undermined in postmodern society where it can be argued, most ideological influence, particularly in Europe, comes from the media. The notion of “seek and ye shall find” is an example of the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth instead of using human endeavour and argument. This make the present more acceptable and prevents challenge to the capitalist elite. Religion has also used other ‘sound bites’ to justify the social order & class system & each person’s position within it. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.” The Caste system in India has also worked to this effect; justifying the fabulous wealth and status of the Brahmins in comparison to the poverty and subjugation of the Dhalits in terms of their good or bad karma. This, in effect relinquishes all responsibility for social justice from the powerful elite and lays the blame squarely with each person’s moral behaviour. However, Marxist ideas of religion as a source of false class consciousness are undermined in postmodern society where it can be argued, most ideological influence, particularly in Europe, comes from the media. The notion of “seek and ye shall find” is an example of the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth instead of using human endeavour and argument. This make the present more acceptable and prevents challenge to the capitalist elite. Religion has also used other ‘sound bites’ to justify the social order & class system & each person’s position within it. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.” The Caste system in India has also worked to this effect; justifying the fabulous wealth and status of the Brahmins in comparison to the poverty and subjugation of the Dhalits in terms of their good or bad karma . This, in effect relinquishes all responsibility for social justice from the powerful elite and lays the blame squarely with each person’s moral behaviour. However, Marxist ideas of religion as a source of false class consciousness are undermined in postmodern society where it can be argued, most ideological influence, particularly in Europe, comes from the media. The notion of “seek and ye shall find” is an example of the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth instead of using human endeavour and argument. This make the present more acceptable and prevents challenge to the capitalist elite. Religion has also used other ‘sound bites’ to justify the social order & class system & each person’s position within it. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.” The Caste system in India has also worked to this effect; justifying the fabulous wealth and status of the Brahmins in comparison to the poverty and subjugation of the Dhalits in terms of their good or bad karma. This, in effect relinquishes all responsibility for social justice from the powerful elite and lays the blame squarely with each person’s moral behaviour. However, Marxist ideas of religion as a source of false class consciousness are undermined in postmodern society where it can be argued, most ideological influence, particularly in Europe, comes from the media. The notion of “seek and ye shall find” is an example of the hope of supernatural intervention to solve problems on earth instead of using human endeavour and argument. This make the present more acceptable and prevents challenge to the capitalist elite. Religion has also used other ‘sound bites’ to justify the social order & class system & each person’s position within it. “The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate.” The Caste system in India has also worked to this effect; justifying the fabulous wealth and status of the Brahmins in comparison to the poverty and subjugation of the Dhalits in terms of their good or bad karma. This, in effect relinquishes all responsibility for social justice from the powerful elite and lays the blame squarely with each person’s moral behaviour. However , Marxist ideas of religion as a source of false class consciousness are undermined in postmodern society where it can be argued, most ideological influence , particularly in Europe, comes from the media.
  • 8. Neo-Marxism has a very different idea of the potential of religion to actively challenge social injustice and to inspire revolution . Maduro’s work on the Liberation Theology of South America shows how, in some cases, religion can work to actively bring about class consciousness and a real awareness of the injustice experienced by the poor. The preaching of Liberation Theology has also inspired followers to actively challenge the oppressors, such as Right wing oppressive governments. Maduro argues that Liberation Theology preached that it was the duty of all church members to fight against unjust and oppressive right-wing dictatorships. For example, in 1979, Catholic revolutionaries supported the overthrow of the oppressive government of Nicaragua. Neo-Marxism has a very different idea of the potential of religion to actively challenge social injustice and to inspire revolution. Maduro’s work on the Liberation Theology of South America shows how, in some cases, religion can work to actively bring about class consciousness and a real awareness of the injustice experienced by the poor. The preaching of Liberation Theology has also inspired followers to actively challenge the oppressors, such as Right wing oppressive governments. Maduro argues that Liberation Theology preached that it was the duty of all church members to fight against unjust and oppressive right-wing dictatorships. For example, in 1979, Catholic revolutionaries supported the overthrow of the oppressive government of Nicaragua. Neo-Marxism has a very different idea of the potential of religion to actively challenge social injustice and to inspire revolution. Maduro’s work on the Liberation Theology of South America shows how, in some cases, religion can work to actively bring about class consciousness and a real awareness of the injustice experienced by the poor. The preaching of Liberation Theology has also inspired followers to actively challenge the oppressors , such as right wing oppressive governments. Maduro argues that Liberation Theology preached that it was the duty of all church members to fight against unjust and oppressive right-wing dictatorships. For example, in 1979, Catholic revolutionaries supported the overthrow of the oppressive government of Nicaragua. Neo-Marxism has a very different idea of the potential of religion to actively challenge social injustice and to inspire revolution. Maduro’s work on the Liberation Theology of South America shows how, in some cases, religion can work to actively bring about class consciousness and a real awareness of the injustice experienced by the poor. The preaching of Liberation Theology has also inspired followers to actively challenge the oppressors, such as Right wing oppressive governments. Maduro argues that Liberation Theology preached that it was the duty of all church members to fight against unjust and oppressive right-wing dictatorships. For example, in 1979, Catholic revolutionaries supported the overthrow of the oppressive government of Nicaragua. Neo-Marxism has a very different idea of the potential of religion to actively challenge social injustice and to inspire revolution. Maduro’s work on the Liberation Theology of South America shows how, in some cases, religion can work to actively bring about class consciousness and a real awareness of the injustice experienced by the poor. The preaching of Liberation Theology has also inspired followers to actively challenge the oppressors, such as Right wing oppressive governments. Maduro argues that Liberation Theology preached that it was the duty of all church members to fight against unjust and oppressive right-wing dictatorships. For example, in 1979, Catholic revolutionaries supported the overthrow of the oppressive government of Nicaragua.
  • 9. This is possible, so argues Maduro , because religion has some independence or relative autonomy from the capitalist economic system . This relative autonomy is evident in the Church of England currently where they have supported the Occupy London protest against corporate greed. At Christmas 2011, Archbishop Rowan Williams openly criticised the government and the ruling capitalist elite for their exploitation of the working class. This is a clear example of how religion can actively encourage its followers to open their eyes to the oppressive nature of capitalism and consumerism; to bring about class consciousness. This is possible, so argues Maduro, because religion has some independence or relative autonomy from the capitalist economic system. This relative autonomy is evident in the Church of England currently where they have supported the Occupy London protest against corporate greed. At Christmas 2011, Archbishop Rowan Williams openly criticised the government and the ruling capitalist elite for their exploitation of the working class. This is a clear example of how religion can actively encourage its followers to open their eyes to the oppressive nature of capitalism and consumerism; to bring about class consciousness. This is possible, so argues Maduro, because religion has some independence or relative autonomy from the capitalist economic system. This relative autonomy is evident in the Church of England currently where they have supported the Occupy London protest against corporate greed . At Christmas 2011, Archbishop Rowan Williams openly criticised the government and the ruling capitalist elite for their exploitation of the working class. This is a clear example of how religion can actively encourage its followers to open their eyes to the oppressive nature of capitalism and consumerism; to bring about class consciousness. This is possible, so argues Maduro, because religion has some independence or relative autonomy from the capitalist economic system. This relative autonomy is evident in the Church of England currently where they have supported the Occupy London protest against corporate greed. At Christmas 2011, Archbishop Rowan Williams openly criticised the government and the ruling capitalist elite for their exploitation of the ruling class . This is a clear example of how religion can actively encourage its followers to open their eyes to the oppressive nature of capitalism and consumerism ; to bring about class consciousness .
  • 10. To sum up, it seems that as religion has become less powerful in Europe, it has become the mouth-piece of the oppressed in challenging capitalist exploitation and bringing about class consciousness . However, in America, where Christianity is becoming stronger all the time, its right wing branch of Dominionism is being utilised to bring about false class consciousness to keep the population ignorant of the real source of their oppression: rampant capitalism. To sum up, it seems that as religion has become less powerful in Europe, it has become the mouth-piece of the oppressed in challenging capitalist exploitation and bringing about class consciousness. However, in America, where Christianity is becoming stronger all the time, its right wing branch of Dominionism is being utilised to bring about false class consciousness to keep the population ignorant of the real source of their oppression : rampant capitalism .
  • 11. 2. 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)
  • 12. Sects , cults and New Age movements , like Scientology , are relatively modern religious organisations that are much smaller than the traditional church , are often at odds with the State and are run by a charismatic leader . Whether these more diverse and complicated means of worship have taken the place of the church and traditional religions is an unresolved issue of controversy amongst many sociologists today. This essay will critically examine if cults, sects and the New Age are relatively unimportant and insignificant in modern society. Sects, cults and New Age movements, like Scientology, are relatively modern religious organisations that are much smaller than the traditional church, are often at odds with the State and are run by a charismatic leader. Whether these more diverse and complicated means of worship have taken the place of the church and traditional religions is an unresolved issue of controversy amongst many sociologists today. This essay will critically examine if cults, sects and the New Age are relatively unimportant and insignificant in modern society. Sects, cults and New Age movements, like Scientology, are relatively modern religious organisations that are much smaller than the traditional church, are often at odds with the state and are run by a charismatic leader. Whether these more diverse and complicated means of worship have taken the place of the church and traditional religions is an unresolved issue of controversy amongst many sociologists today. This essay will critically examine if cults , sects and the New Age are relatively unimportant and insignificant in modern society.
  • 13. It was noted by sociologist Wallis that in the 1970s, the influence of sects and cults did in fact grow. The extension of education, development of technology and increase in extreme politics meant that youth culture became lengthened, working alongside extreme views with more means to express them. Sociologist Wilson also looked into the longevity of sects and argued that their survival depended upon how they addressed the question of salvation. If they were conversionist or evangelical sects, then they are likely to grow and develop by recruiting more and more people. This in one of the ways that sects are becoming more influential in society today – where people are merely coming and going from the conventional religion and worship, others feel a greater sense of membership and belonging when they join a sect or a cult. It was noted by sociologist Wallis that in the 1970s, the influence of sects and cults did in fact grow. The extension of education , development of technology and increase in extreme politics meant that youth culture became lengthened, working alongside extreme views with more means to express them. Sociologist Wilson also looked into the longevity of sects and argued that their survival depended upon how they addressed the question of salvation. If they were conversionist or evangelical sects, then they are likely to grow and develop by recruiting more and more people. This in one of the ways that sects are becoming more influential in society today – where people are merely coming and going from the conventional religion and worship, others feel a greater sense of membership and belonging when they join a sect or a cult. It was noted by sociologist Wallis that in the 1970s, the influence of sects and cults did in fact grow. The extension of education, development of technology and increase in extreme politics meant that youth culture became lengthened, working alongside extreme views with more means to express them. Sociologist Wilson also looked into the longevity of sects and argued that their survival depended upon how they addressed the question of salvation . If they were conversionist or evangelical sects, then they are likely to grow and develop by recruiting more and more people. This in one of the ways that sects are becoming more influential in society today – where people are merely coming and going from the conventional religion and worship, others feel a greater sense of membership and belonging when they join a sect or a cult. It was noted by sociologist Wallis that in the 1970s, the influence of sects and cults did in fact grow. The extension of education, development of technology and increase in extreme politics meant that youth culture became lengthened, working alongside extreme views with more means to express them. Sociologist Wilson also looked into the longevity of sects and argued that their survival depended upon how they addressed the question of salvation. If they were conversionist or evangelical sects , then they are likely to grow and develop by recruiting more and more people. This in one of the ways that sects are becoming more influential in society today – where people are merely coming and going from the conventional religion and worship, others feel a greater sense of membership and belonging when they join a sect or a cult. It was noted by sociologist Wallis that in the 1970s, the influence of sects and cults did in fact grow. The extension of education, development of technology and increase in extreme politics meant that youth culture became lengthened, working alongside extreme views with more means to express them. Sociologist Wilson also looked into the longevity of sects and argued that their survival depended upon how they addressed the question of salvation. If they were conversionist or evangelical sects, then they are likely to grow and develop by recruiting more and more people. This in one of the ways that sects are becoming more influential in society today – where people are merely coming and going from the conventional religion and worship , others feel a greater sense of membership and belonging when they join a sect or a cult .
  • 14. Stark and Bainbridge also investigated their thoughts on the growth of cults . They argued that there were three types of cult which ultimately gave worshippers more choice. Audience cults could be followed independently and freely through the holistic milieu, including via the internet. Client cults were said to be sold as a service and emphasised what the worshipper could gain from becoming a member, and cult movements were introvert, intense cults that had very clear goals and restrictions. Clearly, cults are different from traditional religion because they are putting the needs and desires of the worshipper first. Contrastingly, throughout conventional religions, worshippers are required to make sacrifices and conform - putting their needs and desires second. Stark and Bainbridge also investigated their thoughts on the growth of cults. They argued that there were three types of cult which ultimately gave worshippers more choice . Audience cults could be followed independently and freely through the holistic milieu, including via the internet. Client cults were said to be sold as a service and emphasised what the worshipper could gain from becoming a member, and cult movements were introvert, intense cults that had very clear goals and restrictions. Clearly, cults are different from traditional religion because they are putting the needs and desires of the worshipper first. Contrastingly, throughout conventional religions, worshippers are required to make sacrifices and conform - putting their needs and desires second. Stark and Bainbridge also investigated their thoughts on the growth of cults. They argued that there were three types of cult which ultimately gave worshippers more choice. Audience cults could be followed independently and freely through the holistic milieu , including via the internet . Client cults were said to be sold as a service and emphasised what the worshipper could gain from becoming a member, and cult movements were introvert, intense cults that had very clear goals and restrictions. Clearly, cults are different from traditional religion because they are putting the needs and desires of the worshipper first. Contrastingly, throughout conventional religions, worshippers are required to make sacrifices and conform - putting their needs and desires second. Stark and Bainbridge also investigated their thoughts on the growth of cults. They argued that there were three types of cult which ultimately gave worshippers more choice. Audience cults could be followed independently and freely through the holistic milieu, including via the internet. Client cults were said to be sold as a service and emphasised what the worshipper could gain from becoming a member, and cult movements were introvert, intense cults that had very clear goals and restrictions. Clearly, cults are different from traditional religion because they are putting the needs and desires of the worshipper first. Contrastingly, throughout conventional religions, worshippers are required to make sacrifices and conform - putting their needs and desires second. Stark and Bainbridge also investigated their thoughts on the growth of cults. They argued that there were three types of cult which ultimately gave worshippers more choice. Audience cults could be followed independently and freely through the holistic milieu, including via the internet. Client cults were said to be sold as a service and emphasised what the worshipper could gain from becoming a member, and cult movements were introvert, intense cults that had very clear goals and restrictions. Clearly, cults are different from traditional religion because they are putting the needs and desires of the worshipper first. Contrastingly, throughout conventional religions, worshippers are required to make sacrifices and conform - putting their needs and desires second. Stark and Bainbridge also investigated their thoughts on the growth of cults. They argued that there were three types of cult which ultimately gave worshippers more choice. Audience cults could be followed independently and freely through the holistic milieu, including via the internet. Client cults were said to be sold as a service and emphasised what the worshipper could gain from becoming a member, and cult movements were introvert, intense cults that had very clear goals and restrictions. Clearly, cults are different from traditional religion because they are putting the needs and desires of the worshipper first. Contrastingly, throughout conventional religions , worshippers are required to make sacrifices and conform - putting their needs and desires second.
  • 15. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values. A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values. A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values . A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values. A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values. A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values. A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves. The growth of sects and cults is easily shown by looking at a number of existing organisations today. For example, the sect of Scientology has flourished in Westernised cultures in the USA and UK with its million-dollar Scientology complexes and celebrity centres. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a particularly longstanding sect that focus upon human behaviour, ethics and moral values. A particularly destructive cult was that of the People’s Temple which saw Jim Jones encourage the mass suicide of 900 people. However, it lacks insight to compare and contrast traditional religion against that of sects and cults so straightforwardly because the set of social circumstances and surroundings around each are completely different. The pre-18 th century saw people attending conventional church as a means of socialising with the local community as a middle class affair. Now, people join sects and cults as an extension of their reflexive and individualistic identities and a platform to express themselves.
  • 16. Arguably, traditional religions are only declining and being overtaken by sects and cults in certain countries and societies. Pentecostalism remains the latest growing denomination of Christianity and if present trends continue, Islam will be the world’s biggest and most influential religion by 2050. Grace Davie argued that secularisation and detraditionalization are trends in Europe, but these are not shared across the rest of the world. Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are spreading in Asia, America and Africa which clearly evidences the counter-argument that it is traditional religions that remain the main way for people to “express their religious belief in the world today”. Arguably, traditional religions are only declining and being overtaken by sects and cults in certain countries and societies. Pentecostalism remains the fastest growing denomination of Christianity and if present trends continue, Islam will be the world’s biggest and most influential religion by 2050. Grace Davie argued that secularisation and detraditionalization are trends in Europe, but these are not shared across the rest of the world. Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are spreading in Asia, America and Africa which clearly evidences the counter-argument that it is traditional religions that remain the main way for people to “express their religious belief in the world today”. Arguably, traditional religions are only declining and being overtaken by sects and cults in certain countries and societies. Pentecostalism remains the fastest growing denomination of Christianity and if present trends continue, Islam will be the world’s biggest and most influential religion by 2050. Grace Davie argued that secularisation and detraditionalization are trends in Europe, but these are not shared across the rest of the world. Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are spreading in Asia, America and Africa which clearly evidences the counter-argument that it is traditional religions that remain the main way for people to “express their religious belief in the world today”. Arguably, traditional religions are only declining and being overtaken by sects and cults in certain countries and societies. Pentecostalism remains the fastest growing denomination of Christianity and if present trends continue, Islam will be the world’s biggest and most influential religion by 2050. Grace Davie argued that secularisation and detraditionalization are trends in Europe, but these are not shared across the rest of the world. Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are spreading in Asia, America and Africa which clearly evidences the counter-argument that it is traditional religions that remain the main way for people to “express their religious belief in the world today”.
  • 17. There are also other forms of expressing religious beliefs in the world today that are not sects , cults or traditional religions . Postmodernist Heelas argues that the New Age and self spirituality offer a means for experiencing religion in the world today because it encourages success in the outer world and the inner world simultaneously. Grace Davie, a secularisation theorist even pointed out that many people in the world today are believing without belonging – they still have a sense of spirituality but don’t show it through a religious organisation. In addition, all secularisation theorists consistently argue that people simply don’t have the time for religion any more in postmodern society. Professions and individualism and life projects have simply become more important than attending church weekly or praying daily. Certainly, in the more individualistic culture of the European and Western world this is true whilst the collectivist cultures of Asia and Africa in particular, emphasise collective conscience which can be sought through religion. There are also other forms of expressing religious beliefs in the world today that are not sects, cults or traditional religions. Postmodernist Heelas argues that the New Age and self spirituality offer a means for experiencing religion in the world today because it encourages success in the outer world and the inner world simultaneously. Grace Davie, a secularisation theorist even pointed out that many people in the world today are believing without belonging – they still have a sense of spirituality but don’t show it through a religious organisation. In addition, all secularisation theorists consistently argue that people simply don’t have the time for religion any more in postmodern society. Professions and individualism and life projects have simply become more important than attending church weekly or praying daily. Certainly, in the more individualistic culture of the European and Western world this is true whilst the collectivist cultures of Asia and Africa in particular, emphasise collective conscience which can be sought through religion. There are also other forms of expressing religious beliefs in the world today that are not sects, cults or traditional religions. Postmodernist Heelas argues that the New Age and self spirituality offer a means for experiencing religion in the world today because it encourages success in the outer world and the inner world simultaneously. Grace Davie , a secularisation theorist even pointed out that many people in the world today are believing without belonging – they still have a sense of spirituality but don’t show it through a religious organisation . In addition, all secularisation theorists consistently argue that people simply don’t have the time for religion any more in postmodern society. Professions and individualism and life projects have simply become more important than attending church weekly or praying daily. Certainly, in the more individualistic culture of the European and Western world this is true whilst the collectivist cultures of Asia and Africa in particular, emphasise collective conscience which can be sought through religion. There are also other forms of expressing religious beliefs in the world today that are not sects, cults or traditional religions. Postmodernist Heelas argues that the New Age and self spirituality offer a means for experiencing religion in the world today because it encourages success in the outer world and the inner world simultaneously. Grace Davie, a secularisation theorist even pointed out that many people in the world today are believing without belonging – they still have a sense of spirituality but don’t show it through a religious organisation. In addition, all secularisation theorists consistently argue that people simply don’t have the time for religion any more in postmodern society . Professions and individualism and life projects have simply become more important than attending church weekly or praying daily. Certainly, in the more individualistic culture of the European and Western world this is true whilst the collectivist cultures of Asia and Africa in particular, emphasise collective conscience which can be sought through religion. There are also other forms of expressing religious beliefs in the world today that are not sects, cults or traditional religions. Postmodernist Heelas argues that the New Age and self spirituality offer a means for experiencing religion in the world today because it encourages success in the outer world and the inner world simultaneously. Grace Davie, a secularisation theorist even pointed out that many people in the world today are believing without belonging – they still have a sense of spirituality but don’t show it throw a religious organisation. In addition, all secularisation theorists consistently argue that people simply don’t have the time for religion any more in postmodern society. Professions and individualism and life projects have simply become more important than attending church weekly or praying daily. Certainly, in the more individualistic culture of the European and Western world this is true whilst the collectivist cultures of Asia and Africa in particular, emphasise collective conscience which can be sought through religion. There are also other forms of expressing religious beliefs in the world today that are not sects, cults or traditional religions. Postmodernist Heelas argues that the New Age and self spirituality offer a means for experiencing religion in the world today because it encourages success in the outer world and the inner world simultaneously. Grace Davie, a secularisation theorist even pointed out that many people in the world today are believing without belonging – they still have a sense of spirituality but don’t show it throw a religious organisation. In addition, all secularisation theorists consistently argue that people simply don’t have the time for religion any more in postmodern society. Professions and individualism and life projects have simply become more important than attending church weekly or praying daily. Certainly, in the more individualistic culture of the European and Western world this is true whilst the collectivist cultures of Asia and Africa in particular, emphasise collective conscience which can be sought through religion .
  • 18. To conclude, traditional religions have without a doubt, declined – but this is only in more Westernised cultures . Sects and cults have also become more prevalent because ICT allows them to be more easily accessed. However, the idea that sects and cults are replacing traditional religions is a weak one because it does not take into account the changes that have taken place in society. In reality, the nature of postmodern society changed first, and religion merely had to adjust. To conclude, traditional religions have without a doubt, declined – but this is only in more Westernised cultures. Sects and cults have also become more prevalent because ICT allows them to be more easily accessed. However, the idea that sects and cults are replacing traditional religions is a weak one because it does not take into account the changes that have taken place in society. In reality, the nature of postmodern society changed first, and religion merely had to adjust. To conclude, traditional religions have without a doubt, declined – but this is only in more Westernised cultures. Sects and cults have also become more prevalent because ICT allows them to be more easily accessed. However, the idea that sects and cults are replacing traditional religions is a weak one because it does not take into account the changes that have taken place in society. In reality, the nature of postmodern society changed first, and religion merely had to adjust. To conclude, traditional religions have without a doubt, declined – but this is only in more Westernised cultures. Sects and cults have also become more prevalent because ICT allows them to be more easily accessed. However, the idea that sects and cults are replacing traditional religions is a weak one because it does not take into account the changes that have taken place in society. In reality, the nature of postmodern society changed first, and religion merely had to adjust.