What are other beliefs systems - Science and ideology.
Theories of Religion:
Functionalism - Durkheim, Malinowski, Parsons and Bellah
Marxism & Neo- Marxism – Gramsci & Maduro
Characteristics of science, Ideology and religion
Karl popper – Falsification theory
Thomas Kuhn – Scientific revolutions
Political ideology – Nazism
Theories of religion Emile Durkheim (1912) Did a study of the Arunta aboriginal tribes in Australia. He found that religion has social functions for its members. Sacred and profane Durkheim found tribes treated most things as ordinary ( profane ) but some things were set apart as forbidden and inspire awe (Sacred). Durkheim argued these special things represent something of great power and in his view this can only be society. Thus worshipping these things is worshipping society, even if these tribes weren’t aware of it. Collective consciousness Taking part in rituals reaffirms our commitment to shared ideas, goals and aims and allows us to work as a group, society couldn’t survive without it. Attending rituals allows us to bond with others and strengthens social solidarity. Bronislaw Malinowski (1954) Religion performs a social function by providing psychological support during times of emotional stress that might otherwise threaten social life. Such as life crisis like birth marriage and death and it helps with uncertain and uncontrollable events.
Talcott Parsons (1965 )
Religion sacralises (makes sacred) norms and values, meaning individuals accept societies goals as their own.
Religion is the primary source of meaning for people in society. It provides answers to those unanswered questions about the world and humanity.
Robert Bellah (1967) Some religions are civil (non-religious) and are national religions which unite a nation of people under collective norms and values. The USA and God bless America is the best example. Substantive definition To be a religion it must have a belief in god or the supernatural, (Exclusivist) Functional definition To be a religion it must have a social or psychological function for its believers or society (Inclusivist).
Theories of religion Marxism A Structuralist theory which says religion is bad because it is used by the Bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat and create false class consciousness. Exploitation Religion is a tool used by the Bourgeoisie to convince them to accept low paid jobs. Alienation Workers are alienated from the products they produce, other workers and our own human nature Religion isn’t the real problem Capitalism is the problem, although religion may offer solace & comfort it won’t help people realise the inherent contractions of Capitalism. Opium of the masses Religion is like a drug which makes us feel good but doesn’t encourage us to change our situation.
Christianity and Judaism, the poor are offered heavenly rewards for their unequal social positions.
Hinduism and Buddhism the promise of a better life through reincarnation provides comfort and solace.
Marx says religion will have no place in Communism
From the product: We put out blood sweat and tears into things then they are taken away from us.
From our species : The division of labour divides workers from managers.
From human nature : its not in our to do just one job we should be able to fulfil all aspects of our nature.
Religion is part of the ruling class ideology that distorts the true nature of reality leading to false class consciousness.
Theories of religion Neo-Marxism A Structuralist theory inspired by Marxism which updates these ideas for the modern day Karl Marx Marx believe religion could never be used by the working class to change society. It is part of the system which distorts reality Neo-Marxist response Antonio Gramsci Was impressed by Hegemony the control that institutions have over peoples consciousness (ideas) Working class consciousness For a communist revolution to happen the working class need to take their problems to the church who could challenge the dominant ruling class ideology Otto Maduro Agrees with Gramsci that religion could be used as a final resort against the dominant ruling class. This will happen if the working class go to the churches. Examples are found in Poland and Latin America Liberation Theology Created in the 50’s and 60’s as a religious justification for the liberation of oppressed people. Examples Father Camilo Torres
Theories of religion Feminism A Structuralist theory which says religion is bad because it is a patriarchal institution that reflects and continues the inequality between men and women. Patriarchy The dominance of men over women in all aspects of society Evidence of Patriarchy Religious organisations Men hold all position of power in religious organisations. Women often not allowed to be priests in Judaism and Catholic church. Places of worship Women often excluded from places of worship in Islam and Judaism Sacred texts Women often depicted as sinners or subordinate to men like in the creation story, or Mary Magdalene. Religious laws and customs Women often expected to act and dress differently to men. Examples are women in Islam and the use of the veil. Counter evidence Over 6000 years ago women depicted as powerful mother nature types The Church of England has permitted women’s ordination into the priesthood since 1992, 1/5 of all priests are now female. Women in evangelical churches use religion to maintain positions of power Helen Watson Argues that many Muslim women see the veil as a symbol of freedom as it allows them enter public buildings and attend university. Without the veil they wouldn’t be welcomed.
Karl popper (1959) Popper says science is so great because it is an open belief system that can be criticised. Also science works by falsifying theories. Theory of falsification A theory can and is only scientific if it can be falsified meaning proved to be true or false. Statements like god exists cannot be proven true or false therefore are unscientific ‘ All knowledge is provisional, temporary and capable of being proved false at any time.’ No theory can ever be said to be 100% true, because there could always exist evidence to contradict it somewhere. Scientific knowledge Evidence The theory that the earth is flat wasn’t disproven until 1961 Evidence Before Copernicus (1543) the entire world thought the earth was the centre of the universe Popper says even theories like the big bang which we believe to be true are not 100% true and could be proven to be wrong.
Features of religion
Subjective (based on feelings and emotions)
Based on faith
Theories are untested but thought to be true
God’s existence explains the world.
Theories never changed or modified despite the evidence.
Theories of Science Thomas Kuhn (1970) Disagrees with Popper both about how valuable scientific knowledge is and how it is gained Two main problems Scientific knowledge never really progresses or develops it just changes. If Scientific and religious knowledge cannot be compared with each other how can we say one is better than the other? Paradigms A set of assumptions shared by a community of people
what reality is like
what problems to study
what methods and equipment to use
what counts as evidence
What the answers they should find are
Scientific paradigm This guides how science is practiced such as using microscopes doing experiments looking for cause and effect relationships etc Religion is a paradigm which has a completely different set of assumptions
How do we get scientific knowledge?
A paradigm is set with shared assumptions.
The paradigm is unquestioned.
Contradictory evidence is found.
Rival paradigms are formulated
Of the two paradigms one wins favour among scientists. The process begins again.
Of the two paradigms one wins favour among scientists. The process begins again.
Flat earth theory vs. Round earth theory
The earth is flat.
Investigations into the edge of the world.
Explorers travel to the edge of the world and don’t fall off.
Scientists suggest the earth must be round.
Both flat earth theory and round earth theory exist and compete as ideas until all scientists abandon one for the other.
Theories of Ideology Marxism The problem is ruling class ideology creates false class consciousness. The solution is Communism.
All ideologies have the following features:
They think society has a central problem.
There ideas are based around evidence to convince us.
They offer a solution to the problem.
Ideologies have happened in the real world in various countries and times.
Definition A worldview or set of ideas and values about how the world works. Often the term is associated with distortion and biased ideas but it doesn’t have to be. Real world: Russian (1917), China (1921), Eastern Europe (1945) Feminism The problem is society is patriarchal, men rule over women in all aspects of social life. The solution is equal rights or the separation of men and women Real world: The suffragettes movement, Equal rights act across the world Political ideology – Nazism Germany has suffered because of the Jews and poor leadership. The solution is a unified nation with Hitler’s strong leadership. Real world: Nazism Germany (1933-1945). Neo-Nazi movements across the world
How does religion affect the lives of everyday people.
Is religion a conservative force which doesn’t change society?
Is religion a radical force when can help society progress?
Max Weber – Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalist
The Black civil rights movement
Fundamentalism – The Christian Right, The hated family in America
Conservative force Functionalism Religion doesn’t change society but that is a good thing because religion is crucial to society functioning and it being healthy Marxism Religion doesn’t change society, this is a bad thing because religion is a tool used by the bourgeoisie to exploit the Proletariat Feminism Religion doesn’t change society, this is a bad thing because religion is used by men to dominate over women in social life Evaluation Pro: Religion does have positive functions which help keep society together. Con : They ignore the reality that religion has been a source of conflict and division Con: Marxism and Feminism say religion doesn’t change this to preserve inequality Evaluation Pro: Highlights the reality that some religion treat men and women differently. Con: Not all religions are patriarchal – evangelical, Sikhism, Buddhism Con: Functionalism says religion is good for society Evaluation Pro: Religion can be divisive and oppressive. Con: Ignores the functional aspects that religion gives to its believers Con: Feminism says not oppressive to working class but women.
Radical force Neo-Marxism Religion is a radical force because Gramsci and Maduro say religion could be used to change society if the working class go to them for support Max Weber 1. The Protestant Ethic The idea that Calvinists believers no longer work to survive but as a calling to get into god’s good graces 2. The Spirit of Capitalism To spend money on yourself is frowned upon so believers reinvest money in their businesses 3. Social change The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism actually change society economically The Black civil rights movement This movement in the 50’s and 60’s changed racial segregation in America. Christianity and Martin Luther King were crucial in gaining public support for the movement which ended segregation in 1964. Steve Bruce – Religion and social protest movements Churches and meeting places were sanctuaries and prayers and hymns a source of unity the black clergy were able to shame whites into changing the law by appealing to their shared Christian values of equality. The Christian Right This is a politically and morally conservative, protestant fundamentalist movement. They wish to make abortion, homosexuality and divorce illegal. They campaign for traditional family values and gender roles and for creationism to be taught in schools. Main problem: They go against mainstream American liberal, democratic values
Why have some new organisations developed in the last 40 years.
Substantive and functional
Churches, denominations, sects and cults
Churches and Sects – Troeltsch (1919)
Denominations and cults – Niebuhr (1929)
New Religious Movements
(60’s & 70’s) – Roy Wallis, World accommodating, rejecting and affirming.
New Age Movements
(1980’s) – Heelas, Self-spirituality
Inclusive Less exclusive than sect but doesn’t appeal to all of society Exclusive Inclusive M embership People who have moved away from meta-narratives to the power within themselves Those who believe the original message has been lost Poor and oppressed Higher classes due to conservative ideology A ttracts Scientology Transcendental meditation Methodists Baptists Jehovah Witness Evangelical Christianity Roman Catholic Church Church of England E xamples Accepts wider society Accepts wider society Hostile to wider society Accepts wider society R elationship to society Low Some restrictions but less than sects High Low C ommitment Small Medium Small Large S ize of organisation Cult Niebuhr (1929) Denomination Niebuhr (1929) Sect Troeltsch (1912) Church Troeltsch (1912) Feature
Types of religious organisation Roy Wallis – New Religious Movements (1984) Wallis says a new type of religious movement has emerged in the 60’s and 70’s which previous definitions cannot account for. World-rejecting Jim Jones, Children of God and the Moonies all reject society’s norms and values for a religious alternative. World accommodating Neo-Pentecostalists and the Subud choose to neither reject or accept society’s values but prefer to focus on religious matters. World affirming Scientology and Transcendental meditation accept the world and offer success in mainstreams goals like relationships. These are often called psychological religions 1. Marginality Troeltsch and Weber both highlight that sects tend to draw from the poor and oppressed in society for whom they offer a religious justification for their misfortune. 2. Relative deprivation This refers to the subjective sense of being spiritually deprived in relation to other people and wanting this fulfilled. 3. Social change People may turn to sects as a result of rapid social change in society. Changing social norms and values leads to insecurity, some may turn to sects as a solution to this. Explanations for growth Denomination or death Neibuhr says the life of a sect is often short lived they either die out or abandon their extreme beliefs in order to become a denomination.
A split between organisations.
A charismatic leader takes charge.
Second generation more disinterested than the first.
Sect becomes more world-accepting to each tension.
Radical members start a new sect which has a more original message.
Types of religious organisation Heelas – New Age Movements These are a collection of beliefs prominent since the 1980’s. These include beliefs in UFO’s and aliens, astrology, tarot cards, crystals, various forms of alternative medicine like holistic healing and psychotherapy, yoga, meditation and magic. Self-spirituality : New Age seeking the spiritual have turned away from external religions such as churches and instead look inside themselves. Detraditionalisation The New Age rejects the authority of traditional sources such as priests or sacred texts in favour of personal experience and discovering the truth within yourself.
No organised structure
No leaders or text
Emphasis on environment
Any-one can join and choose commitment.
Reasons for growth Postmodernity John Drane argues their growth is due to postmodernism and a growth in meta-narratives. This loss of faith leads them inwards.
NAM’s linked with:-
A source of identity
Rapid social change
Decline in organised religion
Bruce says NAM’s linked to individualism of late modernity not postmodernism
Sexuality Religions seem to have a problem with sexuality in particular issues with masturbation and menstruations
Reasons for leaving the church
Greater family diversity
Women in NRM’s & NAM’s An increase in women’s participation in NRM’s and NAM’s is due to their more positive image of women in general and their role in society Ellen White (1827 – 1915) Was a prolific Christian author and founder of the Seventh day Adventists. Mary Baker (1821 - 1910) Author, spiritual leader and lecturer and founder of Christian science.
Women more religious or spiritual.
Religion seen as extension of their family role.
Religion links housewives with the wider community.
71% Christian, 2.8% Muslim, 15% have no religion (U.K).
Majority of Christians are white and black.
Sikhism, Hinduism and Muslim are Asian.
African-Caribbean's and Asians attend the most religious services and have the highest levels of belief.
Martin Luther King The fact he was Christian and Black was significant to the civil rights movement and its success Malcolm X Considered less significant perhaps because he was a Muslim. Reasons for ethnic religiousness Country of origin Ethnic minorities come from countries with high religious belief and practice. Cultural defence religion for an immigrant offers a sense of cultural identity in uncertain environments Cultural transition Religion can be a means of easing transition into a new culture Racism Religion positively reinforces their ethnic identity in the face of racism. Degree of control how much control does a person’s faith have over their everyday lives, in Christianity not much. Religion and the second generation Modood, Knott and Butler all did research on second generation Muslims and found that they considered religion and cultural identity to be less important
Older people see themselves as religious while middle aged spiritual and young people as neither.
Evangelical church has managed to attract younger members due to its active and fun style of worship.
Grace Davie Young people still have religious belief but don’t see the need to express this by going to church. Science The rise of science and rationalism have damaged the authority of the church to answer the eternal questions of life such as where did the earth come from. Postmodern choice Young people have a wide range of religions/spiritual to choose from, they can pick and mix beliefs. Religious socialisation Parents that grew up in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were religiously socialised in that religious institutions were more influential than today Ageing effect As we get closer to death we become more interested in matters of death and more likely to look towards religion for traditional answers. Sects and cults Young people more likely to join sects as they have less to lose. Middle aged more likely to join cults as they emphasis individual development towards goals Explanations
Social class and religion Marxism It’s the Proletariat (working class) that suffer from a distorted reality. Class and religion are highly important because religion is being used by one class to dominate another. Class is wrong and religion helps to maintain it. Neo-Marxism Religion not just a part of the system of oppression, it can be independent of it if utilised by the working class against the ruling class. Class and religion not opposed like Marx says. Functionalism Functionalists don’t believe classes are being exploited by religion therefore social classes aren’t inherently wrong. Max Weber Class and religion are important, Calvinists through their protestant work ethic created the industrial class in other words the Bourgeoisie. Upper class and religion The most likely group to be religious and belong to traditional religions like churches because of their conservative ideology Middle class and religion A diverse group who attend churches, denominations and NAM’s. Likely to be spiritual shoppers due to spending power Working class and religion Those who are poor and oppressed who are religious because it offers them comfort and solace in the afterlife. Those that ignore religion because it doesn’t represent or address the problems they face now
How do we explain a resurgence of religious belief outside Europe?
Postmodernism and religion
Definition and Issues
Arguments for secularisation
Institutions, practices and beliefs – Steve Bruce & Bryan Wilson
Spiritual revolution thesis – Heelas and Woodhead
Arguments against secularisation
Grace Davie – Believing without belonging
Religious market theory – Stark and Bainbridge
Spiritual shopping – Hervieu-Legers
Existential security theory – Norris and Ingleheart
Globalisation and religion Globalisation Definition: The way in which we seem to live in an increasingly ‘ shrinking world’, where societies are becoming more interconnected and dependant on each other. Meera Nandas (2008) God and Globalisation Key idea: Globalisation can change religion. Modern Weberian examples Religion can change society Capitalism in East Asia Redding (1990) argues Post-Confucian values such as hard work, self discipline, frugality and a commitment to education and self-improvement have been like a protestant ethic in Singapore, South Korea. Pentecostalism in Latin America Peter Berger (2003) says this movement is similar to Calvinism in the 16th century. Its values of frugality and hard work make Pentecostalism in line with modern capitalism Pentecostalism in Africa It has shown its ability to adapt and include local traditional beliefs and surpass them. This has led to a new ‘africanisation’ of Christianity rather the total annihilation of old beliefs 1. India more successful due to globalisation but more religious than ever before (unusual). 2. Nanda’s says this is because Hinduism has adopted to a new Globalised (successful) India. 3. Hinduism now says you can be successful and be a good Hindu.
Religious Fundamentalism Giddens - Religious fundamentalists are traditionalists that want to return to the basics of religion. They believe in the literal truth of the bible. They refuse to engage with other belief systems because they believe they have access to the truth. Dogmatism vs. Cosmopolitanism Fundamentalists are dogmatic in their beliefs as they are often unwilling to engage in debate with others, they believe they have special access to the truth. Iranian revolution In 1953 the US/U.K backed the over throw of the Iranian government by the Shah (emperor of iran). People didn’t like the cultural western changes that Iran experienced during this time so began to riot in the streets.
Huntington – Clash of civilisations
Globalisation has led to a clash of civilisations
9/11 – July Bombings
Religion vs. non-religion
Us vs. them relationships
Future: the west versus the rest, new anti-western military alliances.
The Christian Right A movement in America which thinks society has become too liberal and they wish to make abortion, homosexuality and divorce illegal. Unlike other movements this has made little progress in affecting change. The Revolution happened in 1979 as the Shah had to leave the country due to fear of death. Ayatollah Khomeini was backed as the new leader, he wanted Iran to return to traditional Islamic values. He made Iran into an Islamic republic and imposed shariah law.
The rise of diverse meta-narratives in the world has led to greater uncertainly about the truth. People less likely to believe in absolute truth
Features of Postmodernism
Growth in communication and technology
Identity based on consumption
Picking and mixing
More risk and uncertainty
2. A growth in fundamentalism Zygmunt Bauman says fundamentalism is an extreme counter response to the fragmented and ever-changing non-religious world and a return to the golden age of how things were when society was much simpler. 3. Spread of NRM’s and NAM’s Postmodern society encourages people to select religious beliefs and practices that suit their chosen identities. Many think the array of beliefs and practices allows believers to pick and mix the aspects they like
A variety of beliefs doesn’t mean they are equal, people know the difference between surgery and aura healing.
Mass consumption might be about being manipulated by the media not an individual expressing themselves.
3. Fundamentalism predates Postmodernism and goes back in some cases over a 1000 years.
Arguments for secularisation Definition The process whereby religious beliefs, practices and institutions lose significance (Bryan Wilson). Church attendance Bryan Wilson says attendance has dropped from 40% in 1851 to 10-15 in the 1960’s. This is projected to fall to 4.7% by 2015. Religious institutions Churches had an important social role in public life with regards to law and order and education. These responsibilities have been given to other institutions. Even the number of clergy has declined despite a population explosion. Heelas and Woodhead – Spiritual revolution thesis Study found 7.9% found in churches and chapels 1.6% doing spiritual stuff Conclusion Spiritual revolution not happened therefore secularisation is occurring. Issues What kind of decline? Religion can be declining on a societal level and not within individuals and vice versa. What about NRM’s and NAM’s these seem to be rising are they religions? Religion maybe declining in the west but for the rest of the world this isn’t the case. Religious beliefs More people say they are religious than attend church. Robin Gill et al argues that even religious belief is declining.
Explanations for secularisation Max Weber Around the 16 th century the western world started to move towards Rationalisation – the process of thought that requires ldeas to be justified and thought out. This way of thinking replaced religious thought for many people. For the most part Europe was dominated by the Medieval catholic view that the world is magical and mystical A technological worldview Means we look for a scientific or technological explanation for why things happen rather than a religious or supernatural explanation. Structural differentiation According to Parsons institutions like religion performed many roles in small communities such as education, spreading news and providing comfort and support. Parsons says these have been taken over by specialist institutions like education and the media. This leads to the disengagement of religion as it becomes disconnected from society and privatised to the home Social and cultural diversity The move from pre-industrial to industrial society has brought about the decline of community and therefore the function of religion. Religious diversity Peter Berger argues for a plurality of life worlds , where choice is available uncertainty and confidence in the truth decline. This rationalisation has led to Disenchantment - where the magic and mystery of the world have been unveiled and the natural order of the world has been revealed through science.
Arguments against secularisation Grace Davie Young people privatise religion by separating there belief from there need to express it by belonging to a religious institution. People experience religion vicariously via religious priests and vicars, whilst attending services at important times like birth, deaths and marriages. Religious market theory Stark and Bainbridge say religion isn’t declining and will never end. Secularisation is a cycle where institutions start to decline, which makes space for NRM’s which revive and renew people beliefs. They believe that people are naturally religious and that in order for religion to thrive there needs to be lots of different types to create competition and diversity. Spiritual shopping Danielle Hervieu-leger says children are no longer socialised by religion so have lost it as a source of identity ‘ cultural amnesia’ . Parents let children choose their identity for themselves, they have become spiritual shoppers choosing religions that reflect their needs and aspirations. Pilgrims choose an individual path of self-discovery while converts choose groups for their strong sense of identity. Existential security theory Norris and Ingleheart say the need for religion is based on how emotionally and financially secure a country is. People are more religious in poor and oppressed countries and less in wealthy countries like England. USA is a rich society which seems secure, but is highly religious. They this is because of the huge difference between rich and poor people, saying only some are secure the rest are not . Criticism: Vasquez: to be existentially secure isn’t just about money.
Criticism: Voas and Crockett (2005) Surveys show that belief and attendance is in decline. Bruce says can we believe without belonging?
Bruce says can you believe and not belong – Weak religion.
Criticism: Bruce some countries have religious diversity and still have decline. Are people naturally religious?