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Religion
    Sociology of Religion




1
What is Religion?

    F. C. Wallace

     Religion - is belief and ritual concerned with
     supernatural beings, powers, and forces

       Super natural beings are gods and goddesses,
       ghosts, and souls.



2
 Other sacred forces are impersonal.


     In many societies, people believe they can benefit
     from or manipulate supernatural forces.




3
William L. Reese

     Religion is defined as bodies of people who
     gather together regularly for worship.

     They accept a set of doctrines involving the
     relationship between the individual and
     divinity, the supernatural, or whatever is
     taken to be the ultimate nature of reality.


4
Emile Durkheim

     Durkheim argued that the religion was not
     divinely or supernaturally inspired, but was
     a product of society.

     Durkheim saw religion as a critical part of
     the social system. Religion acted as a
     source of solidarity and identification for
     the individuals within a society.


5
Victor Turner

    Religion comes from the word

    “communitas”, an intense community spirit, a
     feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and
     togetherness.




6
 He said, religion provided a meaning for life,
     it provided authority figures, and most
     importantly, it reinforced the morals and
     social norms held collectively by all within a
     society.

     Religion provides social control, cohesion,
     and purpose for people.



7
Peter Berger

     argued  that religion is a human
     construction, a social universe of
     meaning projecting a sacred cosmos.

     Religion is constructed to be a canopy of
     sacred objects and meanings.



8
 The sacred canopy is maintained by the
     social order, and in turn makes the
     objective    social    order     subjectively
     legitimated to every individual.




9
Origins of Religion
      Evolution of Religion by E. B. Taylor
      (1871-1958)

       Religion originated to explain things people did
        not understand

       Animism  Polytheism  Monotheism




10
Animism:

     Animism is a belief in spiritual beings; soul and
     body

      Mana

        Melanesians’ belief. Mana is a sacred
        impersonal force existing in the universe

        Mana  can reside in people, animals,
        plants and objects.



11
 Taboo

      Taboo – contacting the highest
       chiefs’ mana can be dangerous to
       the commoners.




12
Kinds of Religion
      Religions are parts of particular cultures,
      and cultural differences show up
      systematically in religious beliefs and
      practices.


      4 types of religion by Anthony Wallace

          Shamanic religions (Animism)
          Communal religions (Polytheism)
          Olympian religions (Polytheism)
          Monotheistic religions (Monotheism)

13
Shamanistic Religion
      Shaman    is a part time
      religious practitioner

      Shaman mediates between
      people and supernatural
      beings and forces

      Shamans     also   often
      practice medicine

14
 Shamans    often  set   themselves off
      symbolically from ordinary people by
      ambiguous sex or gender role.

      All societies have shamanic religion but it is
      most characteristic of foraging societies




15
Shamanistic Religion




16
Communal Religion
      In addition to Shamans, communal religion has
      community rituals such as harvest ceremonies
      and rites of passage.

      They usually do not have full time religious
      specialists.

      They believe in several deities (polytheism)
      Communal religions are more typical of farming
      societies

17
Olympian Religion
      The term Olympian comes from mount
      Olympus, home of the classical Greek
      gods thus Olympian religions are
      polytheistic,  gods    with   specialized
      functions (gods of love, war the sea and
      death…)

      Olympian    religions   arose with state
      organization       and     marked   social
      stratification

18
 Olympian    religions have   full   time   religious
      specialists, like priests

      Like  the state itself, the priesthood            is
      hierarchically and bureaucratically organized

      Olympian religions were characteristics of many
      non-industrialized nation-state such as Aztecs of
      Mexico, and classical Greece and Rome.




19
Monotheistic Religion

      They have full time religious specialists


      In Monotheistic religions, all supernatural
      phenomena are manifestations of a single
      eternal, omniscient,   omnipotent   and
      omnipresent supreme being.




20
World Religion




21
World Religion
 World religions according to their degree of internal unity and diversity
 The unified religions mean that they have doctorial similarity amongst the sub
  groups, they have less diversity in ritual practice and organization. The diverse
  religions are the opposite



Most Unified                                                              Most diverse
Baha’i
    Zoroastrianism
              Sikhism
                         Islam
                               Jainism
                              Judaism
                                                Taoism
                                                         Christianity
                                                                   Buddhism
                                                                       Hinduism

22
Function of Religion

        Religion     provides     meanings     and
         explanation
        Religion helps to cope with uncertainty,
         stress and anxiety
        Religion establish solidarity amongst the
         members
        Religion enforces social control
        Religion helps to cope with social changes


23
Meanings and Explanation

      Beliefs in souls – explains dream, trance and
       death
      Beliefs in supernatural force – explains
       differential success that people cannot
       understand in ordinary, natural terms
       People fail at hunting war because success
        comes (or does not come) from the supernatural
        world.



24
Uncertainty, Stress and Anxiety

      Religion     helps people to cope with
       uncertainty, anxiety, and stress.
      Religion helps people face death and endure
       life crisis.
      Religion helps people get through significant
       life events such as birth, puberty, marriage
       and death.




25
Magic
      People face uncertainty and danger, they
      turn to magic

      Magic refers to supernatural techniques
      intended to accomplish specific goals. The
      techniques including spells, formulas, and
      incantations used with deities or with
      impersonal forces



26
 Malinowski    who    studied  Trobriand
      Islanders found that they use magic when
      they were sailing, because they cannot
      control matters such as wind, weather,
      and the fish supply.

      Despite our improving technical skills, we
      cannot still control every out come, and
      magic persists in contemporary societies.

      Practicing of magic is widely observed,
      and can be associated with animism,
      mana, polytheism or monotheism.
27
28
Rites of Passage
      Rites of passage mark any change in place,
      condition, social position or age:

         From boyhood to manhood
         From nonmember to member
         From single to married
         From employed to retired

      , retirement part, graduation …etc.




29
 Rites of passage includes variety of rituals
      and activities such as, circumcision,
      confirmations,        wedding, baptisms,
      fraternity initiation




30
Rites of passage have three phase:

        Separation  Liminality  Incorporation
      Separation

       People withdraw from the group and begin
        moving from one place or status to another

      Incorporation:

       People return to the society/ group to complete
        the rite

31
Rites of Passage

      Liminality (rites)

      Liminal people occupy ambiguous social
      positions

      They are cut off from normal social contacts


      People experiencing liminality together form
      a community of equal.

32
 Social distinctions that have existed before
      or will exist afterward are temporarily
      forgotten.

      Liminal people experience the same
      treatment and conditions and must act
      alike




33
Solidarity
     Religion serves the social function of creating solidarity among
     people




34
Solidarity
     Totemism

      Totem can be animals,      plants   or
      geographic features

      Members of each totemic group believe
      themselves to be descendants of their
      totem.

      Killing or eating one’s own totemic
      animal is taboo.

35
 Totemic taboo was lifted once a year when
      people     assembled     for    ceremonies
      dedicated to the totem, and the annual
      rites were believed to be necessary for the
      totem’s survival and reproduction.

      Totems are sacred emblems symbolizing
      common identity and to maintain the
      solidarity of the members.

      In totemic rites people gather together to
      honor their totem and by doing so, they
      maintain the social oneness.


36
Social Control
     Code of Ethics
      Religions especially the formal organized
      ones prescribe a code of ethnics and
      morality to guide behavior

       Judaic Ten Commandants




37
 Moral codes are ways of maintaining order
      and stability

       Codes of     morality and ethics are repeated
        constantly in religious sermons, catechisms, and
        the    like,     they     become     internalized
        psychologically.

       They guide behavior and produce regret, guilt,
        shame, and the need for forgiveness, expiation,
        and absolution when they are not followed.




38
Witchcraft
      The   witchcraft accusations often are
      directed at socially marginal or anomalous
      individuals.

       Marriage, and post marital living arrangement

       Going out late

       Economically one benefited expensive of others




39
 Witchcraft accusation becomes a leveling
      mechanism, a custom or social action that
      operates to reduce differences in wealth
      and other aspects of life – a kind of social
      control.

      Religions offer rewards to ensure people’s
      proper behavior, such as fellowship of the
      religious community and punishments, such
      as the threat of being cast out or
      excommunicated.

40
Social Control
      Throughout history, political leaders have
      used religion to promote and justify their
      views and policies.

      Secular  leaders use religion to justify
      social control. Seeking power, they use
      religious rhetoric to get it.




41
The case of Taliban

      By 1996 the Taliban movement had firmly
       imposed an extreme form of social control in
       the name of religion of Afghanistan and its
       people
      The Taliban attempted to create their version of
       an Islamic society.
      Various repressive measures were instituted:




42
 Taliban barred women from work and girls from
       school
      Females past puberty were prohibited from
       talking to unrelated men.
      Taliban banned playing cards, listening to music,
       keeping pigeons, flying kites.




43
Reward

      Religions also maintain the social order by
      stressing the temporary and fleeting nature of this
      life

        Rewards in an afterlife, reincarnation…etc.


      Such beliefs serve to reinforce the status quo,
      people accept what they have now, knowing they
      can expect something better in the afterlife or the
      next life if they follow religious guidelines.

44
Religion and Social Changes
      Like political organization   religion   helps
      maintain social order

      Like political mobilization, religious energy
      can be harnessed not just for change but also
      for revolution

      Reacting to conquest or to actual or
      perceived foreign domination, religious
      leaders may seek to alter or revitalize their
      society

45
Revitalization movements
      Revitalization movements are social movements
      that occur in times of change in which religious
      leaders emerge and undertake to alter or revitalize a
      society

       Christianity originated as a revitalization movement
       Jesus was one of several prophets who preached new
        religious doctrines while the Middle East was under
        Roman rule.
       It was a time of social unrest, when a foreign power
        ruled the land
       Jesus inspired a new, enduring and major religion.

46
Revitalization Movements
      Handsome Lake religion

       Marginalization of Iroquois

       Vision of Handsome Lake started having visions. The
       visions offered a plan for coping with the new order.

       The teaching of Handsome Lake produced a new
       church and religion, and this new religion
       (revitalization movement) helped the Iroquois adapt
       to and survive in a modified environment.


47
 Handsome Lake religion emerged when
      natives have regular contact with
      industrial societies but lack their wealth,
      technology, and living standards.

      The religion is an attempt to explain
      European domination and wealth and to
      achieve similar success magically by
      mimicking   European   behavior  and
      manipulating symbols of the desired
      lifestyle.



48
Syncretisms
      Syncretisms are cultural mixes, including religious
      blends that emerge from acculturation.

      The cargo cults of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea

        The cargo cults are mixture of Christian doctrine
        with aboriginal beliefs.

        Many cults have used elements of       European
        culture as sacred objects. The rationale is that
        Europeans use these objects to have wealth thus
        they should mimic Europeans use or treat objects.


49
 Some  cargo cult prophets proclaimed that
        success would come through a reversal of
        European domination and native subjugation.

      Cargo cults are religious responses to the
      expansion of the world capitalist economy.

      Cargo cults however had political and economic
      results. Previously Melanesians were separated by
      geography, language, and customs, but being
      members of the same cults and followers of the
      same prophets, Melanesians started forming large
      groups.



50
Fundamentalism
      Fundamentalism          is     Antimordernist
       movements         in     various     religions.
       Antimodearnism is the rejection of the
       modern in favor of what is perceived as an
       earlier, purer, and better way of life.
      Fundamentalism          is     a       modern
       phenomenon, based on a strong feeling
       among its adherents of alienation from the
       surrounding modern culture.
      Fundamentalists      assert      an     identity
       separate from the larger religious group
51     which they arose.
 Fundamentalists advocate strict fidelity to
      the “true” religious principles.

      Fundamentalists also seek to rescue
      religion from absorption into modern,
      Western culture.

      Fundamentalists  see a sharp divide
      between themselves and other religions,
      and between a “sacred” view of life and the
      “secular” world and “nominal religion”



52
Wrap-up
      Religion is a cultural universal, consists of
      belief   and behavior concerned with
      supernatural beings, powers and forces.
      Religion    encompasses    the    feelings,
      meanings and congregations associated with
      such beliefs and behavior.




53
 E. B. Taylor introduced evolution of
     religions as Animism  Polytheism 
     Monotheism, and considered that
     animism is the religion’s earliest and
     most basic form.




54
 A. Wallace introduced 4 types of
       religion: Shamanistic, Communal,
       Olympian, and Monotheistic religion
      Religions have several functions:

       They    provide     meanings and
        explanation (magic)
       They    enable     to   cope with
        uncertainty, stress and anxiety
        (magic, rites of passage)
       They establish solidarity

55
 They provide social control (witchcraft,
      codes of ethics)

      They enable to cope with social
      changes (revitalization, syncretism,
      fundamentalism)




56

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Religion

  • 1. Religion Sociology of Religion 1
  • 2. What is Religion? F. C. Wallace  Religion - is belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces  Super natural beings are gods and goddesses, ghosts, and souls. 2
  • 3.  Other sacred forces are impersonal.  In many societies, people believe they can benefit from or manipulate supernatural forces. 3
  • 4. William L. Reese  Religion is defined as bodies of people who gather together regularly for worship.  They accept a set of doctrines involving the relationship between the individual and divinity, the supernatural, or whatever is taken to be the ultimate nature of reality. 4
  • 5. Emile Durkheim  Durkheim argued that the religion was not divinely or supernaturally inspired, but was a product of society.  Durkheim saw religion as a critical part of the social system. Religion acted as a source of solidarity and identification for the individuals within a society. 5
  • 6. Victor Turner Religion comes from the word “communitas”, an intense community spirit, a feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and togetherness. 6
  • 7.  He said, religion provided a meaning for life, it provided authority figures, and most importantly, it reinforced the morals and social norms held collectively by all within a society.  Religion provides social control, cohesion, and purpose for people. 7
  • 8. Peter Berger  argued that religion is a human construction, a social universe of meaning projecting a sacred cosmos.  Religion is constructed to be a canopy of sacred objects and meanings. 8
  • 9.  The sacred canopy is maintained by the social order, and in turn makes the objective social order subjectively legitimated to every individual. 9
  • 10. Origins of Religion  Evolution of Religion by E. B. Taylor (1871-1958)  Religion originated to explain things people did not understand  Animism  Polytheism  Monotheism 10
  • 11. Animism: Animism is a belief in spiritual beings; soul and body  Mana  Melanesians’ belief. Mana is a sacred impersonal force existing in the universe  Mana can reside in people, animals, plants and objects. 11
  • 12.  Taboo Taboo – contacting the highest chiefs’ mana can be dangerous to the commoners. 12
  • 13. Kinds of Religion  Religions are parts of particular cultures, and cultural differences show up systematically in religious beliefs and practices.  4 types of religion by Anthony Wallace  Shamanic religions (Animism)  Communal religions (Polytheism)  Olympian religions (Polytheism)  Monotheistic religions (Monotheism) 13
  • 14. Shamanistic Religion  Shaman is a part time religious practitioner  Shaman mediates between people and supernatural beings and forces  Shamans also often practice medicine 14
  • 15.  Shamans often set themselves off symbolically from ordinary people by ambiguous sex or gender role.  All societies have shamanic religion but it is most characteristic of foraging societies 15
  • 17. Communal Religion  In addition to Shamans, communal religion has community rituals such as harvest ceremonies and rites of passage.  They usually do not have full time religious specialists.  They believe in several deities (polytheism)  Communal religions are more typical of farming societies 17
  • 18. Olympian Religion  The term Olympian comes from mount Olympus, home of the classical Greek gods thus Olympian religions are polytheistic, gods with specialized functions (gods of love, war the sea and death…)  Olympian religions arose with state organization and marked social stratification 18
  • 19.  Olympian religions have full time religious specialists, like priests  Like the state itself, the priesthood is hierarchically and bureaucratically organized  Olympian religions were characteristics of many non-industrialized nation-state such as Aztecs of Mexico, and classical Greece and Rome. 19
  • 20. Monotheistic Religion  They have full time religious specialists  In Monotheistic religions, all supernatural phenomena are manifestations of a single eternal, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent supreme being. 20
  • 22. World Religion  World religions according to their degree of internal unity and diversity  The unified religions mean that they have doctorial similarity amongst the sub groups, they have less diversity in ritual practice and organization. The diverse religions are the opposite Most Unified Most diverse Baha’i Zoroastrianism Sikhism Islam Jainism Judaism Taoism Christianity Buddhism Hinduism 22
  • 23. Function of Religion  Religion provides meanings and explanation  Religion helps to cope with uncertainty, stress and anxiety  Religion establish solidarity amongst the members  Religion enforces social control  Religion helps to cope with social changes 23
  • 24. Meanings and Explanation  Beliefs in souls – explains dream, trance and death  Beliefs in supernatural force – explains differential success that people cannot understand in ordinary, natural terms  People fail at hunting war because success comes (or does not come) from the supernatural world. 24
  • 25. Uncertainty, Stress and Anxiety  Religion helps people to cope with uncertainty, anxiety, and stress.  Religion helps people face death and endure life crisis.  Religion helps people get through significant life events such as birth, puberty, marriage and death. 25
  • 26. Magic  People face uncertainty and danger, they turn to magic  Magic refers to supernatural techniques intended to accomplish specific goals. The techniques including spells, formulas, and incantations used with deities or with impersonal forces 26
  • 27.  Malinowski who studied Trobriand Islanders found that they use magic when they were sailing, because they cannot control matters such as wind, weather, and the fish supply.  Despite our improving technical skills, we cannot still control every out come, and magic persists in contemporary societies.  Practicing of magic is widely observed, and can be associated with animism, mana, polytheism or monotheism. 27
  • 28. 28
  • 29. Rites of Passage  Rites of passage mark any change in place, condition, social position or age:  From boyhood to manhood  From nonmember to member  From single to married  From employed to retired  , retirement part, graduation …etc. 29
  • 30.  Rites of passage includes variety of rituals and activities such as, circumcision, confirmations, wedding, baptisms, fraternity initiation 30
  • 31. Rites of passage have three phase: Separation  Liminality  Incorporation  Separation  People withdraw from the group and begin moving from one place or status to another  Incorporation:  People return to the society/ group to complete the rite 31
  • 32. Rites of Passage  Liminality (rites)  Liminal people occupy ambiguous social positions  They are cut off from normal social contacts  People experiencing liminality together form a community of equal. 32
  • 33.  Social distinctions that have existed before or will exist afterward are temporarily forgotten.  Liminal people experience the same treatment and conditions and must act alike 33
  • 34. Solidarity Religion serves the social function of creating solidarity among people 34
  • 35. Solidarity Totemism  Totem can be animals, plants or geographic features  Members of each totemic group believe themselves to be descendants of their totem.  Killing or eating one’s own totemic animal is taboo. 35
  • 36.  Totemic taboo was lifted once a year when people assembled for ceremonies dedicated to the totem, and the annual rites were believed to be necessary for the totem’s survival and reproduction.  Totems are sacred emblems symbolizing common identity and to maintain the solidarity of the members.  In totemic rites people gather together to honor their totem and by doing so, they maintain the social oneness. 36
  • 37. Social Control Code of Ethics  Religions especially the formal organized ones prescribe a code of ethnics and morality to guide behavior  Judaic Ten Commandants 37
  • 38.  Moral codes are ways of maintaining order and stability  Codes of morality and ethics are repeated constantly in religious sermons, catechisms, and the like, they become internalized psychologically.  They guide behavior and produce regret, guilt, shame, and the need for forgiveness, expiation, and absolution when they are not followed. 38
  • 39. Witchcraft  The witchcraft accusations often are directed at socially marginal or anomalous individuals.  Marriage, and post marital living arrangement  Going out late  Economically one benefited expensive of others 39
  • 40.  Witchcraft accusation becomes a leveling mechanism, a custom or social action that operates to reduce differences in wealth and other aspects of life – a kind of social control.  Religions offer rewards to ensure people’s proper behavior, such as fellowship of the religious community and punishments, such as the threat of being cast out or excommunicated. 40
  • 41. Social Control  Throughout history, political leaders have used religion to promote and justify their views and policies.  Secular leaders use religion to justify social control. Seeking power, they use religious rhetoric to get it. 41
  • 42. The case of Taliban  By 1996 the Taliban movement had firmly imposed an extreme form of social control in the name of religion of Afghanistan and its people  The Taliban attempted to create their version of an Islamic society.  Various repressive measures were instituted: 42
  • 43.  Taliban barred women from work and girls from school  Females past puberty were prohibited from talking to unrelated men.  Taliban banned playing cards, listening to music, keeping pigeons, flying kites. 43
  • 44. Reward  Religions also maintain the social order by stressing the temporary and fleeting nature of this life  Rewards in an afterlife, reincarnation…etc.  Such beliefs serve to reinforce the status quo, people accept what they have now, knowing they can expect something better in the afterlife or the next life if they follow religious guidelines. 44
  • 45. Religion and Social Changes  Like political organization religion helps maintain social order  Like political mobilization, religious energy can be harnessed not just for change but also for revolution  Reacting to conquest or to actual or perceived foreign domination, religious leaders may seek to alter or revitalize their society 45
  • 46. Revitalization movements  Revitalization movements are social movements that occur in times of change in which religious leaders emerge and undertake to alter or revitalize a society  Christianity originated as a revitalization movement  Jesus was one of several prophets who preached new religious doctrines while the Middle East was under Roman rule.  It was a time of social unrest, when a foreign power ruled the land  Jesus inspired a new, enduring and major religion. 46
  • 47. Revitalization Movements  Handsome Lake religion  Marginalization of Iroquois  Vision of Handsome Lake started having visions. The visions offered a plan for coping with the new order.  The teaching of Handsome Lake produced a new church and religion, and this new religion (revitalization movement) helped the Iroquois adapt to and survive in a modified environment. 47
  • 48.  Handsome Lake religion emerged when natives have regular contact with industrial societies but lack their wealth, technology, and living standards.  The religion is an attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar success magically by mimicking European behavior and manipulating symbols of the desired lifestyle. 48
  • 49. Syncretisms  Syncretisms are cultural mixes, including religious blends that emerge from acculturation.  The cargo cults of Melanesia and Papua New Guinea  The cargo cults are mixture of Christian doctrine with aboriginal beliefs.  Many cults have used elements of European culture as sacred objects. The rationale is that Europeans use these objects to have wealth thus they should mimic Europeans use or treat objects. 49
  • 50.  Some cargo cult prophets proclaimed that success would come through a reversal of European domination and native subjugation.  Cargo cults are religious responses to the expansion of the world capitalist economy.  Cargo cults however had political and economic results. Previously Melanesians were separated by geography, language, and customs, but being members of the same cults and followers of the same prophets, Melanesians started forming large groups. 50
  • 51. Fundamentalism  Fundamentalism is Antimordernist movements in various religions. Antimodearnism is the rejection of the modern in favor of what is perceived as an earlier, purer, and better way of life.  Fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon, based on a strong feeling among its adherents of alienation from the surrounding modern culture.  Fundamentalists assert an identity separate from the larger religious group 51 which they arose.
  • 52.  Fundamentalists advocate strict fidelity to the “true” religious principles.  Fundamentalists also seek to rescue religion from absorption into modern, Western culture.  Fundamentalists see a sharp divide between themselves and other religions, and between a “sacred” view of life and the “secular” world and “nominal religion” 52
  • 53. Wrap-up  Religion is a cultural universal, consists of belief and behavior concerned with supernatural beings, powers and forces. Religion encompasses the feelings, meanings and congregations associated with such beliefs and behavior. 53
  • 54.  E. B. Taylor introduced evolution of religions as Animism  Polytheism  Monotheism, and considered that animism is the religion’s earliest and most basic form. 54
  • 55.  A. Wallace introduced 4 types of religion: Shamanistic, Communal, Olympian, and Monotheistic religion  Religions have several functions:  They provide meanings and explanation (magic)  They enable to cope with uncertainty, stress and anxiety (magic, rites of passage)  They establish solidarity 55
  • 56.  They provide social control (witchcraft, codes of ethics)  They enable to cope with social changes (revitalization, syncretism, fundamentalism) 56