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Sociology And Religion
By:
Muhammad khuzaima
3
Religion and Society
• What is religion?
– A system of beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies
– Promotes community among followers
– Provides a personal spiritual experience for its
members
4
The Great Transformation of Societies
• In preindustrial societies, religion dominates all
aspects of society.
• In industrial societies, the institution of religion has
become separated from many social and economic
activities
5
Function of Religion
• What does religion do for people?
– Gives them hope of something better than what
they have now.
– Gives answers to unknowing questions.
• What happens when I die?
• Why am I here?
• What is the point to life?
– Serves to bind people together in times of crisis and
confusion
6
Social Change
• How can religion contribute to social
change?
• Protestant work ethic:
• Disciplined commitment to worldly labor driven by
a desire to bring glory to God
• Shared by followers of Martin Luther and John
Calvin
• Do you think Religion teaches ‘work ethic’?
• How?
7
Social Control
• Can religion control society?
– Yes?
– Inhibits social change
– Forces masses into submission by offering a
consolation for their harsh lives on earth
– Promotes social instability by perpetuating patterns of
social inequality
– Believers vs. Nonbelievers
Examples of Social Control by Religion
8
Examples of Social Control by Religion
9
10
Gender and Religion
– Women have played fundamental role in religious
socialization
• However, they take subordinate role in religious
leadership
• Most religions are patriarchal
– Leader is a male
– Reinforce men’s dominance in secular and spiritual matters
• Women compose 12.8 percent of U.S. clergy
11
Characteristics of Religion
• Beliefs
– Ideas, based upon faith, that people consider true
• The sacred
– Sacred: that which has supernatural qualities
• Rituals
– Routines that reinforce the faith
• Moral communities
– People who share a religious belief
• Personal experience
– Grants meaning to life
12
Americans Believe
13
3 Components of Religion
• Denominations
• Sects
• Cults
14
Components of Religion
– Denomination:
– Large, organized religion with strong support
in the world
– Christianity
– Muslim
– Judaism
– Hinduism
15
Components of Religion
– Sect:
– Relatively small religious group that has broken
away from some other religious organization to
renew what it considers the original vision of
the faith
• Protestants
• Episcopalians
• Church of Christ
16
American’s Religious Preferences
17
Components of Religion
– Cult
– Small, alternative faith community that
represents either a new religion or a major
innovation in an existing faith
• Similar to sects
• Tend to be small
• Are often viewed as less respectable than
more established faiths
18
Sects and Cults
• Cults
– Non-conventional religious
group
– Social conditions demand
separation
– Members required to
withdraw from normal life
– Full-time communal
obligation for members
19
Christianity
• World’s largest religion
• 2 largest branches
– Roman Catholic
• Pope is head of Church in Vatican City.
– Protestant
• Luther breaks away from Roman Catholic Church in 16th
century
Islam
• Second largest religion in world
• Significant beliefs and practices
– Only one god that all must recognize
– Daily prayer, share wealth, pilgrimage
• No centralized authority
– Local clerics rule often with close state ties
– Two major sects
• Sunni
• Shiite
20
Judaism
• Numerically smallest of world religions
• Important beliefs:
– God’s chosen people
– Torah: first 5 books of the Bible; oldest truths from God
• Major divisions
– Orthodox: strictly traditional
– Reform: liberal and worldly
– Conservative: middle ground between Orthodox and
Reform
21
Hinduism
• Largest of the Eastern religions
– Concentrated largely in India
• Important beliefs
– Dharma: special force makes daily demands and sacred
obligations
– Karma: spirit remains through life, death, rebirth
• Organization
– Caste membership
22
Buddhism
• Large religion throughout Asia
– Includes southeast Asian countries and China
• Based upon teachings of the Buddha, the
enlightened one
– Monks and lay people spread his teachings
• Important beliefs
– To relieve human suffering one must follow a path that
ultimately leads to enlightenment
– “Right” thoughts and actions must be daily performed and
evaluated through meditation
23
Confucianism
• Originated with Confucius attempting to solve practical
problems of daily living
– Wisdom summarized guides management of society
• Jen: human sympathy that binds people in 5 basic
relationships
– Sovereign and subject
– Parent and child
– Older brother and younger brother
– Husband and wife
– Friend and friend
• Proper etiquette and ritual help these relationships
24
25
Is religion bad?
• Stunts intellectual growth
– Spanish Inquisition
• Arrested or killed any philosophers against Church.
– Galileo
– Enlightenment Movement in Europe.
• Causes social inequality
– Believers vs. nonbelievers
– Denomination vs. Denomination
Is religion good?
• Gives hope of something better!
• Answers questions science fails to.
• Gives us community spirit!
– Not to mention cool holidays!
Sociological Theories of Religion
Marxist theories of religion
• Marx’s theory of religion needs to be seen in
the context of his general view of society,
capitalism dominates the working class
Whereas functionalism sees religion as a
unifying force that strengthens the value
consensus and is a feature of all societies.
Marxism sees religion as a feature only of
class- divided society, as such there will be no
need for religion in classless society and it will
disappear.
Religion As Ideology
• For Marx, ideology is a belief system that
changes people’s perception of reality in ways
that serve the interests of the ruling class. He
argues that the class that controls economic
production also controls the production and
distribution of ideas in society, though
institutions such as the church, the education
system and the media
Cont…
• In Marx’s view, religion operates as an ideological
weapon used by the ruling class to justify the suffering
of the poor as something inevitable and God-given.
Religion misleads the poor into believing that their
suffering is virtuous and that they will be favoured in
the afterlife. Such beliefs create a false consciousness.
Lenin describes religion as ‘spiritual gin’- an intoxicant
doled out to the masses by the ruling class to continue
them and keep them in their place. Lenin argues the
ruling class use religion cynically to manipulate the
masses and keep them from attempting to overthrow
the ruling class by creating a ‘mystical fog’ that
obscures reality.
Cont…
• Religion legitimates the power and privilege of
the dominate class by making their position
appear to be divinely ordained. For example,
the 16th century idea of the Divine Right of
the Kings was the belief that that the king is
God’s representative on earth and is owed
total obedience to God’s authority.
Religion And Alienation
• Alienation involves becoming separated from or loosing control
over something that one has produced or created. Alienation exists
in all classes, but is more extreme under capitalism. Under
capitalism workers are alienated because they do not own what
they produce and have no control over the production process, and
have no freedom to express their true nature detailed division of
labour in the capitalist factory, where the worker endlessly repeats
the same tasks. Religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain of
exploitation. But just as opium masks pain rather than treating its
cause, so religion masks the underlying problem of exploitation that
creates the need for it. Because religion is a distorted view of the
world, it can offer no solution to earthly misery. In instead, its
promises of the afterlife create an illusory happiness that distracts
attention from the true source of the suffering, namely
capitalism.
Cont…
• Thus, Marx sees religion as the product of
alienation. It arises out of suffering and acts as
a consolation for it, but fails to deal with its
cause namely class exploitation. Religion acts
as an ideology that legitimates both the
suffering of the poor and the power of the
working class.
Evaluation
• Marx shows how religion may be a tool of
oppression that masks exploitation and
creates a false consciousness. However, he
ignores positive functions of religion e.g.
psychological adjustment to misfortune. Neo-
Marxists see certain forms of religion as
assisting not hindering the development of
class consciousness.
36
Durkheim Theory
 Durkheim viewed religion as an integrative force in human
society
 Gives meaning and purpose to people’s lives
 Gives people ultimate values and ends to hold in common
 Strengthens social integration within specific faiths and
denominations
 In some instances, religious loyalties
are dysfunctional
Why do people change
their religion?
Inside Forces
• Forty percent of Americans change faiths
during their lives. Some changes are relatively
minor–moving from a conservative Baptist
church to a more liberal Methodist church.
Others are more substantial, such as
converting from Christianity to Judaism or
dropping religion altogether.
Cont…
• Most of like to think of such religious
changes as an individual choice. Even if we
continue in the faith in which we were
raised, we see this as a conscious
decision. And the reason we made this choice
is, of course, reasonable and thought-out.
Cont…
• Sociologists find such claims to be dubious.
Religion may be a choice, but this choice is
shaped by forces outside of our control.
Without realizing it, our religious choices are
constrained by our families, our ethnicities,
our neighborhoods, and our occupations.
Outside forces
• Changes in education
• Changes in marital status
• Changes in geography
• Changes in assimilation (or the continuity of
recent immigrant communities)
Changes in education
• People who obtain more education than those
in their childhood faith are 18% more likely to
leave religion.
Changes in marital status
• People are more likely to switch their religious
choices when they marry, when they divorce,
or when a spouse dies.
Changes in geography.
• Change your location, change your religion.
Even those who move within the same region
of the country are more likely to make some
type of religious change.
Changes in assimilation
• First and second generation immigrants are
more likely to stick with their religion than are
other Americans whose families immigrated
earlier in history.

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Sociology And Religion: Exploring The Relationship Between Faith And Society

  • 1.
  • 3. 3 Religion and Society • What is religion? – A system of beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies – Promotes community among followers – Provides a personal spiritual experience for its members
  • 4. 4 The Great Transformation of Societies • In preindustrial societies, religion dominates all aspects of society. • In industrial societies, the institution of religion has become separated from many social and economic activities
  • 5. 5 Function of Religion • What does religion do for people? – Gives them hope of something better than what they have now. – Gives answers to unknowing questions. • What happens when I die? • Why am I here? • What is the point to life? – Serves to bind people together in times of crisis and confusion
  • 6. 6 Social Change • How can religion contribute to social change? • Protestant work ethic: • Disciplined commitment to worldly labor driven by a desire to bring glory to God • Shared by followers of Martin Luther and John Calvin • Do you think Religion teaches ‘work ethic’? • How?
  • 7. 7 Social Control • Can religion control society? – Yes? – Inhibits social change – Forces masses into submission by offering a consolation for their harsh lives on earth – Promotes social instability by perpetuating patterns of social inequality – Believers vs. Nonbelievers
  • 8. Examples of Social Control by Religion 8
  • 9. Examples of Social Control by Religion 9
  • 10. 10 Gender and Religion – Women have played fundamental role in religious socialization • However, they take subordinate role in religious leadership • Most religions are patriarchal – Leader is a male – Reinforce men’s dominance in secular and spiritual matters • Women compose 12.8 percent of U.S. clergy
  • 11. 11 Characteristics of Religion • Beliefs – Ideas, based upon faith, that people consider true • The sacred – Sacred: that which has supernatural qualities • Rituals – Routines that reinforce the faith • Moral communities – People who share a religious belief • Personal experience – Grants meaning to life
  • 13. 13 3 Components of Religion • Denominations • Sects • Cults
  • 14. 14 Components of Religion – Denomination: – Large, organized religion with strong support in the world – Christianity – Muslim – Judaism – Hinduism
  • 15. 15 Components of Religion – Sect: – Relatively small religious group that has broken away from some other religious organization to renew what it considers the original vision of the faith • Protestants • Episcopalians • Church of Christ
  • 17. 17 Components of Religion – Cult – Small, alternative faith community that represents either a new religion or a major innovation in an existing faith • Similar to sects • Tend to be small • Are often viewed as less respectable than more established faiths
  • 18. 18 Sects and Cults • Cults – Non-conventional religious group – Social conditions demand separation – Members required to withdraw from normal life – Full-time communal obligation for members
  • 19. 19 Christianity • World’s largest religion • 2 largest branches – Roman Catholic • Pope is head of Church in Vatican City. – Protestant • Luther breaks away from Roman Catholic Church in 16th century
  • 20. Islam • Second largest religion in world • Significant beliefs and practices – Only one god that all must recognize – Daily prayer, share wealth, pilgrimage • No centralized authority – Local clerics rule often with close state ties – Two major sects • Sunni • Shiite 20
  • 21. Judaism • Numerically smallest of world religions • Important beliefs: – God’s chosen people – Torah: first 5 books of the Bible; oldest truths from God • Major divisions – Orthodox: strictly traditional – Reform: liberal and worldly – Conservative: middle ground between Orthodox and Reform 21
  • 22. Hinduism • Largest of the Eastern religions – Concentrated largely in India • Important beliefs – Dharma: special force makes daily demands and sacred obligations – Karma: spirit remains through life, death, rebirth • Organization – Caste membership 22
  • 23. Buddhism • Large religion throughout Asia – Includes southeast Asian countries and China • Based upon teachings of the Buddha, the enlightened one – Monks and lay people spread his teachings • Important beliefs – To relieve human suffering one must follow a path that ultimately leads to enlightenment – “Right” thoughts and actions must be daily performed and evaluated through meditation 23
  • 24. Confucianism • Originated with Confucius attempting to solve practical problems of daily living – Wisdom summarized guides management of society • Jen: human sympathy that binds people in 5 basic relationships – Sovereign and subject – Parent and child – Older brother and younger brother – Husband and wife – Friend and friend • Proper etiquette and ritual help these relationships 24
  • 25. 25
  • 26. Is religion bad? • Stunts intellectual growth – Spanish Inquisition • Arrested or killed any philosophers against Church. – Galileo – Enlightenment Movement in Europe. • Causes social inequality – Believers vs. nonbelievers – Denomination vs. Denomination
  • 27. Is religion good? • Gives hope of something better! • Answers questions science fails to. • Gives us community spirit! – Not to mention cool holidays!
  • 29. Marxist theories of religion • Marx’s theory of religion needs to be seen in the context of his general view of society, capitalism dominates the working class Whereas functionalism sees religion as a unifying force that strengthens the value consensus and is a feature of all societies. Marxism sees religion as a feature only of class- divided society, as such there will be no need for religion in classless society and it will disappear.
  • 30. Religion As Ideology • For Marx, ideology is a belief system that changes people’s perception of reality in ways that serve the interests of the ruling class. He argues that the class that controls economic production also controls the production and distribution of ideas in society, though institutions such as the church, the education system and the media
  • 31. Cont… • In Marx’s view, religion operates as an ideological weapon used by the ruling class to justify the suffering of the poor as something inevitable and God-given. Religion misleads the poor into believing that their suffering is virtuous and that they will be favoured in the afterlife. Such beliefs create a false consciousness. Lenin describes religion as ‘spiritual gin’- an intoxicant doled out to the masses by the ruling class to continue them and keep them in their place. Lenin argues the ruling class use religion cynically to manipulate the masses and keep them from attempting to overthrow the ruling class by creating a ‘mystical fog’ that obscures reality.
  • 32. Cont… • Religion legitimates the power and privilege of the dominate class by making their position appear to be divinely ordained. For example, the 16th century idea of the Divine Right of the Kings was the belief that that the king is God’s representative on earth and is owed total obedience to God’s authority.
  • 33. Religion And Alienation • Alienation involves becoming separated from or loosing control over something that one has produced or created. Alienation exists in all classes, but is more extreme under capitalism. Under capitalism workers are alienated because they do not own what they produce and have no control over the production process, and have no freedom to express their true nature detailed division of labour in the capitalist factory, where the worker endlessly repeats the same tasks. Religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain of exploitation. But just as opium masks pain rather than treating its cause, so religion masks the underlying problem of exploitation that creates the need for it. Because religion is a distorted view of the world, it can offer no solution to earthly misery. In instead, its promises of the afterlife create an illusory happiness that distracts attention from the true source of the suffering, namely capitalism.
  • 34. Cont… • Thus, Marx sees religion as the product of alienation. It arises out of suffering and acts as a consolation for it, but fails to deal with its cause namely class exploitation. Religion acts as an ideology that legitimates both the suffering of the poor and the power of the working class.
  • 35. Evaluation • Marx shows how religion may be a tool of oppression that masks exploitation and creates a false consciousness. However, he ignores positive functions of religion e.g. psychological adjustment to misfortune. Neo- Marxists see certain forms of religion as assisting not hindering the development of class consciousness.
  • 36. 36 Durkheim Theory  Durkheim viewed religion as an integrative force in human society  Gives meaning and purpose to people’s lives  Gives people ultimate values and ends to hold in common  Strengthens social integration within specific faiths and denominations  In some instances, religious loyalties are dysfunctional
  • 37. Why do people change their religion?
  • 38. Inside Forces • Forty percent of Americans change faiths during their lives. Some changes are relatively minor–moving from a conservative Baptist church to a more liberal Methodist church. Others are more substantial, such as converting from Christianity to Judaism or dropping religion altogether.
  • 39. Cont… • Most of like to think of such religious changes as an individual choice. Even if we continue in the faith in which we were raised, we see this as a conscious decision. And the reason we made this choice is, of course, reasonable and thought-out.
  • 40. Cont… • Sociologists find such claims to be dubious. Religion may be a choice, but this choice is shaped by forces outside of our control. Without realizing it, our religious choices are constrained by our families, our ethnicities, our neighborhoods, and our occupations.
  • 41. Outside forces • Changes in education • Changes in marital status • Changes in geography • Changes in assimilation (or the continuity of recent immigrant communities)
  • 42. Changes in education • People who obtain more education than those in their childhood faith are 18% more likely to leave religion.
  • 43. Changes in marital status • People are more likely to switch their religious choices when they marry, when they divorce, or when a spouse dies.
  • 44. Changes in geography. • Change your location, change your religion. Even those who move within the same region of the country are more likely to make some type of religious change.
  • 45. Changes in assimilation • First and second generation immigrants are more likely to stick with their religion than are other Americans whose families immigrated earlier in history.