SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 1
Topic 1: Theories of
Religion
What is religion?
Substantive definitions:these focus on the content or
substance ofreligious belief,such as beliefin God or
the supernatural.Weber (1905) defines religion as
beliefin superior or supernatural power thatis above
nature and cannotbe explained scientifically.
They are exclusive.
Conform to a widespread view of religion as a belief
in God.
They are accused ofWestern bias because they
exclude religions such as Buddhism,which do not
have the Western idea of God.
Functional definitions:define religion in terms of
specific kinds ofbelief,functional definitions define it
in terms ofsocial or psychological functions it
performs for individuals or society.Durkheim (1915)
defines religion in terms ofthe contribution it makes
to social integration,rather than any specific beliefin
God or the supernatural.
Yinger (1970) identifies functions thatreligion
performs for individuals such as answering ‘ultimate
questions’ aboutthe meaning oflife and what
happens when we die.
They are inclusive.
They do not specifybeliefin God or the supernatural.
However, justbecause an institution helps integrate
individuals into groups,this does notmake ita
religion.
Social constructionistdefinitions:take an interpretivist
approach that focuses on how members ofsociety
themselves define religion.They argue that it is not
possible to produce a single universe definition of
religion to cover all cases,since in reality different
individuals and groups mean very different things by
‘religion’.
They are interested in how definitions ofreligion are
constructed,challenged and foughtover. Aldridge
(2007) shows how,for its followers,Scientologyis a
religion,whereas several governments have denied it
legal status as a religion and soughtto ban it. This
shows thatdefinitions ofreligion can be contested
and are influenced by who has power to define the
situation.They do not assume that religion always
involves a beliefin God or the supernatural,or that it
performs similar functions for everyone in all
societies.Their approach allows them to get close to
the meanings people themselves give to religion.
Impossible to generalise aboutthe nature of religion.
Functionalist theories of religion
For functionalists,societyis a system of interrelated
parts or social institutions,such as religion,the family
and the economy. Society is like an organism,with
basic needs thatit mustmeetin order to survive.
These needs are metby the different institutions.
Each institution performs certain functions and each
contributes to maintaining the social system by
meeting a need.
Society’s mostbasic need is the need for social order
and solidarityso that its members can cooperate.For
functionalists,whatmakes order possible is the
existence of value consensus- a setof norms and
values by which society’s members live.Without this,
individuals would pursue their own selfish desires and
society would disintegrate.See Functionalism
revision tool.
Marxist theories of religion
Marxists see all societies as divided into two classes,
one of which exploits the labour of the other. In
modern capitalistsociety,the capitalistclass who own
the means ofproduction exploitthe working class.
In such a society, there is always the potential for
class conflict,and Marx predicted that that the
working class would ultimatelybecome conscious of
their exploitation and unite to overthrow capitalism.
This would bring into being a classless societyin
which there would no longer be exploitation.
See Marxism revision tool.
Feminist theories of religion
Feminists see societyas patriarchal- that is,based on
male domination.Many feminists regard religion as a
patriarchal institution thatreflects and perpetuates
this inequality.Religious beliefs function as
patriarchal ideologythat legitimates female
subordination. See Feminism revision tool.

More Related Content

What's hot

Religion as a conservative force
Religion as a conservative forceReligion as a conservative force
Religion as a conservative force
NWsociology
 
Religiosity and Social Change
Religiosity and Social ChangeReligiosity and Social Change
Religiosity and Social Change
Tony Yarbrough
 
Unit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in society
Unit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in societyUnit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in society
Unit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in society
emmaashman
 
16.9.13 religion and social protest
16.9.13 religion and social protest16.9.13 religion and social protest
16.9.13 religion and social protest
NWsociology
 
Beliefs in society student blog
Beliefs in society   student blogBeliefs in society   student blog
Beliefs in society student blog
farzana0596
 

What's hot (19)

Social change essay
Social change essaySocial change essay
Social change essay
 
Functions of religion
Functions of religionFunctions of religion
Functions of religion
 
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared ResourceSociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
 
Functionalist theories of religion
Functionalist theories of religionFunctionalist theories of religion
Functionalist theories of religion
 
Religion as a conservative force
Religion as a conservative forceReligion as a conservative force
Religion as a conservative force
 
Sociology of religion(Crime and Spirituality)
Sociology of religion(Crime and Spirituality)Sociology of religion(Crime and Spirituality)
Sociology of religion(Crime and Spirituality)
 
Religiosity and Social Change
Religiosity and Social ChangeReligiosity and Social Change
Religiosity and Social Change
 
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared ResourceSociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
 
Religion and social change 2
Religion and social change 2Religion and social change 2
Religion and social change 2
 
A2 Sociology: Marxist Theories of Religion
A2 Sociology: Marxist Theories of ReligionA2 Sociology: Marxist Theories of Religion
A2 Sociology: Marxist Theories of Religion
 
Unit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in society
Unit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in societyUnit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in society
Unit 3 Sociology: Beliefs in society
 
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared ResourceSociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
 
16.9.13 religion and social protest
16.9.13 religion and social protest16.9.13 religion and social protest
16.9.13 religion and social protest
 
Beliefs in society student blog
Beliefs in society   student blogBeliefs in society   student blog
Beliefs in society student blog
 
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared ResourceSociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
 
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared ResourceSociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
 
Religious Beliefs & Social Stratification
Religious Beliefs & Social StratificationReligious Beliefs & Social Stratification
Religious Beliefs & Social Stratification
 
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared ResourceSociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
SociologyExchange.co.uk Shared Resource
 
Beliefs In Society Overview
Beliefs In Society OverviewBeliefs In Society Overview
Beliefs In Society Overview
 

Similar to Theories of religion

11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx
11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx
11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx
Michael Bautista
 
FIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docx
FIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docxFIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docx
FIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docx
greg1eden90113
 
Essay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docx
Essay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docxEssay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docx
Essay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docx
YASHU40
 
15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx
15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx
15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx
aulasnilda
 
Religion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docx
Religion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docxReligion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docx
Religion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docx
debishakespeare
 

Similar to Theories of religion (20)

Theories of Religion
Theories of ReligionTheories of Religion
Theories of Religion
 
Religion
ReligionReligion
Religion
 
Functionalists theories of religion
Functionalists theories of religion Functionalists theories of religion
Functionalists theories of religion
 
11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx
11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx
11. Religion and Society An Intro. and Sprituality and Social Work.pptx
 
Outline and evaluate the functionalist perspective that religion acts as a co...
Outline and evaluate the functionalist perspective that religion acts as a co...Outline and evaluate the functionalist perspective that religion acts as a co...
Outline and evaluate the functionalist perspective that religion acts as a co...
 
CHAPTER 1-LESSON 2.pptx
CHAPTER 1-LESSON 2.pptxCHAPTER 1-LESSON 2.pptx
CHAPTER 1-LESSON 2.pptx
 
Chapter 13
Chapter 13Chapter 13
Chapter 13
 
Beliefs in society - theories of religion
Beliefs in society - theories of religionBeliefs in society - theories of religion
Beliefs in society - theories of religion
 
FIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docx
FIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docxFIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docx
FIGURE 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such as this large m.docx
 
Religious Institutions.pptx
Religious Institutions.pptxReligious Institutions.pptx
Religious Institutions.pptx
 
Chapter13
Chapter13Chapter13
Chapter13
 
Anthropology of Religion
Anthropology of ReligionAnthropology of Religion
Anthropology of Religion
 
Essay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docx
Essay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docxEssay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docx
Essay 1 generally good content; but some issues with content as n.docx
 
15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx
15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx
15 ReligionFigure 15.1 Religions come in many forms, such .docx
 
Religion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docx
Religion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docxReligion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docx
Religion & Ethics A very short introduction Dr. Bruce.docx
 
Module-14.pptx
Module-14.pptxModule-14.pptx
Module-14.pptx
 
Religion, Function of religion , and Psychological Function Of Religion
Religion,  Function of religion , and  Psychological Function Of ReligionReligion,  Function of religion , and  Psychological Function Of Religion
Religion, Function of religion , and Psychological Function Of Religion
 
Sociology AQA Beliefs in Society Revision Notes
Sociology AQA Beliefs in Society Revision NotesSociology AQA Beliefs in Society Revision Notes
Sociology AQA Beliefs in Society Revision Notes
 
WEEK-6-UCSP.pdf
WEEK-6-UCSP.pdfWEEK-6-UCSP.pdf
WEEK-6-UCSP.pdf
 
the globalization of religion
the globalization of religionthe globalization of religion
the globalization of religion
 

Recently uploaded

SURVEY I created for uni project research
SURVEY I created for uni project researchSURVEY I created for uni project research
SURVEY I created for uni project research
CaitlinCummins3
 
Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...
Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...
Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...
EADTU
 
SPLICE Working Group: Reusable Code Examples
SPLICE Working Group:Reusable Code ExamplesSPLICE Working Group:Reusable Code Examples
SPLICE Working Group: Reusable Code Examples
Peter Brusilovsky
 
會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽
會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽
會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽
中 央社
 

Recently uploaded (20)

Basic Civil Engineering notes on Transportation Engineering & Modes of Transport
Basic Civil Engineering notes on Transportation Engineering & Modes of TransportBasic Civil Engineering notes on Transportation Engineering & Modes of Transport
Basic Civil Engineering notes on Transportation Engineering & Modes of Transport
 
Scopus Indexed Journals 2024 - ISCOPUS Publications
Scopus Indexed Journals 2024 - ISCOPUS PublicationsScopus Indexed Journals 2024 - ISCOPUS Publications
Scopus Indexed Journals 2024 - ISCOPUS Publications
 
SURVEY I created for uni project research
SURVEY I created for uni project researchSURVEY I created for uni project research
SURVEY I created for uni project research
 
Sternal Fractures & Dislocations - EMGuidewire Radiology Reading Room
Sternal Fractures & Dislocations - EMGuidewire Radiology Reading RoomSternal Fractures & Dislocations - EMGuidewire Radiology Reading Room
Sternal Fractures & Dislocations - EMGuidewire Radiology Reading Room
 
24 ĐỀ THAM KHẢO KÌ THI TUYỂN SINH VÀO LỚP 10 MÔN TIẾNG ANH SỞ GIÁO DỤC HẢI DƯ...
24 ĐỀ THAM KHẢO KÌ THI TUYỂN SINH VÀO LỚP 10 MÔN TIẾNG ANH SỞ GIÁO DỤC HẢI DƯ...24 ĐỀ THAM KHẢO KÌ THI TUYỂN SINH VÀO LỚP 10 MÔN TIẾNG ANH SỞ GIÁO DỤC HẢI DƯ...
24 ĐỀ THAM KHẢO KÌ THI TUYỂN SINH VÀO LỚP 10 MÔN TIẾNG ANH SỞ GIÁO DỤC HẢI DƯ...
 
Andreas Schleicher presents at the launch of What does child empowerment mean...
Andreas Schleicher presents at the launch of What does child empowerment mean...Andreas Schleicher presents at the launch of What does child empowerment mean...
Andreas Schleicher presents at the launch of What does child empowerment mean...
 
VAMOS CUIDAR DO NOSSO PLANETA! .
VAMOS CUIDAR DO NOSSO PLANETA!                    .VAMOS CUIDAR DO NOSSO PLANETA!                    .
VAMOS CUIDAR DO NOSSO PLANETA! .
 
Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...
Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...
Transparency, Recognition and the role of eSealing - Ildiko Mazar and Koen No...
 
How to Manage Website in Odoo 17 Studio App.pptx
How to Manage Website in Odoo 17 Studio App.pptxHow to Manage Website in Odoo 17 Studio App.pptx
How to Manage Website in Odoo 17 Studio App.pptx
 
Analyzing and resolving a communication crisis in Dhaka textiles LTD.pptx
Analyzing and resolving a communication crisis in Dhaka textiles LTD.pptxAnalyzing and resolving a communication crisis in Dhaka textiles LTD.pptx
Analyzing and resolving a communication crisis in Dhaka textiles LTD.pptx
 
Trauma-Informed Leadership - Five Practical Principles
Trauma-Informed Leadership - Five Practical PrinciplesTrauma-Informed Leadership - Five Practical Principles
Trauma-Informed Leadership - Five Practical Principles
 
SPLICE Working Group: Reusable Code Examples
SPLICE Working Group:Reusable Code ExamplesSPLICE Working Group:Reusable Code Examples
SPLICE Working Group: Reusable Code Examples
 
會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽
會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽
會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽會考英聽
 
Climbers and Creepers used in landscaping
Climbers and Creepers used in landscapingClimbers and Creepers used in landscaping
Climbers and Creepers used in landscaping
 
Stl Algorithms in C++ jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj
Stl Algorithms in C++ jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjStl Algorithms in C++ jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj
Stl Algorithms in C++ jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj
 
TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...
TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...
TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...
 
OS-operating systems- ch05 (CPU Scheduling) ...
OS-operating systems- ch05 (CPU Scheduling) ...OS-operating systems- ch05 (CPU Scheduling) ...
OS-operating systems- ch05 (CPU Scheduling) ...
 
Spring gala 2024 photo slideshow - Celebrating School-Community Partnerships
Spring gala 2024 photo slideshow - Celebrating School-Community PartnershipsSpring gala 2024 photo slideshow - Celebrating School-Community Partnerships
Spring gala 2024 photo slideshow - Celebrating School-Community Partnerships
 
An overview of the various scriptures in Hinduism
An overview of the various scriptures in HinduismAn overview of the various scriptures in Hinduism
An overview of the various scriptures in Hinduism
 
TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...
TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...
TỔNG HỢP HƠN 100 ĐỀ THI THỬ TỐT NGHIỆP THPT TOÁN 2024 - TỪ CÁC TRƯỜNG, TRƯỜNG...
 

Theories of religion

  • 1. Topic 1: Theories of Religion What is religion? Substantive definitions:these focus on the content or substance ofreligious belief,such as beliefin God or the supernatural.Weber (1905) defines religion as beliefin superior or supernatural power thatis above nature and cannotbe explained scientifically. They are exclusive. Conform to a widespread view of religion as a belief in God. They are accused ofWestern bias because they exclude religions such as Buddhism,which do not have the Western idea of God. Functional definitions:define religion in terms of specific kinds ofbelief,functional definitions define it in terms ofsocial or psychological functions it performs for individuals or society.Durkheim (1915) defines religion in terms ofthe contribution it makes to social integration,rather than any specific beliefin God or the supernatural. Yinger (1970) identifies functions thatreligion performs for individuals such as answering ‘ultimate questions’ aboutthe meaning oflife and what happens when we die. They are inclusive. They do not specifybeliefin God or the supernatural. However, justbecause an institution helps integrate individuals into groups,this does notmake ita religion. Social constructionistdefinitions:take an interpretivist approach that focuses on how members ofsociety themselves define religion.They argue that it is not possible to produce a single universe definition of religion to cover all cases,since in reality different individuals and groups mean very different things by ‘religion’. They are interested in how definitions ofreligion are constructed,challenged and foughtover. Aldridge (2007) shows how,for its followers,Scientologyis a religion,whereas several governments have denied it legal status as a religion and soughtto ban it. This shows thatdefinitions ofreligion can be contested and are influenced by who has power to define the situation.They do not assume that religion always involves a beliefin God or the supernatural,or that it performs similar functions for everyone in all societies.Their approach allows them to get close to the meanings people themselves give to religion. Impossible to generalise aboutthe nature of religion. Functionalist theories of religion For functionalists,societyis a system of interrelated parts or social institutions,such as religion,the family and the economy. Society is like an organism,with basic needs thatit mustmeetin order to survive. These needs are metby the different institutions. Each institution performs certain functions and each contributes to maintaining the social system by meeting a need. Society’s mostbasic need is the need for social order and solidarityso that its members can cooperate.For functionalists,whatmakes order possible is the existence of value consensus- a setof norms and values by which society’s members live.Without this, individuals would pursue their own selfish desires and society would disintegrate.See Functionalism revision tool. Marxist theories of religion Marxists see all societies as divided into two classes, one of which exploits the labour of the other. In modern capitalistsociety,the capitalistclass who own the means ofproduction exploitthe working class. In such a society, there is always the potential for class conflict,and Marx predicted that that the working class would ultimatelybecome conscious of their exploitation and unite to overthrow capitalism. This would bring into being a classless societyin which there would no longer be exploitation. See Marxism revision tool. Feminist theories of religion Feminists see societyas patriarchal- that is,based on male domination.Many feminists regard religion as a patriarchal institution thatreflects and perpetuates this inequality.Religious beliefs function as patriarchal ideologythat legitimates female subordination. See Feminism revision tool.