Assess The Sociological Explanations For The Increasing Number Of Religions And Spiritual Organisations And Movements In Society

Topics: Religion, New Age, Sociology Pages: 3 (1112 words) Published: March 21, 2015
Assess the sociological explanations for the increasing number of religions and spiritual organisations and movements in society today There are many different definitions and types of religious organisations including church, sects, denominations, cults and New Religious Movements. Since the 1960s the number of religious and spiritual organisations and movements in society have increased. Troeltsch defines church and sects as distinctly different organisations. He says churches are large universalistic organisations with lots of members, run by a bureaucratic hierarchy of priests. They run on conservative ideology and are linked to the state. However both claim monopoly of truth. In contrast he defines sects a small exclusive groups that are hostile to the wider society and expect a high level of commitment from their members. They are also led by a charismatic leader and are recruited from the poor and oppressed. Niebuhr defines denominations as something that lies midway between churches and sects. They accept society’s values like churches but are not linked to the state. They place minor restrictions on member’s e.g. not drinking alcohol and they are not as hostile to the wider society as sects are. Instead they are tolerant of other organisations and their beliefs. Cults are the least organised organisations, they are individualistic small groups based around some shard interest or theme, but they have no exclusive belief system. They are led by therapists that claim to have special knowledge and are tolerant of other organisations and their beliefs. Sects and cults according to Stark and Bainbridge are in conflict with wider society meaning they reject it. Sects result from splitting from existing religions. People who suffer economic or ethical deprivation breakaway because it offers them other worldly benefits. Likewise, they say cults are new religions (e.g. scientology or ones that have been imported e.g. TM) that offer worldly benefits to...
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