Gender Differences in Religious Belief

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Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisation Studies of religious belief verify consistently that the female gender shows greater participation to religion than that of males. This greater commitment to religion described by sociologists such as Bensen applies throughout the course of the woman’s life, and as noted by Glock and Stark, their greater pledge to religion is consistent regardless of the religious organization, whether it be New Religious movements, New Age spirituality, or traditional faiths. Beit-hallahmy and Argyle state that whether it is a matter of private churchgoing or private prayer and regardless of religious belief women appear more religious than men. Religions universally have been found to be deeply oppressive to women, born from ancient teachings indicating their inferiority to men. Writers like de Beauvoir and Sadwai see religion and religious ideology as playing a part in maintaining male domination that is found in many aspects of contemporary social life. In religious scriptures women take the lesser position; De Beauvoir highlights how scriptures in most religions suggest that “man is master by divine right” and Aldridge explains how in the Qu’ran women are legally inferior to men. Why, then, do women pursue a faith which encourages their oppression, more so than the gender with the power to dominate it? Biological factors begin with Miller and Hoffman’s explanation that women take fewer risks than men and as a result seek to conform to a group's religious identity rather than undertake the challenge of authority and autonomy. Men more often reject the religious beliefs of the mainstream and engage in risk-taking behaviors. According to Stark this risk taking inclination in a man to not “think ahead” means that men are less religious because they are willing to take a gamble on there not being an afterlife. However sociologists like Freese and Montgomery debate this...
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