RELIGION – Defining it, and characteristics.
Functional and inclusivism- Durkheim: Religion is a “unified set of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, things which are set apart and forbidden”. Contrasted with the profane: the everyday, mundane world. - Broad definition which covers a wide range of beliefs
-Does not necessarily include beliefs in a supra-human, supernatural being - Focuses on the function of beliefs in society, and the way in which things that people regard as sacred can bind societies together, through shared values. - Looks at the ways in which unconventional beliefs can be seen as sacred, i.e football. Substantiate and exclusivist-Bruce: religion is “beliefs, actions and institutions which assume the existence of supernatural entities with powers of moral purpose” - Berger: Religion is a “sacred canopy” or shield providing supernatural protection against random and apparently meaningless events. - Focuses on what religion actually is, involving supernatural, supra-human beliefs of some kind -Fits with what most people would regard as religion, i.e Islam, Christianity etc, Though includes unconventional beliefs such as Wicca and paganism also. - A definition adopted by most sociologists.
Features of religion – Beliefs – in the supernatural, incomprehensible powers, or in symbols which are regarded as sacred. - Theology – a set of teaching and beliefs based on holy scripture - Practice – Rituals and ceremonies which are either public or privately i.e praying or fasting - Institutions – provide an organisation of the worshippers/believers, usually buildings like churches. - Consequences – A set of moral or ethical values that are meant to guide or influence the everyday behaviour of believers. IDEOLOGIES
PLURALIST -Sees the exercise of power in society as reflecting a broad range of social interest. -No-one has a single monopoly of power, a wide range of interest groups and individuals that live alongside each other compete for it. -There is no single dominant ideology that reflects the interests of a group, which is something to be approved of and welcomed. -It denies that there may be an unequal distribution of power in society, and not all social groups are equally able to influence those with power, or get their views accepted – something which the pluralist ideology tries to conceal. MARXIST- The ideas that people hold are formed by their position in society. -Ideology is the ideas of particular social groups reflecting their interests. -Dominant ideology – In this case the ruling class.
- Mannheim – the ruling class deliberately obscure facts in order to conceal the inequalities of capitalist society, thus preserving existing patterns of inequality, the privileged position of the ruling class, and preventing any social change which may threaten them. -Althusser –The ideology is spread through ideological state apparatuses -Gramsci – hegemony – the ruling class, through dominant ideology, maintains power by persuading the working class to adopt ruling class ideology as part of their own beliefs and values, thus consenting to the idea, and not being forced. FEMINIST - Patriarchal ideology - Supports and tries to justify the power of men in a patriarchal society. - Ideas are mainly concerned with protecting and promoting the interests of men. RELIGION – Like ideology, offers a vision and means of understanding and explaining the world. - Ideas are not necessarily tied to the interests of one social group. -Giddens – Religion is “shared beliefs and rituals that provide a sense of ultimate meaning and purpose by creating an idea of reality that is sacred, all-encompassing, and supernatural”. -There are three main aspects to religion:
1) Belief in the supernatural and spiritual
2) Faith on the part of believers – a strong sense of trust and conviction in theories not based on testable evidence 3) A body of unchanging truth – i.e Christ. All new discovers are fitted into these existing...
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