Writing Assignment #1
Sociology is concerned with human interaction. With that being said, the sociology of religion is also concerned with human interaction. In studying religion from a sociological perspective, one is looking at religion as a social institution and looking to answer questions such as: What effect does this particular institution have on the lives of its followers, how does this influence the upbringing of its followers, how does this religion affect the choices people make in their lives, how does this religion affect how its followers interact with and treat other people, etc. The questions raised by a sociologist, such as these, seek to answer what influence religion has on the way that people function as a part of society, as well as how society as a whole is influenced by this social institution and how these factors change over time (Johnstone, p. 2). A very important aspect of studying religion sociologically is doing so in an objective manner. As stated previously, studying religion sociologically entails looking at the effects of religion on society and on those who practice it. Therefore, a sociologist must learn to push aside any opinions on the actual religions and practices themselves (Johnstone, p. 5). One cannot express any opinions of whether particular religions are true or false, right or wrong, or good or bad. For example, let’s imagine that there is a sociologist wanting to study the raising of children with Hindu families. If that sociologist openly feels that Hinduism is completely wrong, should not be practiced, and is based on false ideas and beliefs, that sociologist will not be able to do their job correctly. He or she will likely focus more on these opinions and their information will probably be very biased negatively toward the Hindu family life. The same thing goes for an opposite example. If a sociologist feels, for instance, that Catholicism is the only true religion and that...
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