Print. During the Cold War, not much attention was paid to the phenomenon of nationalism and religion. Under god’s allegiance, what humane actions such as beating, killing, and starving a person become justified? Finally, religion promotes social control: It reinforces social norms such as appropriate styles of dress, following the law, and regulating sexual behavior. To him, sacred meant extraordinary—something that inspired wonder and that seemed connected to the concept of “the divine.” Durkheim argued that “religion happens” in society when there is a separation between the profane (ordinary life) and the sacred (1915). a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. By him reading the bible, he was considered breaking the law. He describes Auld as a mean man with a temper. From Adler's vantage point, this is a relatively ineffective perception of God because it is so general that it fails to convey a strong sense of direction and purpose. For him, religion was just an extension of working-class (proletariat) economic suffering. Slavery was justified by the false notion of white supremacy, which was dictated by all: religion, law, and literature. In the Western political systems a frontier has been drawn between man's inner life and his public actions, between religion and politics. According to Durkheim, people see religion as contributing to the health and continuation of society in general. New York: Penguin. Max Weber believed religion could be a force for social change. Eat Your Heart Out: Food Profiteering in America. Above all, he believed religion is about community: It binds people together (social cohesion), promotes behavior consistency (social control), and offers strength during life’s transitions and tragedies (meaning and purpose). 1993. For Durkheim, Weber, and Marx, who were reacting to the great social and economic upheaval of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century in Europe, religion was an integral part of society. Four main reasonshave been suggested for this (Frankenberry & Thie 1994: 2–4). In providing answers, religion defines the spiritual world and spiritual forces, including divine beings. The West is characterized by a desecularisation of politics and a depolitis… (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons). However, he claims he cannot authenticate his introduction because he himself was a slave and was not given access to this information. 1989. Print. Both religion and the law has help created identities of groups, institutional authority, and the norms of society. Auld found religious sanctions to support his cruelty and harsh punishment. The conflict between Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and religion is an example of the most recent and most hotly debated conflict between science and religion. Functionalists contend that religion serves several functions in society. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Gibson, Donald B. Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. The presence of religion goes on further when Douglass introduces Mr. Covey, he remembers when Mr. As stated earlier, French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). And “theory” of any religion is NOT a theory in the proper sense of the word, but it is a dogma that is defined in the same dictionary as: a doctrine (a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a religion) or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a religious authority. Then, research a religion that you don’t know much about. For example, the Vatican has a tremendous amount of wealth, while the average income of Catholic parishioners is small. 1975. Theories of religion can be classified into. Hechter, M. 1997. 329). In his writing The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), he contends that the Protestant work ethic influenced the development of capitalism. The law goes further, in which everyone had to obey it. They are considered replaceable commodities as opposed to valued employees. 2002. Either this was the incorrect way Christianity was practiced or humanity was presented in an ambiguous way. Another assumption of RCT is that religious organizations can be viewed in terms of “costs” and “rewards.” Costs are not only monetary requirements, but are also the time, effort, and commitment demands of any particular religious organization. How does one pick a church or decide which denomination “fits” best? One of the most important functions of religion, from a functionalist perspective, is the opportunities it creates for social interaction and the formation of groups. Psychology of religion consists of the application of psychological methods and interpretive frameworks to the diverse contents of religious traditions as well as to both religious and irreligious individuals. The first critique takes up Durkheim's understanding of religion as a necessarily social phenomenon. Mr. The pay, working conditions, and robotic nature of the tasks dehumanizes the workers and strips them of incentives for doing quality work. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. RCT proposes that, in a pluralistic society with many religious options, religious organizations will compete for members, and people will choose between different churches or denominations in much the same way they select other consumer goods, balancing costs and rewards in a rational manner. At a point where Douglass was able to give dates of his life, he remembers 1832 when he began living with Auld in Baltimore, Maryland. Conservative Christians believe that the Bible is God's infalliable message to humankind and so must be taken as literal truth (except when clearly intended to be metaphorical or poetic). Division of Labor in Society. The theory of religion, then, is this: A religion is a system of practices that is rationalized by 7 beliefs according to which the performance of the practices constitutes fit. By applying the methods of natural science to the study of society, Durkheim held that the source of religion and morality is the collective mind-set of society and that the cohesive bonds of social order result from common values in a society. Immediately he attempts to demonstrate the lack of knowledge slaves had because of their masters and slaveholders. For one, the other slaves who witnessed the lynching could not go to court as they were deemed unreliable or not creditable. The feminist perspective is a conflict theory view that focuses specifically on gender inequality. The theories by Tylor and Frazer, Rudolf Otto and Mircea Eliade are examples substantive theories. “Religious Economies and Sacred Canopies: Religious Mobilization in American Cities, 1906.” American Sociological Review 53:41–49. Functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism all provide valuable ways for sociologists to understand religion. Covey, another master he was assign too. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1960. List some ways that you see religion having social control in the everyday world. ( Log Out / This ‘confessional’ approach to studying religion is embedded in many Irish educational institutions where it is common to find a religious test (e.g. Retrieved January 20, 2012 (http://personal.lse.ac.uk/KANAZAWA/pdfs/ARS1997.pdf). Unfortunately,there is no current consensus on a precise identification of thenecessary and sufficient conditions of what counts as a religion. Read British historian Niall Ferguson’s view at http://openstaxcollege.org/l/Protestant_work_ethic. Social theorist Émile Durkheim defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). Defining religion "is often held to be difficult" (Smith, 1995, p. 893). Douglass notes many laws during his time of slavery. According to Marx, the dynamics of society were determined by the relations of production, that is, the relations that its members needed to enter into to produce their means of survival. 88.3 (2002): 326. Working hard also doesn’t seem to have any relationship with Catholic or Protestant religious beliefs anymore, or those of other religions; information age workers expect talent and hard work to be rewarded by material gain and career advancement. However, Auld was a master who was not too firm and at times “lacked that of a master.” Douglass recalls that Auld had visited a Methodist camp meeting where he experienced religion, Christianity, for the first time. 2007)The law and its literatures such the United States Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights consisted of so much ambiguity that property and humanity was not clear-cut that it allowed slaves to be adopted as property. By the end of this section, you will be able to: From the Latin religio (respect for what is sacred) and religare (to bind, in the sense of an obligation), the term religion describes various systems of belief and practice that define what people consider to be sacred or spiritual (Fasching and deChant 2001; Durkheim 1915). Conflict theorists view religion as an institution that helps maintain patterns of social inequality. He also had a reputation of breaking apart young slaves in which Douglass refers to him as a “nigger-breaker.” As young as Douglass was when he moved in with Mr. Religious rituals are behaviors or practices that are either required or expected of the members of a particular group, such as bar mitzvah or confession of sins (Barkan and Greenwood 2003). Marxists, Liberals, nation-builders and integration specialists treated it as a marginal variable. The law was also a collective agreement that overpowers religion. Both religion and the law are elements that restrict the human behavior, however that was not to be seen through the period of slavery. 0.0 (0 votes) 2001. Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach. Many attempts have been made to pinpoint a definition. For Durkheim, religion was a force for cohesion that helped bind the members of society to the group, while Weber believed religion could be understood as something separate from society. At one point during his narrative he describes his master’s wife helping him read and write with different types of literature. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ( Log Out / 1933 . Religious explanations of these concepts are presumed to be more satisfactory than scientific explanations, which may help to account for the continuation of strong religious connectedness in countries such as the United States, despite predictions of some competing theories for a great decline in religious affiliation due to modernization and religious pluralism. Finke, R., and R. Stark. Substantive (or essentialist) theories that focus on the contents of religions and the meaning the contents has for people. The origin approach The earliest approach was an attempt to explain ritual, as well as religion, by means of a theory concerned with historical origin. They are among the founding thinkers of modern sociology. Some authors, usually ones who wish to celebrate these facts, call th… Pg. Religious rituals bring order, comfort, and organization through shared familiar symbols and patterns of behavior. These were all characteristics of slave-owner’s actions towards slaves. By the time that writing had developed, many religions had been in place for many millennia and the details of their origins had been forgotten. Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool used by capitalist societies to perpetuate inequality. In the twentieth century this linguistic imprecision was challenged by philosophers who used a principle of verifiability to reject as meaningless all non-empirical claims. “Slavery in Early Christianity.” Cross Currents. It provides cohesion in the social order by promoting a sense of belonging and collective consciousness. Much of Adler's writing is devoted to social movements. Rational choice theory (RCT) is one way social scientists have attempted to explain these behaviors. “Religious Attendance and Subjective Well-Being among Older Americans: Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Review of Religious Research 45:116–129. For more discussion on the study of sociology and religion, check out the following blog: http://openstaxcollege.org/l/immanent_frame/. Interactionists are interested in what these symbols communicate. Despite differences, there are common elements in a ceremony marking a person’s death, such as announcement of the death, care of the deceased, disposition, and ceremony or ritual. The practice of philosophy, especially in the analytic tradition, places emphasis on precision of terms and clarity of concepts and ideas. 1988. In early centuries, people who favored or opposed slavery expressed it through literature. The Bible was misinterpret that “opponents of slavery offered complex arguments demonstrating that the slavery allowed in the Bible was different from the “monstrous system… of American slavery,” going so far as to claim that the word “slave” in English translation of the Bible was, at least in some passages, actually a mistranslation.” (Selby. Different religions and cultures have different creation theories, but this article deals with the Jewish/Christian version. When slavery reached its peak, Christianity was the dominant religion in the United States. Selected theories of religions propounded by some scholars are discussed in this study and these include: Cognitive theory, Rational Choice theory, the Theory of Religious Economy, Sensitivity theory, and Phenomenology of Religion. From this perspective, religion serves several purposes, like providing answers to spiritual mysteries, offering emotional comfort, and creating a place for social interaction and social control. Religious beliefs are specific ideas members of a particular faith hold to be true, such as that Jesus Christ was the son of God, or that reincarnation exists. Ritzer, George. Weber noted that certain kinds of Protestantism supported the pursuit of material gain by motivating believers to work hard, be successful, and not spend their profits on frivolous things. Secular-based theories of religion: Nobody knows with accuracy how the first religions evolved. Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. While some people think of religion as something individual because religious beliefs can be highly personal, religion is also a social institution. Social scientists recognize that religion exists as an organized and integrated set of beliefs, behaviors, and norms centered on basic social needs and values. For example, it helps answer questions like, “How was the world created?” “Why do we suffer?” “Is there a plan for our lives?” and “Is there an afterlife?” As another function, religion provides emotional comfort in times of crisis. There were several occasions in the narrative where Douglass explains situations where Christianity was significant. (Smart 1996) Religious traditions differ along all these dimensions. Weber, Max. In terms of religion, feminist theorists assert that, although women are typically the ones to socialize children into a religion, they have traditionally held very few positions of power within religions. The term Hinduism as a religious label refers to the indigenous religious philosophy of the peoples living in modern day India and the rest of the Indian subcontinent. Translated by George Simpson. Religious identity acts as an indicator of social status while incorporating the social status of the group into its religious worldview as an extension of its social status. (The modern use of “work ethic” comes directly from Weber’s Protestant ethic, although it has now lost its religious connotations.). He also had a reputation of breaking apart young slaves in which Douglass refers to him as a “nigger-breaker.” As young as Douglass was when he moved in with Mr. Throughout history, and in societies across the world, leaders have used religious narratives, symbols, and traditions in an attempt to give more meaning to life and understand the universe. Being affiliated with religious faith would change a person for the better. Higher levels of education have become necessary, as well as people management skills and access to the most recent information on any given topic. The Catholic Church generally accepts evolutionary theory as the scientific explanation for the development of all life. But if someone makes it into a headstone, or another person uses it for landscaping, it takes on different meanings—one sacred, one profane. Are there some objects, such as cups, candles, or clothing, that would be considered profane in normal settings but are considered sacred in special circumstances or when used in specific ways? However, this acceptance comes with the understanding that natural selection is a God-directed mechanism of biological development and that man’s soul is the divine creation of God. This question led Durkheim to posit that religion is not just a social creation but something that represents the power of society: When people celebrate sacred things, they celebrate the power of their society. The McDonaldization of Society. If slaves were not behaving or doing the work they were assigned, they would be punished. Answer: yes,Sociological and anthropological theories about religion (or theories of religion) generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion.These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice. 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