Definitions of Religion

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  • Definitions of Religion
    • Functional
      • Social/psychological functions performed
      • Durkheim = religions contribution to social integration
      • Yunger = answers questions
      • Inclusive as include numerous beliefs and no bias
      • Just because it integrates society it does not make t a religion e.g. football
    • Social Constructionist
      • How members of society define religions
      • Down to individual's take on religion
      • No single universal definition
      • Aldridge = definitions can be contested and influenced by the powerful
      • Allows insight into meanings people give to religions
      • Impossible to generalise about nature of religion as different views on religion
    • Functional
      • Leaves no room for religions without a God e.g. Buddhism
      • Exclusive as draw clear line between religious and no religious beliefs
      • Content of religious belief e.g. God or supernatural belief


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