- Definitions of Religion
- Substance of religious belief as a belief in God or the supernatural
- Weber - religion as a belief in a superior or supernatural power that is above nature and can't be explained scientifically
- Fits with what most people would regard as religion ie. Islam, Christianity etc. but also includes unconventional beliefs such as Wicca and Paganism.
- Adopted by most sociologists
- Clear line between religious and non-religious beliefs.
- Excludes religions that don't involve belief in God, eg. Buddhism
- Social or psychological functions that religion may perform for individuals or society.
- Durkhiem - religion is a unified set of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things - which are set apart and forbidden contrasted to the profane - everyday, mundane world
- Broad definition - covers a wide range of beliefs
- 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.
- Collective chanting at football matches might be integration but it doesn't mean it's a religion.
- Social Constructionist
- Interpretivist approach
- Focuses on how members of society themselves define religion
- Not possible to produce a single universal definition of religion to cover all cases as there is widely differing views about what sounts as a religion
- Does not assume that religion always involves a belief in God or the supernatural - it gets closer to the individual meanings.
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