First 289 words of the document:
Beliefs in Society
Substantive definitions Exclusivist definitions
These are concerned with what religion IS These usually define religion in a very
rather than what religion does for its limited way referring to beliefs, actions and
members. They get at the `inner core' & institutions orientated towards supernatural
essence of religion beings/ powers
Functional Definitions Inclusive definitions
These definitions define religion in terms of
These usually define religion in a very broad
its uses and purposes (social & way whereby several ideologies not usually
psychological) for society and the considered as a religion are included. They
individual, and the social effects it has onbelieve religion can therefore take many
members. forms e.g. foodies!
These definitions claim that religion needs to have a set of beliefs which exhibit a number of
factors but not necessarily all of them
Southwold suggests the following factors:
· Concern with godlike beings
· Concern with sacred
· Focus on salvation from ordinary world
· Rituals and practices
· Beliefs based on faith rather than evidence
· Ethical code based on beliefs
· Supernatural sanctions if code is violated
· A mythology
· Sacred texts or traditions
· Religious elite
· Links with a moral community
· Links with an ethnic group
Functional & 1. Too wide easy to qualify as a religion!
Inclusive definitions 2. Anything performing a function qualifies as a religion e.g. war
memorials perform function of integration but no `religious beliefs'
3. What is sacred doesn't always command respect e.g. in South Italy,
Saints are reprimanded if they don't respond in desired manner!
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Substantial & 1. Too narrow and difficult to qualify as a religion
Exclusive definitions 2. Not all religions believe in supernatural beings e.g. Buddhism
3. Ethnocentric: not all cultures make a distinction between `natural' &
`supernatural' some see God and angels as very much real!
4. These definitions lead to belief that religion has declined.…read more