Beliefs in Society Revision Notes- taken from AQA textbook

These are my notes for unit 3 on the AQA syllabus. Unfortunately my lecturer is awful to the extent where I have had to teach myself. Using these notes I am getting As in all my assignments.

I got these notes from the AQA textbook so that is the basic summary

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Beliefs in Society
Revision notes from AQA textbook


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Science, Religion and Spirituality
Religion belief system explaining origins of world and humans
o Broad definition set of ideas which bind people together
o Narrow definition belief in a god, an all powerful creator and the
rituals and practices associated with the worship of that god
Weber every society has…

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Atheism and Science
Some may find it difficult to believe in supernatural phenomena in religion and
can be skeptical agnosticism doubtful about the existence of God in the
absence of empirical evidence
Staunch atheists rationalist stance arguments for existence of God illogical
no factual basis for claims made and scientific…

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Sociological Perspectives on Religion
Structural Theories

Durkheim religion binds people together like social cement, provides set of
moral values form collective conscience creating social stability, religion key
agent of secondary socialisation, studied totemism in Australian Aboriginal
tribes, all societies divided into sacred and profane, when tribe gathered to

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Gramsci economic forces alone cannot maintain dominance of ruling class
ruling class has to persuade masses that existing system is good and fair for
everyone hegemony did not believe this was inevitable, if church joined
forces with workingclass intellectuals could lead masses to challenge status
quo and free themselves…

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Social Action Theories

Religion actively used by individuals to make sense of daytoday life
Religion justifies the status quo
Micro view individuals use religion to explain why some people have wealth,
status and power and others do not theodicy of privilege and nonprivilege
(religious explanation of social inequality), e.g.…

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Religious Organisations and
Troeltsch defined features of church
Large formal organisation
Hierarchy of paid officials
Automatic recruitment
Tries to appeal to all members of society
May have close relationship with the state
Accepts wider society
Claims monopoly on religious truth
Relationship between church and state weak in comparison…

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Troeltsch defined sects
Small organisation, no professional hierarchy
Headed by charismatic leader
Exclusive membership
No automatic recruitment
Requires total commitment of members
Opposed to state and wider society
Claim monopoly on religious truth
Born of conflict within church resulting in small group breaking away normally
conflict from concern over…

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so much choice in postmodern age people do not commit to anything for long
but pick and choose from a series of cultic products

New Religious Movements
Since 1960s increase in number and range of small religious groups
throughout Europe and USA
Wallis categorised new religious movements (NRMS)
o Worldrejecting…

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Religious Belief, Social Change and
Religion and social stability
View that religion is a conservative force in society comes from structural
theories consensus and conflict views

Durkheim religion teaches people the moral norms and values they need to
stick to the collective conscience maintains social order, saw conservative…


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