Topic 1: Theories Of Religion - A2

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Evaluation
Theories

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` BELIEFS IN SOCIETY
TOPIC 1 : THEORIES OF RELIGION
TOPIC 2: RELIGION & SOCIAL CHANGE
TOPIC 3: SECULARISATION
TOPIC 4: RELIGION, RENEWAL & CHOICE
TOPIC 5: RELIGION IN GLOBAL CONTEXT
TOPIC 6: ORGANISATIONS, MOVEMENTS AND MEMBERS
TOPIC 7: IDEOLOGY & SCIENCE

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THEORIES OF RELIGION
What is Religion ­ Definitions
Substantive Definition
- Belief in a God or supernatural
- WEBER ­ Has to believe in something above natural
- Buddhism doesn't believe in a God, But it's a religion?
Functional Definition
- Social or Psychological function to the individual
- DURKHEIM ­ Contribution social integration (helps bring people together)
- YINGER ­ Religion answers ultimate questions ("what happens when we die")
-How can something that brings people together as one, be a religion? AKA
FOOTBALL
Social…read more

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Functionalist View of Religion
Key ideas:
- Society is a system
- Social Order + Solidarity
- Religion keeps social norms + values
Durkheim On Religion
- Maintains Value Consensus + Solidarity
The Sacred & Profane
Durkheim:
- Religions not about a God
- It's about Profane + Sacred
Sacred: Things set apart and forbidden, feeling of awe, fear and wonder
Profane: No special significance, mundane and ordinary
Religion involves rituals + practises to sacred items.…read more

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The Collective Conscience
Daily Rituals = Collective Conscience
Share set of norms and values
-Regular rituals reinforce collective conscience
-Maintains social integration
-Binds people together
-Single morals communities
- Makes us feel part of something.…read more

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Malinowski: Agrees with Durkheim
Religion promotes solidarity
Religion Performs psychological functions for individuals
Helps them cope with stress
Malinoski: Identifies two types of situations that it helps
Where the outcome is important but unpredictable:
Lagoon Fishing when in safe lagoons they're normal
When having to fish in uncertain dangerous ocean
They pray and do rituals to make them feel better
Pray just in case anything happens to reassure themselves.…read more

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Main Functions
- It creates and legitimates values and norms
- It is a primary source of information
- Legitimates societies basics norms and values by making them sacred
- Primary sources of knowledge
- Makes life feel meaningful
- Suffering = Reward in after life
- Answers questions
Civil Religion
Robert Bellah
- Religion Unifies society
- Belief system that attaches sacred qualities to society
- Faith to the country
Pledge to the flag
National Anthem
Functional Alternatives
Things that aren't religious but sill…read more

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Society divides class
Exploits Labour
Makes working class conscious of inequality
Religion as an Ideology
- Ideology is a belief system that distorts
- Legitimates Inequality
- Religion operates ideological weapons ­ Legitimates suffering
- Religion misleads poor to believe suffering is favoured by god in afterlife
- Creates false consciousness, prevents poor from breaking out
- LENIN: spiritual gin
Religion intoxicates, keeps them from overthrowing
- Religion makes the powerful need to be obeyed as they can be Gods representatives
16th century Kings
Religion…read more

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Workers are manipulated
- No freedom
- Under control by capitalists
- Huge division of labour
Religion therefore:
- Opiates the dull experience
- Masks, covers what's happening
- Promises positive afterlife
Marx's see's religion as:
- Product of alienation
- Gets rid of suffering so they continue with it
- Legitimates
Evaluation Of Marxists
- Ignores positives functions
- Too critical
- Neo-Marx see some parts helping
- Gives positive hope
Althusser ­ Rejects the alienation concept as unscientific
Feminists Theory
Patriarchal…read more

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Religions Organisations
- Male Dominant
- Catholicism
Place Of Worship
- Segregates sexes ­ Seating women at the back
- Women cannot read specific sacred books
- Not allowed in when menstrual or pregnant
Sacred Texts
- Male Gods
- Anti Female stereotypes (EVE)
Religion Laws + Customs
- Many give women few rights
- Men can marry more
- Cultural norms = Unequal
Criticisms
ARMSTRONG ­ women used to be placed at the centre of religion
Saadawi ­ We already had a patriarchal society,…read more

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