Religion - Defining it, and Characteristics
Functional and Inclusivist:
-Durkheim, religion is a "unified set of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, things which are set apart and forbidden".
-Profane means the everyday, mundane world.
-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.
-Looks at the ways in which unconventional beleifs can be seen as sacred.
Substantive and Exclusivist:
-Bruce, religion is "beliefs, actions and institutions which assume the existence of supernatural entities with powers of moral purpose".
-Involving supernatural, super human beliefs of some kind.
-Features of religion:
-Beliefs, in supernatural, sacred powers or beliefs.
-Theology, eg holy scripture.
-Practice, rituals and ceremonies
-Consequences, a set of moral or ethical values.
-No one has single monopoly of power, no single dominant ideology.
-Denies that there may be an unequal distribution of power in society.
-Dominant ideology in this case is the ruling class.
-Mannheim, the ruling class deliberately obscure facts in order to conceal the inequalities of capitalist society, thus preserving existing patterns of inequality, the privileged position of the ruling class, and preventing any social change which may threaten them.
-Althusser, the ideology is spread ideological state apparatuses.
-Gramsci, hegemony, the ruling class, through dominant ideology, maintains power by persuading the working class to adopt ruling class ideology as part of their own beliefs and values, thus consenting to the idea, and not being forced.
-Religion, offers a vision and means of understanding and explaining the world.
-There are 3 main aspects to religion,
-Belief in supernatural/spiritual, Faith on the part of believers, A body of unchanging truth.
Conservative Force vs Force for Change
Conservative Force: Something that prevents change and/or supports traditional beliefs and values.
Force for Change: Concerned with how religious beliefs and organisations can change society and move it forward.
McGuire and Robinson, four major interrelated factors influence whether religioon acts as a conservative force or force for social change. (Factors affecting whether or not religions becomes a radical force)
1) The nature and extent of religious belief.
2) The significance of religion in society's culture.
3) The extent of social involvement of religion
4) The degree of central authority in religious organisations
Conservative Force - Functionalism
Religion promotes social harmony, integration and solidarity, through the reinforcement of value consensus, analysing the role of religion in meeting the functional prerequisites.
Helps to maintain cultural traditions and establish the basic rules of social life.
Sociologists: Durkheim, Malinowski, Parsons.
Functionalist View - Durkheim & Malinowski
Durkheim: Social order and stability can only exist if people are integrated into society by a value consensus. Religion provides a set of beliefs and practices which unite people together. Religion relates to the sacred aspect of society, though not necessarily the super natural. Totenism shows every society has beliefs. When worshipping totem, really worshipping society. Beliefs such as totenism and the ceremonies and rituals, act as a kind of social glue, binding people together and building bonds. By sharing beliefs people develop a collective conscience. Though religion builds collective conscience, the supernatural dimensions will eventually disappear, civil religion may take on this role.
Malinowski: Religion reinforces social norms and values, promoting social solidarity. Gives security in the face of uncertainty. Provides emotional security which relieves situations of emotional stress which threaten social solidarity. Religion is a source of comfort, explanation and meaning for individuals when faced by circumstances such as funerals. Supported by evidence that church attendance soared during the war.
Functionalist View - Parsons
-The role of religion is providing and underpinning the core values of any culture, and the social norms which regulate peoples behaviour.
-Moral beliefs and values in religion may become so deeply ingrained through socialisation that it has an effect on believers and non believers alike, as they will feel a guilty conscience.
-Religion gives meanings and explanations, enabling people to make sense of otherwise inexplicable and uncontrollable life crises which might threaten order and stability in society.
-Religion provides a mechanism of adjustment.
Criticisms: In contemporary society, it is hard for a common religion to bring people together as there is now a wide diversity in faith. More often than not religion tears people apart, religious based wars, it seems that the stronger the religious belief, the stronger the sense that other religious beliefs are wrong, heretical, or evil.
Conservative Force - Marxism
-According to Marx, religion is "the sign of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions."..
-Althusser, religion is an ideological state apparatus, which spreads Gramsci's view of hegemony. According to Marxists religion has 2 main functions:
1) Religion is the "opium of the people" (Lenin) -Religion acts like a halluctionary, pain relieving drug, creating illusions among the oppressed which helps to maintain the power of the working class. It eases the pain produced by poverty, exploitation and oppression in unequal class societies and helps to maintain the power of the working class. It eases the pain in unequal class societies and help to overcome the effects of alienation of individuals by providing some control, purpose and meaning in their lives. Religion promises an eventual escape from suffering and oppression in this life with promises of an ecstatic future in life after death, making a virtue of poverty and suffering.
2) Religion legitimises and maintains the power of the ruling class -It is a instrument of social control used by the ruling class to justify their power. Religion provides a religious explanation and justification for inequality. Inequalities are presented as being god-given and therefore legitimised and inevitable. Criticism: Religion can only act like opium of the people if people actually take it. Religion can act as a form of resistance to the powerful, thus as an agent of social change.
Conservative Force - Interpretivist
-Religion is used by individuals to create meaning and interpretations of the world and of symbols. -Thus religion can be used manipulate peoples thoughts, eg shroud of turin, which in itself is a piece of cloth but people have placed meaning on it for it to be special.
-Berger Religion provides a universe of meaning that gives individuals a sense of meaning/explanation.
-Religion provides a theodicy that gives meaning to and makes sense of seemingly inexplicable and fundamental questions about human existence, for instance meaning of life.
-Religion is "sacred canopy" that provides a shield for an individual and protects them form uncertainties, meaningless and pointlessness of life by helping them to interpret and make sense of the world and their position in it.
-Religion helps make sense of the world such as universes of meaning religion is contributing to the maintenance of social stability.
-Berger argues that in modern society religion is losing its role for most people as the provider of a universe of meaning, being replaced by reason, logic and science, thus creating growing secularisation.
-Increasingly diversity and fragmentation of beliefs and lifestyles, thus meaning religion is losing its validity as a universe of meaning and theodicy.
-Berger argues, the sacred canopy of religion has been lost.
Conservative Force - Religion as a compensator
-Stark and Bainbridge examine the meaning and the functions of religion for individuals in society.
-Religion meets the needs of individuals when their sense of social solidarity is disrupted by economic hardship, loneliness or grief.
-Beliefs in God, religion and religious organisations provides a means for individuals to make sense of and come to terms with such events as well as answering fundamental questions.
-Religion acts as a general compensator, providing hope after death.
-Religion in some form or another will never disappear, as it provides answers to universal questions and offers general compensator's meeting human needs.
(General Compensator: a belief that if individuals act in particular way, they will eventually be rewarded.)
Force for Change - Weberism
Calvinism, Weber sought to explain why capitalist industrialisation developed first in western Europe rather than in other parts of the world so studied Calvinism
-He found that their work ethic, the protestant work ethic, which involved having no luxuries and working very hard and saving, ultimately developed their society much faster than others.
Features of the Calvinism and the Protestant work ethic:
1) Predestination - Fate is already decided by God
2) The Protestant work ethic emphasised hard work, thrift and modesty.
3) Hard work and material success were seen as religious virtues.
4) Valued the pursuit of wealth and making money, promoted the virtues of reinvesting profits back into the business rather than spending them on luxuries. These values were not just part of a good capitalist business practice, they were also good religious morality according to the Calvinists.
Weber, Niebuhr, Troeltsch and Wallis came up with typologies:
-World Rejecting: In opposition to the world, reject many of the dominant norms and values of society.
-World Accommodating: Generally accept the dominant norms and values of society.
-World Affirming: Accept society as it is.
Churches and Denominations: Relatively minor differences, other than size, influence and relationship to state. Both have a bureaucratic structure. Growing secularisation means that many churches and denominations do not expect or get a high degree of commitment.
Sects and Cults: Involve beliefs and behaviour that are seen as odd, weird or bizarre, or a threat to existing society. Tend to be seen as more deviant as they involve beliefs and behaviour that are seen as odd, weird or bizarre, or a threat to existing society.
Religious Organisations - Church
An example would be the Church of England. Its organisational structure is bureaucratic, hierarchical power structure with paid officials. The attitude to wider society is World Accommodating. There is not a great amount of commitment required and demands on members/followers are sparse, they integrate with society, have few restrictions and accept the social environment in which they exist. Membership is universal and inclusive, often born into it. Their social base's are usually made up of higher status groups. They're intolerant of other groups and claim a monopoly of religious truth.
Steve Bruce - "The concept of 'the church' is outdated in most christian countries now."
Religious Organisations - Denominations
An example would be the Methodists. The structure of denominations is made up of a hierarchy of paid officials and a bureaucratic structure. They are world accommodating, generally accept societies norms and values, with some minor differences for instance gambling and drinking for Methodists. They often have no links to the state, unlike the church. They integrate with the world and have no rejection of wider society. Members are recruited by self selection (conversion) or via family tradition, it is a very open membership. The working class are least likely to be represented in these. They do not claim a monopoly of the religious truth.
Becker - Denominations are just "a sect that has been cooled down", as it loses some of its initial fervour, and becomes more tolerant, world accommodating and 'respectable'. "
Religious Organisations - Sects
An example of a sect would be Peoples Temple. There is often no hierarchy of paid officials or bureaucratic structure within them, they're a tightly-knit community, often under control of a single charismatic leader. They're world rejecting, radical and sometimes will involve a radical rejection of wider society. They reject the norms and values and replace them with alternative beliefs and practice. They have a strict entry criteria and command a strong involvement and commitment that will change their lifestyles and sometimes withdraw them from conventional life. They're very hostile to non members. They're social base is often a small, exclusive dispossessed or alienated minority, drawn from groups who experience relative deprivation and/or are marginalised. (usually drawn from poorer social groups. They claim a monopoly of the truth, only members have access to the religious knowledge that offers the only true path to salvation.
Bryan Wilson- Sects exist in a state of tension or conflict with wider society, rejecting society and its values. They claim to have elite status and the route to salvation. Will exercise stern discipline including the possibility of expulsion. They're often lead by a charismatic leader.
Max Weber- Sects are most likely to emerge among marginal groups in society because of the theodicy of disprivilege.
-Bryan Wilson, Periods of sudden or rapid social change can provide fertile ground for the growth of sets, such periods can create anomie. Sects may provide solutions to such periods of uncertainty by providing a sense of certainty in an uncertain world.
Why are sects short lived?
1) The Problem of maintaining commitment and fervour: The heavy commitment required is hard to maintain, particularly in strong world rejecting movements.
2) The loss of charasmatic leaders: if the leader dies, so might support.
3) The changing circumstances of memders and appeal of sects: In NRMs, as youger people grow older, the reasons that drove them into the sect diminish.
4) Religous diversity in postmodern society: spiritual shopping.
Criticisms Aldridge - The suggestion that sects must disspear over time or turn into denominations is false, many sects have existed a long time while still retaining their features as sects, eg amish, jehovas wtinesses.Not all sects depend on a charasmatic leader
Wilson - What will affect whether a sect can retain its status will depend on what its members see as being required in order to be 'saved':
-Convertionist Sects: i.e the salvation army, think the best way to save the world is not to be hostile to and isolated from it, but engaged with it, trying to convert individuals by spreading the message and 'saving soulds'.
-Introversionist sects: i.e the amish, can only succeed by keeping apart from the world, this it is easy to maintain sect form.
-Adventist Sects: i.e Jehovahs Witnesses, hold millenarian beliefs that suggest there is going to be some form of divine intervention in the second coming of christ such as armaggedon/ judgement day that will destroy all the evil and spare the few selected members of the sect.
Religious Organisations - Cults
An example of a cult would be Scientology. They are loosely structured, tolerant and non exclusive. They lack some of the features associated with religion, ie religious buildings. They're world affirming, accepting the world as it is, offering individuals special knowledge, personal insight, and access to either spiritual powers within themselves of supernatural powers. Their is no real large commitment required and usually 'followers' rather than formal members. Cults are non exclusive and open to all, many revolve around personal matters and are highly individualistic. Followers often have above average incomes, who feel something is lacking in their otherwise successful lives. They're tolerant to existing religions, and co-exist alongside them.
-Giddens "Cults lack a clearly defined and exclusive belief system"
-Aldridge "For most people cults are more like therapies than a religious group."
-Stark and Bainbridge Audience cults - provide little beyond information services for individuals, little organisation or involvement of followers and consumed individually
-Client cults - Have more organisation, they offer services such as therapy and courses, for instance spiritualism.
-Cult movements - More organised and commercial, involve a wide range of activities, support, and personal involvement/commitment, i.e Scientology.
New Religious Movements (1)
They have little in common with established religious organisations.
Wallis - Draw influence from traditional religous faiths. There are three typologies, and no group will conform to exactly one of them.
Aldridge - NRMs are mainly sects and cults, they consist of a diverse range of groups, containing some of the most controversial social movements, posing threats to both the lives of their members and wider society.
Features of NRMs (Barker)
-Often concerned with the spiritual and/or supernatural, and questions shared with mainstream religions.
-High turnover of members.
-Led by charismatic leader.
-Certain that they hold the only correct truth, and they are the chosen ones. (claim a monopoly)
-Suspicion or hostility from wider society i.e the mass media
New Religious Movements (2)
World Rejecting NRMs
-The most controversial group
-Hostile to wider society
-Some characteristics of sects
-Some have high levels of control and discipline over their members, members show uncritical obedience.
-Sometimes hold millenarian beliefs, i.e branch davidians who thought the second coming of Christ on earth was imminent.
-High turnover of members due to harshness of the regimes they are meant to follow.
-Act as compensators to marginality.
World Accommodating NRMs
-More concerned with rediscovering a spirituality thought to have been lost, and revitalising the spiritual life of their members, than worldly affairs. Religion is seen as a personal matter.
World Affirming NRMs
-Mainly cults, lack many features associated with traditional religious organisations such as buildings/religious services and rituals/ ethical and moral codes. -More like therapy groups than religous organisations.
-Most of the people who use the services of world affirming movements do so as consumers, buying the services for sale.
-Followers live otherwise conventional lives, the services are meant to help them do this successfully.
New Age Groups
A wide diversity of mind-body-spirit ideas, interests and therapies from across the globe.
Steve Bruce: New Age religion has 5 main features:
1) The emphasis on the self - freeing the 'self within'
2) Everything is connected - a holistic approach (mind/body/spirit)
3) The self is the final authority - no authority higher than the individual, personal experience is the only test that matters.
4) The global cafeteria - a vast range of beliefs, people can mix as they choose
5) Therapy - new age ideas are therapeutic, they make you more succesful, healthier and happier.
Sutcliffe: New age cant be regarded as a movement, more a means for individuals to pursue their own self development and explore their inner spirituality.
Max Weber - 'disenchantment'
-Creates a desacralisation of consciousness.
-Spiritual, magical and mystical aspects of life are replaced with logic, reason and rational thought into the planned/predictable, undermining religious beliefs.
-Reliability, do different organisations use the same method of counting membership?
-Surveys are also vulnerable to the wording of a question that can affect the validity and reliability: When asked what is your religion? 72% answered christian, When asked do you regard yourself as belonging to a religion? 54% answered christian.
Interpretation of evidence
-High participation does not mean strong belief, even if church attendance is high, it doesn't mean people still believe in religious ideas, they may be there for social support, or being seen as socially respectable. (however is no longer the case now days.)
-Low participation does not mean lack of belief, strong religious beliefs but prefer to treat them as a private matter.
-What counts as 'practising' a religion may vary between individuals and religious groups: some sects demand high levels of commitment while mainstream churches require very little to be a member.
Secularisation - arguments FOR the decline of reli
-Steve Bruce the growth of scientific explanations and the application of technology have undermined religious beliefs, confirmed by opinion polls, which have recorded a general decline in religious belief.
-Religous beliefs are now for most poeple a last resort, for instance an incurable illness.
-In postmodern societies, meta-narratives like religion have lost their power to influence how people think about, interpret and explain the world; people are taking more control over their own lives and are less willing to be told by religious authorities what to believe.
-In contemporary consumer driven societies, people are choosing to create their own pick n mix, do it yourself cocktail of beliefs, centred on themselves and construction of their identities, after shopping around in the spiritual supermarket. Religion is now just one form of belief competing with many others.
The declining influence of religious morality: various churches' traditional disapproval of things like divorce now have little impact on peoples behavior.
The fragmentation of belief: there is no longer one set of beliefs which most people share, but a wide diversity of different religious faiths, and new age ideas.
Declining religous knowledge: many of those who describe themselves as christian don't know much about the life of Jesus.
Secularisation - arguments AGAINST the decline of
-Many people still shown signs of religiosity, the Eurobarometer Survey showed 70% of people claim to believe that there is a soul, and sin, while a further 40% believed in some sort of spirit or life force. However a criticism of this is, Bruce says this is a sign of secularisation, a "halfway house" showing that many people are moving away from religious belief, but cant yet bring themselves to admit they're non believers.
-There is a resacrilisation of beliefs, people are still searching for new meanings and commitment, in NAMs and NRMs to re-establish religiosity in their lives and get clues to what their future holds.
-Heelas et al, there is a 'spiritual revolution' with growing involvement with what they called the 'holistic milieu', while there may be a secularisation in relation to traditional religions, there is at the same time, a process of resacrilisation as people shift from conventional religion to a more individualistic spirituality centred on the self.
-Religious belief is not disappearing, but is simply being reorientated. However a criticism of his is that the influence of these groups are marginal, and the change is so little it is insignificant.
-Criticism, Bryan Wilson, sects are the last outposts of religion in a secular society, showing that the only way religious belief can survive is by isolation from the secularising influences of wider society.
-Traditional beliefs remain strong: pentecostalist denominations are growing, rising rates of crime, divorces and abortions have a wide range of causes, and cannot be explained as simply arising from declining religious beliefs.
Arguments FOR the decline in religious practice
-There is a declining membership in all major christian denominations, and the decline is progressive, as the existing members grow older and die, they are not being replaced.
-Declining attendance, compared to 40% in 1851, in 2007 only 2% of the population attended religious services on Sundays.
-Less than 1/2 of marriages now involve a religious ceremony
-If trends continue Sunday schools will be extinct by 2016
-While involvement in NRMs and NAMs and sects has been growing, tiny numbers of people are involved, thus the growth is insignificant compared to the membership loss of the major denominations.
Arguments AGAINST decline in religious practice
-Belonging without believing -In the past people attended church because it was necessary to achieve respectability in the community.
-THUS, the decline in church attendance today therefore may not necessarily mean that there has been a decline in belief, only a decline in the social pressure to attend church Believing without belonging/Privatisation of religious practice
-Grace Davie, believing in God does not necessarily mean having to attend religious services.
-Declining religious attendance has not been accompanied by declining religious belief.
-People are simply becoming unchurched.
Criticism -Not all denominations and faiths are declining -90% of funerals involve a religious ceremony.
Arguments FOR the decline of religious institution
-Religious institutions today have become increasingly marginalised, as they are no longer directly involved in the important areas of social life THEREFORE they have lost significance and influence, and most people can now live their lives completely untouched by religious institutions and the beliefs they seek to spread.
-Religious education is declining, and Sunday schools are near extinct. -Religious institutions are unable to command respect even for Christmas and Easter - these are now an excuse for a holiday, shopping and excessive eating/drinking.
-Increasing sources of knowledge other than religion, such as the mass media. Religion used to be the sole source of knowledge for society, but now the TV and the Internet have replaced this, and replaced religion as the source of authority and knowledge for many people, likely to have far more influence on peoples thinking, accelerated by globalisation.
-The church is no longer closely associated with the state, and therefore has little influence over social policies.
-Herzberg, in order to survive in a secular society, religious institutions have been forced to move away from traditional doctrines and concern with the supernatural, and have compromised and watered down their beliefs and become less religious.
-Disneyfication, in postmodern societies, people want to establish their identities, including their beliefs they hold, by customising their own personalised packages rather than those formed by social class, gender, ethnicity etc or beliefs handed down by religious institutions
-In PMS, religion is forced to market and package itself in many different guises in order to attract customers by appealing to a wide variety of consumer tastes.
Arguments AGAINST the decline of religious institu
-The institutional power of the church still remains, the CofE remains the official church in England, and the British monarch must be a member of the Cof E, and is crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and known as the 'defender of faith'.
-CofE have seats in the house of lords
-the CofE is extremely wealthy, and is one of the largest landowners in the country
-Britain has many CofE and Catholic faith schools, with a growing number being provided by other faiths
-Religious education is a compulsory part of the National Curriculum
-The strengthening of religious institutions, the church has disengaged from secular society in many ways, but this might also strengthen the place of religion in peoples lives, as it is now more focused on spiritual matters, and avoids 'pollution' from non religious affairs. Religious institutions remain very important in the ethnic minority and community, mosques, temples and synagogues are often a focus of social and cultural as well as religious life, and are very important symbols of identity in EMGs.
Secularisation as a Universal Phenomenon
-Religious beliefs and practice remain high in many catholic countries-Ireland, Poland, Italy
-Religious beliefs and practice remain high in EMGs
Social Groups - Gender
-Religion and religious ideology plays a part in maintaining the male dominatio over women that is found in many aspects of contemporary social life, achieved by religious ideas which seek to control womens' sexuality, and emphasise their once-traditional roles as partners of men, mothers, and carers.
-Liberal Feminists, aim for more equality by seeking to remove obstacles that prevent them.
-Radical Feminists, see most existing religions as existing purely for the benefit of men
-Marxist Feminists, emphasise the Marxist view that religion acts as the 'opium of the people' but with a focus on the way the religion acts as a means of compensating particularly working class women, for their double exploitation (working class and female)
-Religious scriptures, women are either invisible or subordinate to men, within Christianity god is male and so is Jesus The stained glass ceiling, just as in mainstream society, women are found at the bottom of the career ladder in religion, there are no female bishops, and there is deep opposition in the church of England against this.
-Religious Doctrines, in Christianity, there is respect for the Virgin Mary as a submissive mother. Many religious fundamentalist movements such as Islamic Fundamentalism seek to return women to their traditional roles.
-The veiling of women, sexual pleasure is disapproved of or condemned in many religions, should be only for reproduction. Roman Catholics, reinforce women's primary role as a mother.
-Criticisms, not all religious denominations or faiths are patriarchal, ancient Greece and Egypt had goddesses, NAMs such as Wicca are women based.
Social Groups - Gender (2)
Women are more religious than men
-Steve Bruce, women are more likely to express an interest in religion, have stronger personal faith and belief in life after death, involve themselves in religious rituals/worship.
Gender socialisation may contribute to a greater involvement in religion for women..
-Nurturing, Steve Bruce, women's socialisation into the nurturing aspects of traditional femininity, along with their child bearing/rearing experience can make them less aggressive and more caring, explaining a greater involvement with religion in terms of perhaps NRMs in terms of stereotypical female pursuits. i.e natural solutions and therapies such as holistic worship, horoscopes, astrology, meditation etc, which is more appealing to women.
-Social Deprivation - Women are more likely to face social deprivation, they are more likely to experience poverty, personal or family problems, disillusionment and alienation from wider society, they are often less confident, and therefore more likely to seek self-improvement, perhaps through NAMs.
-Status Frustration - May be experienced by women who lack personal fulfillment or status as a result of being confined to the home by the constraints of housework and childcare, or are in unsatisfying lower-middle-class jobs, which are mainly done by women. In this case religious participation, particularly cults or NAMs may help to compensate this. (stained glass ceiling)
Social Groups - Ethnicity
Durkheim - for ethnic communities in contemporary Britain, religious belief and customs are often a means for these groups to maintain their own cultural identity and traditions, and provide guidelines on how individuals should conduct themselves in their daily lives. An important element of the identity of minority ethnic groups in the UK is their religious groups. Asian relgious groups, those form Pakisatan, Bangladesh and India were fighting against the dominant beliefs in society and had to set up own places of worship for Hinduism and Islam, thus making it more difficult Islam, since the attacks on the world trade center and london bombings, carried out by Muslim extremists, Islam has been portrayed in a negative light. The media has sensationalised the event (media amplification). Thanks to the media and prejudice, being identified as "muslim" has become a stigmatised identity, bringing harrasment and fear for the vast majority of muslims who have no sympathy with extremists, but now experience islamophobia.
-Minority ethnic groups in Britain are, in general, significantly more religious than the white ethnic minority, though, as with Christianity, younger poeple and males are less religious.
-While churches are closing there is a higher demand for mosques and temples, along with state funded faith schools for ethnic minority religions
-Grace Davie, higher levels of religiosity help to maintain tradition, group cohesion and community solidarity.
-Relgion is important in the lives of minority ethnic communities as a source of socialisation.
Social Groups - Ethnicity (2)
-Pushed to the edges of society, especially those of older EMGs.
-Pakistani and Bangladeshi households are the poorest in Britain /-African Caribbeans face higher levels of unemployment-Marxist, religion is the opium of the people, comforting diversion from racial attacks.
-Stark and Bainbridge, religion can act as a compensator for EMGs.
-Family structures are much tighter knit, which may result in a pressure to conform to religious values and behaviour, particularly in new generations.
-Religion can provide individuals with many makers of identity, eg dress. By asserting an identity drawn from religious elements of their cultures, members can resist the denial of status and devaluation of their culture through religion.
-Young british born pakistani's find muslim identity rather than a pakistani one as appealing as it provided stability, security and certainty when facing uncertainty.
Social Groups - Age
-In general, people seem to develoop a greater attachment to religion as they grow older.
Old people and religion
-Disengagement, older people may face a growing privatisation of their lives, with increasing social isolation as partners and friends die.
-Provides a form of social support
-Religious socialisation, the old generation in contemporary society are more likely to have had a great emphasis placed on religion through the education system and socialisation in the family when they were younger.
-Ill health and death, older people are faced with declining health and death looming on the horizon the things that religion concerns itself with.
Social Groups - Age (2)
Are young people less religous?
-Young people are undoubtedly less religious in terms of their expressed religious belief in surveys. and their participation in the mainstream Christian religions. Criticism, not true among young muslims, and young people seem more attracted to New Age spirituality and NRMs.The vast majority do not participate, this does not mean that they are lacking in spirituality, it could just be being expressed in a new privatised way which cannot be recorded by surveys.
-The declining attraction of religion, mainstream religious organisations are very unattractive to most young people, they find services boring, repetitive and old-fashioned.
-The expanded spiritual marketplace, NRMs and NAMs that young people are more likely to be exposed to due to their large consumerism of the mass media and the Internet.
-The privatisation of belief, Grace Davie, this is now believing without belonging.
-Secular spirituality and the sacred, young people are now replacing religion with other things and becoming attached to other things, celebrities, football or clubbing (links with weber disenchantment & durkheims view of the sacred). Meaning young people may not have lost all religiosity just finding new forms associated with the non religious world.
-Young people may be becoming less religious because the no longer believe the old religious explanations, and can pick, mic or reject any beliefs they choose.
-Steve Bruce, the CofE is increasingly unable to recruit young people via the decline of sunday schools, if trends continue will be extinct by 2016.
-Leisure is a much bigger part of life, shops and clubs now open for very long hours and on a Sunday.