Definition of religion

All the thinkers related to the definition of religion 

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  • Created by: YazziB
  • Created on: 07-06-14 14:36

Definition of religion


Weber defines religion in terms of substantive definition where he defines religion in terms of the religious belief in supernatural power or superior power that is above nature and cannot be explained scientifically. Substantive definitions are exclusive- so there is a clear line between religious beliefs and non-religious beliefs. Some sociologists argue that this definition is Western bias this is because religions such as Buddhism do not adopt the western ideology of god.

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Definition of religion

Durkheim & Yinger:

Durkheim and Yinger define religion in terms of the contribution it makes to society such as social integration also the functions it performs to individuals. Functional definitions are inclusive so as long as they play a function they are seen as a religion. But many sociologists argue just because an institution play a part in integrating individuals into groups it does not make it religion. For example collective chanting at a football match may make individuals feel part of a group i.e. are integrating but it is not a religion. 

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Definition of religion


Aldridge takes an interpretivist approach on defining religion. He argues the term religion is a social construction where the definition has been constructed, challenged and fought over. For example,  some governments are trying to ban the ‘religion’ scientology. This shows that definition of religion can be influenced by those in power.  However if religion is social construction then it will become impossible to define religion. 

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