Definitions of religion

  • Created by: teddyk00
  • Created on: 17-09-19 14:03

Mueller (constructionist)

Definition = "a disease of language", socially created by language creating a world where we can act and interact with each other

Advantages = this definition of religion identifies the importance of a meaningful reality

Disadvantages = this definition fails to identify the characteristics of religion

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Tylor (substantial)

Definition = humanity's attempt to understand the soul, both their own and otherwise, as well as a belief in spiritual beings

Advantages = this definition identifies the importance of a meaningful reality

Disadvantages = for this definition to apply to religion, there has to be a spiritual aspect, which may not always be present

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Durkheim ( functional)

Definition = a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred and profane things

Advantages = it concentrates on religious practice as a central ingredient; it allows comparison between societies and practices; it doesn't question the truth of belief

Disadvantages = this definition is ethnocentric; it also fails to consider individual conscieousness

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Hammond ( functional)

Definition = religion is a sub-category of the sacred

Advantages = this definition recognises that there are different things people hold sacret, not just religion

Disadvantages = it fails to explain what sacred means in terms of religion

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Weber (constructionist)

Definition = religion should be defines through the subjective reality of an actor since different people interpret religion differently

Advantages = it recognises that the definition of religion is subjective

Disadvantages = it fails to define religion in terms of its characteristics

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Bell/Berger (substantial)

Definition = religion is a set of coherent answers to the core existential questions with a creed and celebrations

Advantages = this definition takes into consideration religious practices

Disadvantages = this definition fails to consider the relationship between religion and the economy

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Turner (functional)

Definition = religion is a search for meaning, however different economic groups use religion in different ways

Advantages = this definition recognises the importance of the economy and its relationship with religion

Disadvantages = this definition presents religion as being more materialistic than spiritual

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Glock and Stark (constructionist)

Definition = methodological pluralism - to define religion, sociologists should take into consideration the individual, involvement, feelings, understanding, and how these combine

Advantages = this definition recognises the complexity of religion

Disadvantages = this definition fails to actually define religion

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