Substantative definition AO1
. What the religion actually is and involves a belief in supernatural
. Definitions are exclusivist as a clear distinction between what is religious and non religious belief.
. Accept that there may be a decline or growth in religious activity at various stages of history. Within this definition there are several key features that a religion should include;
. Beliefs - in a supernatural element/ God / symbols which in some way are regarded as sacred and represent these powers such as a cross or holy water.
. Theology - Set of teachings and beliefs usually based on a holy book
. Practice - Set of rituals or ceremonies to express religious beliefs (praying)
. Institutions - Some form of organisation (vicars, priests and buildings such as churches or mosques)
. Consequences - Set of moral or ethical values that are meant to guide or influence believers
Substantative defintion AO2
. Allows us to examine only those practices that involve religious feelings and therefore we can measure the extent to which secularisation occurring.
. Makes most sense to people and therefore makes sociology accessible and understandable to non sociologists.
. The definition ignores any belief that doesn't hold a belief in supernatural element (buddhism)
. Has Western Bias as it excludes religion that don't see God in the same way as the Western World
Functional definition AO1
.Refers to the role that religion performs for society as a whole - acting as a unifying force and brigns society together
. Inclusivist definitions looks at the practing or thereligion brings society together rather than focusing on the actual belief in God/Supernatural
. Religion is essential for society at all times as it is a necessary part of being human, however, it can take many different forms
. As well as conventional beliefs such as Christianity, would also cover football, music and celebrities as these beliefs take on a sacred quality and can play a similar role in peoples lives as religion
Functional definition AO2
. It allows sociologists to cover a wide range of things that perform functions such as integration (football)
. Doesn't have western bias and therefore includes religions such as Buddhism
. Means that pretty much anything can be classed as a religion, just because collective chanting at a football match brings people together doesn't mean that it can provide same functions as a religion can, makes it difficult therefore to see whether religion is declining or not
. It doesn't allow for believing without belonging and belonging without believing. For example, someone may believe in a particular religion but not openly talk about it or do the things assoicated with that religion/belief.
. People may believe simply because it is the 'right thing to do' but not actually believe - it is more to keep up appearences
Social Constructive definition AO1
. Interpretivist approach which focuses on how indivudals define religion
. It is not possible to have a single universal defintion of religion - means different things to different people
. How definitions of religion have been created by individuals (scientology)
Social Constructive defintion AO2
. Allows individuals to provide their own meanings to religion, therefore, it doesn't require a belief in God or Supernatural.
. Doesn't assume that religion provides the same functions for everyone in all societies