Religion

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  • Created by: absrobo
  • Created on: 13-01-14 20:50

Functional Theories of Religion (1)

Durkheim 

  • key feature of religion was not belief in gods but fundamental distinction between sacred and profane in all religions
  • sacred symbols represent society's collective conscience (shared norms, values)
  • source of solidarity
  • Religion unites and segregates

Malinowski

  • performs psychological functions for individuals; helps them cope with stress that would undermine social solidarity

Parsons

  • creates and legitimates society's central values
  • primary source of meanin 
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Functional Theories of Religion (2)

Bellah

  • civil religion integrates society in a way that individual religions cannot

Merton

  • argues that religious surrogates give people same sense of congregation and emotional release as religion

Stark and Bainbridge

  • religious surrogates cannot replace religion as they involve no teachings
  • religions act as if in a market place, competing for customers (religious market theory)
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Marxist Theories of Religion

Marx 

  • used by capitalist class to control prol. by inducing state of false consciousness - ideological weapon
  • religion is a conservative force, religious teachings emphasise that poverty and suffering are a virtue
  • 'it is the opium of the people

Lenin

  • 'spiritual gin'

Bruce

  • US Christian Evangelical movement teaches wealth and successes of earth are signs of being chosen by god, manifest destiny

Norris and Inglehart

  • Existential Secuirty Theory - societies where people are secure there is low religion
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Neo-Marxist Theories of Religion

Bloch

  • religion can limit and prevent change in way marxists outline but can inspire people to rebel
  • religion is utopian- involves expression of hope for a better world

McGuire

  • Religion does different things to different groups at different times
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Feminist Theories of Religion

Woodhead

  • exclusion of women from catholic priesthood is evidence of churches deep unease about women 
  • accepts that traditional religions are patriarchal but argues that it is not true of all religions - women and veil

Armstrong

  • early religions often places women at the centre
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Po-Mo Theories of Religion

Davie

  • 'believing without belonging'
  • privatisation
  • 'vicarious religion' - small number of professional clergy practise religion on behalf of much larger number of people who experience in second hand

Hervieu-Leger

  • spiritual shopping
  • people feel they have choice as consumers of religion

Lyon

  • sees the last 3/4 decades as period of renchantment
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Secularisation in the UK (1)

Wilson

  • UK religion was stronger in past as churches had more power - majority attended
  • 6.3% adult population attended church on sundays in 2005 (halved since 1960's)
  • people receive spirtitual guidance from elsewhere

Bruce

  • reliigon has lost power and influence in europe
  • people used to give large sums of money to church
  • belief has become personal choice 
  • it has disengaged
  • industrialisation undermines the consensus of religious belief
  • cultural defence, cultural transition 

Weber

  • rationalisation
  • disenchanment
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Secularisation in the UK (2)

Parsons

  • structural differentiation - separate institutions carry out functions previously performed by a single institution = disengagement

Berger 

  • there are many interpretations of faith = religious diversity, this undermines religious structure
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Secularisation in the US

Bruce

  • 'secularisation from within'
  • stable rate of about 40% attendance has declined

Wilson

  • churchgoing in america was more of an expression of the american way of living
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NRM

Heelas

  • consumerist culture - individuals not belonging to a group
  • sacrilisation is growing

Bruce 

  • NAM's provide no solutions to problems have minimal influence of society

Dawkins

  • NAM's impact on society is dangerous - homeopathic hospitals and alternative medicines
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NAM

Weber

  • sects tend to arise in groups who are marginal to society

Stark and Bainbridge

  • it is the relatively deprived who break away from churches to form sects

Wilson

  • periods of rapid change disrupt and undermine established norms and values, people see it as a solution

Bruce

  • response to modernity, especially rationalisation of work
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Fundamentalism

Giddens

  • fundamentalists are tradionalists who seek to return to basics
  • response to postmodernity

Davie

  • male backlash against womens greater freedom/reaction to greater sexual freedom

Bruce 

  • monotheism - fundamentalism is a feature of societies and cultures that believe in one god and doesn't arise in polytheistic societies

Norris

  • Existential secuirty theory
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Science as a Belief System (1)

Popper

  • science is an 'open belief system' 
  • works on principle of falsification and testability

Horton

  • religion is closed and science is open

Merton

  • science is functional for society and are driven by the goal of enhancing human progress

Polyani

  • claims all belief systems are closed and reject challenges to the knowledge that they follow
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Science as a Belief System (2)

Kuhn

  • science is mostly closed system but at school etc scientists are taught to accept established theories
  • Paradigm - agreement about what to study. Being a successful scientist involves not challenging the paradigm

Lyotard

  • science is just another meta-narrative
  • focus is not on whether things are true but whether they can be applied/used
  • science falsely claims to make the world a better place
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Ideology

Gramsci

  • ideological domination of society and hegemony - maintaining ruling class world views, values and beliefs

Mannheim 

  • sees all belief systems as a partial or onesided world view
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