Belief system: Intergrated set of ideas, which influences the way that people see the world. Can take several forms: religious, political and scientific.
Religious beleif system: A belief in the existence of a supernatural entity or other foces. May or may not claim the existence of a supreme God/ several gods.
Monotheistic- Belief in single god- Christianit
Polythesitic- Belief in several gods- Hinduism
Spiritual religion without belief in god- Budahism
Cult with supernatural beliefs but no concept of god- Heaven's Gate cult
3 Definitions of religion
1) Substantive definitions
- Attempts to explain what religion is, concerned with the CONTENT of religion
-Yinger 1961- defined religion as a 'System of beliefs & practices by means of which a group of people struggle with the ultimate problems of human life.'
- Taylor 1903- defined religion as 'Belief in Spiritual beings
2) Functional Definitions
- Defines religion in terms of how its used and purpose to society, functions it performs for society
- Durkheim 1961- defined religion in terms of distinction between profane an dsacred
3) Polythetic definitions
- Define it by creating list of possible characteristics that make up a religion but accept that no one example can share them all
- Identifies no of overlapping
-Southwold 1978- suggested list of factors- concern of the sacred, godlike beings and human relationships with them
-Marx 1844- described religion as ideological, used by ruling class to deceive the masses into accepting social inequalities. Ideology is a negative term