The Interpretivist Approach
Interpretivist approaches study the meaning and interpretations of people in order to understand their behaviour. They therefore look at the way religion is used by followers to create meanings and interpretations of the world, and to understand the meanings sacred symbols have for individuals.
By suggesting that religion provides universes of meaning and theodicies to explain the darker side of daily life, Interpretivists argue that that is is contributing to the maintenance's of social stability.
Berger argues that religion provides what he calls a 'universe of meaning'. This is a set of ideas and values about the meaning of life, which helps people make sense of the world, and enabled them to give life some focus, order and meaning.
Berger sees religion as a kind of canopy stretching over society providing a shield that protects people from uncertainties, meaninglessness and pointlessness of life by helping to interpret and make sense of the world and their position in it.