Religious Organisations

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  • Church
  • Denomination
  • Sect
  • Cult


  • Weber - six charcteristics,
  • Large universal membership - majority of Christians in the UK.
  • Inclusive membership - born into church, sense of identity.
  • Bureaucratis structures and hierarchers - like large business organisations and tend to be bureaucratic.
  • Professional clergy - salaried professionals.
  • Tied to the state - accept the way wider society is organised.
  • A monopoly of the truth - their theologies and belief system are superior.


  • Bruce - this defintion is more relebant to pre modern Christian societies because religion became more fragmented after the industrial revelution and consequently modern society is now characterised by religious pluralism.
  • Davie - churches are always conservative or connect to the state and ruling class.
  • Some radical bishops are quite critical of the ruling class and the various typed of inequality that exist today.


  • Niebuhr - characteristics
  • Large membership - more members from work classes.
  • Inclusive membership - membership is involuntary.
  • A bureaucracy - hierarchies.
  • A professional clergy - employed full time or part time.
  • An acceptance of wider society - do not usually conflict with wider social or cultural beliefs and values.
  • Acceptance of religious diversity - reasonably happy to co exist.
  • No monopoly of the truth
  • A level of commitment is expected .


  • A charismatic leader - David Koresh led the Branch Davidians.
  • A small membership - fairly small in terms of the numbers
  • No professional clergy or bureaucracy - depend on the authority of the charismatic leader for their theology and rules.
  • Exclusive membership
  • Total commitment and control - giving…


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