Theoretical Perspectives on Religion Chain of Reasoning Essay Plan

  • Created by: Molly1999
  • Created on: 28-03-17 13:06


  • Religion is beliefs and practices which are able to unite into one single moral community (a Church).
  • Religion is separated into two parts:
    • The Sacred = forbidden, set apart, inspired by fear and awe.
    • The Profane = everyday, ordinary, mundane things. 
      • E.g. the sacred practice of marriage inspires powerful feelings.
  • Totenism 
    • studied Australian Aboriginees. 
    • argued that the collective conscience is reinforced by the communities shared norms and rituals 
      • this creates social solidarity within the community.
    • The community worshipped a Totem. 
    • The totem (or religion) bound people together in society. 
      • Hence the social order and stability. 
  • AO3 - Some would argue that the primative types of religion that Durkheim studied may not be relevant anymore, as it doesn't apply to the complex and religiously diverse (post)modern society that we now live in. 


  • Civil Religion = American people unify (despite the diverse nature of the US) as one, to reinforce their allegiance to America. 
    • Chain = Civil religion acts as a force to bring people together, just as Durkheim argued religion does. 
  • E.g. the American flag is regarded as sacred. 
  • E.g. the Pledge of Allegiance - everyone has to learn it off by heart, usually in school at an early age and there is a large service (like an assembly), where all the parents come in and watch the children recite the pledge of allegiance. 
  • Bellah argues that because of the civil religion in America, it is a far more stable and unified country. 
  • AO3 - But America currently is not actually a very stable country.
    • E.g. Trump - based his entire presidential campaign on a racist agenda, wants to ban Muslims (But, the executive order he tried to enforce to do this was rejected), wall between the US and Mexico linked with his plan to deport the entirety of the Hispanic community.


  • Religious rituals have two roles:
    • to deal with life crises; and 
    • to deal with situations of high levels of anxiety.
  • E.g. Sea fishing includes religious rituals because it is highly dangerous and therefore causes people to be anxious before and during the process. 
  • Modern E.g. After 9/11, church attendance rose from 41% to 48%. Arguably, this is because of the heightened worry of other terror attacks, and it helped to deal with the large amounts of loss of life during the attack. 
  • Chain = People are more likely to join together in times of life crises and situations of


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