Unit 3: Religious Organizations and Movements (Summary)

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 11-03-13 19:57

Religion and religious belief can vary in terms of how they are practised.

- Some individuals will have religious beliefs without belonging to any particular religious organization or movement.

- Many members of society express their religious beliefs through the religious organizations that they are a member of. Religious organizations tend to shape their religious beliefs.

There have been a number of sociological attemtps to categorise different religious organizations and movements (mainly Christian).

- Whilst no system of classification is perfect or ideal, sociologists have created typologies in order to make our understanding of religious organizations and movements easier. ^Typology: Distinguishing, differentiating by type, classification and categorising the key features.

Weber is credited as the first sociologist to come up with influential typology (widely recognised and accepted).

- A student of his at the time, Troeltsch refined Weber's work.

Religious Organizations and Movements (separated into four and then each is separated further):

1) Church

a), b), c)

- A Church is a large, stable and formal organization.

- Membership is ascribed.

- It is generally integrated with the state.

- Has an organised, professional clerical hierarchy and a fixed body of doctrine.

- It encourages members to be conformists.

- Members are drawn from all classes.

2) Denomination

a), b), c)

- A denomination shares some of a church's features but there are some blurring of the boundaries.

- It does not have a universal appeal and usually coexists with a number of other religious organizations.

- Emphasis is placed on individual choice and…


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