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):
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.
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…