Religion Chapter 14 Religion Religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices concerned with sacred things. Sacred vs. Profane Emile Durkheim found that every society has things that are sacred and things that are profane. Sacred Sacred things and ideas are set apart and given a special meaning that goes beyond immediate existence. Buddha statues, bibles, crosses, star of David, etc. are all examples. Profane Profane means the nonsacred aspects of life. This doesn't necessarily mean they are unholy, it just means they are commonplace in our society and don't involve the supernatural. Another word for profane is secular. Which is which Legitimation According to sociologists one function of religion is that it gives formal approval to existing social arrangements. In other words, it justifies our society's norms and customs. For example, why some people are poor and some people are rich, why we have certain laws, etc. Many social customs and rituals are based on religion. This idea is called legitimation. According to Durkheim legitimation is the central function of religion. Functions of Religion Another function of religion is a sense of unity. We unite together and take care of each other because of this. Ex. charities, friendships, etc. Another function of religion is a sense of understanding. A reason why we are here and why we exist. Religion also promotes a sense of belonging. It gives us a feeling of a group or community we belong to. Marx and Religion According to Marx, religion is used by the rulers or the Bourgeoisie to justify its economic, political, and social advantages over the oppressed. To go against this way of life is to go against God's plan. Weber and Religion Where Marx believed that religion worked against social change, Max Weber believed religion sometimes promotes social change. Weber believed the Protestant ethic led parts of Europe and America to adopt modern capitalism and the spirit of capitalism. Protestant ethic The Protestant ethic is a set of norms, values, and beliefs stressing hard work, thrift, and self-discipline. The Spirit of capitalism is the obligation to reinvest money rather than to spend it. Calvin Protestant ethic is based on the ideas of John Calvin. Calvinists believe that everyone's material rewards are actually God's and the purpose of life was to glorify God, profits should be multiplied (through reinvestment) rather than used in the pursuit of personal pleasures. Multiplying profits and reinvesting goes well with the spirit of capitalism. Bellwork Find out what Sociologists believe are the four basic types of religious organization Types of organization Sociologists believe there are four basic types of religious organization: church, denomination, sect, and cult Church Church is a life-encompassing religious organization to which all members of a society belong. Denomination Denomination is one of several religious organizations that most members of a society accept as legitimate. Membership in these is voluntary. Example of these are Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, etc. Sect A sect is a religious organization formed when members of an existing religious group break away. The pilgrims were a sect of the Church of England. Cult A cult is a religious organization whose characteristics are not drawn from an existing religious tradition within a society. Ex. church of scientology Religiosity Charles Glock and Rodney Stark came up with the concept of religiosity. Religiosity is the types of religious attitudes and behaviors people display in their everyday lives. Dimensions of Religiousity There are five dimensions of religiosity. Belief, ritual, intellectual dimension, experience, consequences. Belief Belief refers to what a person considers true. For example, Jesus is the son of God. Ritual Ritual is the practices a member is expected to perform. For example, prayer or confessional Intellectual dimension Intellectual dimension is the knowledge one has of scriptures, etc. Experience Experience deals with feelings attached to religious expression. Consequences Consequences are the decisions and commitments people make as a result of religious beliefs, rituals, etc. For example, not eating meat during lent, practicing sexual abstinence before marriage, etc. Look at the chart on page 482 Secularization vs. Fundamentalism Secularization is the process of the sacred losing influence over society. Fundamentalism is the desire to resist secularization.