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Intro 3.2 Glob 4.2 Religion
Transcript of Intro 3.2 Glob 4.2 Religion
Sociology of Religion
Religion is a major element of culture in all societies.
RELIGIOUS VALUES are conceptions of what is right/wrong and what should exist/occur, and are accepted on supernatural authority.
Christianity and Islam are the world's dominant religions
Religiosity varies widely between different countries
Muslim countries are among the most religious.
Religion is negatively correlated with wealth
As people get richer, they become less religious.
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS are conceptions about the division of the world into the SACRED (a special quality of concepts that are connected to the supernatural) and the PROFANE (everyday, mundane) and about the nature of the SUPERNATURAL (realm were gods and unwordly forces operate).
RELIGIOUS RITUALS are behaviors that fulfill supernatural demands. Specific rituals are RELIGIOUS NORMS.
Functionalist and conflict theories of religion differ in conceptualizing the role of religion in the society.
FUNCTIONALIST theorists see religion contributing to SOCIAL INTEGRATION:
CONFLICT theorists see religion primarily as a tool of SOCIAL CONTROL.
Social constructivism theory offers another explanation:
CONSTRUCTIVISTST theorists argue that religion does not have supernatural origins; it is a human created institution, fulfilling the needs outlined by the functionalist theories.
It OBJECTIFIES (assigns meanings to) elements of society that it wants to keep sacred or worship.
It creates a PLAUSIBILITY STRUCTURE – a set of beliefs so deeply ingrained in us we would never think of questioning them.
Percentage of respondents selecting “very important” answering how important is religion in their lives.
residents of Moslem countries value religion most highly
Americans value religion much more than do the residents of any most other developed country (but Poland)
South Koreans are also very religious compared to other Asian countries, which are among the least religious
but they are not as religious as people in the countries listed above
Among Christian-dominated countries, Latin America, USA and parts of Europe are relatively religious, but on average less so than Muslim countries.
Data from: World Values Survey 2005-2008
Religious tolerance is highest in the USA and western Europe.
All countries are more approving of their own dominant religions.
Source: PEW Global Attitudes report, 2008
Source: PEW Global Attitudes report, 2008
* SOCIAL CONTROL - it help maintain conformity and control in society; religion can legitimize the political system.
* Religion reduces anxiety (gives meaning to life).
Religions offers answers to questions that could not have been explained before the invention of science, and to other questions that cannot be scientifically explained even today.
* Religion reinforces pro-social norms (such as neighborliness). Religion helps maintain social solidarity through shared rituals and beliefs. Rituals, beliefs and similar concepts that make us connected to the society are known tools of SOCIAL COHESION.
What functions religion may have?
What do you think Marx meant by that?
Can you think of other examples in how religion can be used to control people?
Religion generally legitimizes the existing social order. Consider the concept of "state religion" - organized religion supported by the state, and supporting it in exchange.
Religion promotes complacency by promising rewards in a future world.
Marx famously called religion “the opiate of the masses”.
How could we try to explain this?
Basic elements of religion
CULT STRUCTURE is the structure of organized religion.
Evolution of religion
There is a general trend in religious systems towards becoming more complex.
Cult organization becomes increasingly complex and often bureaucratized.
Details of faith become increasingly complex, requiring a dedicated discipline, THEOLOGY, for their study and understanding.
At the same time pantheons, mythologies and rituals are are being simplified as the society becomes more complex. For example, consider the difference between polytheism (many gods) and the newer monotheism (one good).
Marx argued that religion can be used by the powerful in the society to blind people to the realities of inequality by
justifying why some people have wealth and power and others do not
promising a better life in supernatural realm after death, thus discouraging protest
The most extreme example is precolonial India, where the Hindu cosmology became the justification for a rigid caste system. In short, it explained that one is born into the right place, so nobody should seek to advance (change castes).
-- Jonathan H. Turner, Human Institutions: A Theory of Societal Evolution, 2003, p.73
Max Weber was famous for his study of religion and economy, as he tried to explain the relationship between religious activity and people's place in the society.
Weber noted that some religions are much more supportive of industry and trade then others (ex. Buddhism, Confucanism, Taoism), and he noted that Protestantism is among the most supportive of them.
In Protestantism, gaining wealth is encouraged much more than in most other religions. Thus Protestants, according to Weber, are the driving force behind capitalism.
Religion emerged in simple human societies as a strategy for reducing anxiety, while reinforcing critical norms and values. (Turner 2006:322)
Common religion served to bind people together, making the societies more stable. Before the raise of nations and patriotism, people more often identified themselves with a certain religion than nation.
Of course, the above are averages - they do not tell us about INDIVIDUALS, just the SOCIETY in general
Western Europe and Eastern Asia are among the least religious.
Videos for discussion
The numbers of religious freedom: Brian J. Grim at TEDxViadellaConciliazione (19:17)
Religion and globalization
Religion both spreads globalization (by spreading itself to new cultures) and resists globalization (by opposing conversion).
When spreading to a new culture, religion will often be "loalized" or "glocalized" - adopted to the new region.
Examples of localization of religion
adoption of local language (Bible translation, masses in local languages rather than Latin)
conversion of local customs and holidays, for example Christmas in Christianity was adapted from the pagan Winter Solstice holiday, rather than to an actual birth date of Jesus Christ (which scholars are still uncertain of). Gift giving during XMAS was adopted from the Roman festival of Saturnalia, celebrating god Saturn.
Can we think of any other examples of religious glocalization?
Countries with high religiosity are likely to have a RELIGIOUS POLICE.
Religious police is the police force responsible for the enforcement of religious norms and associated relgious laws.
Religious police in islamic countries enforces the SHARIA law.
Source: PEW Research Institute http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/03/19/religious-police-found-in-nearly-one-in-ten-countries-worldwide/
As of 2012, at least 17 nations (9% worldwide) have police that enforce religious norms, according to a new Pew Research analysis of 2012 data. These actions are particularly common in the Middle East and North Africa, where roughly one-third of countries (35%) have police enforcing religious norms.
SECULARIZATION HYPOTHESIS states that increasing wealth, prosperity, security, and education will decrease participation and belief in religion.
Unhappy people are more likely to turn to seek solutions in religion. People in poor countries are more unhappy than people in rich countries.
-- Ed Diener; Daniel Kahneman; John Helliwell (10 February 2010). International Differences in Well-Being. Oxford University Press, p.407
Educated people will prefer rational explanations (science) to superstition (religion).
-- Karl Marx
Read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_and_religion
Harassment and intimidation by governments or social groups take many forms, including physical assaults; arrests and detentions; desecration of holy sites; and discrimination against religious groups in employment, education and housing. Harassment and intimidation also include things such as verbal assaults on members of one religious group by other groups or individuals.
Religious and non-religious people around the world are often subject to HARASSMENT.
Countries with high religiosity also have the fastest growing populations
Atheists are usually discriminated against more than people who believe in a religion
A growing number of people in the world are atheist
ATHEISM is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities
In United States, an atheist would have more difficulty becoming a president than a person of any other religion, ethnicity, or a LGBT person,
In the USA, population of atheist can be estimated at about 10%, and slowly growing
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Korea
Religions in South Korea
Source: South Korea's National Statistical Office, 2006
Example: Anything that is being explained by the believers as "this is good/bad because God/gods said so."
In Christianity, the Ten Commandments, based on the Old Testament, attributed to God, clearly define killing another person as an evil deed.
Most other religions have a similar belief in the sanctity of human life.
Example: more specific views, such as whether religion should determine how one dresses, what food one eats, whether one can have sex and with whom, and so on.
A specific example is the Muslim belief that human art should not portray god - painting or drawing a god is sacrilegious (this is known as ANICONISM).
Examples of religious rituals refer to specific behaviors (norms), such as taking shoes of in a mosque or a hat in a church, or the gestures of prayer.
Ritual of prayer in different religions
Durkheim suggested that religion fought ALIENATION (not being connected to the wider culture and society) in modern life.
Why is God in Christianity often portrayed as a male?
Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_the_Father_in_Western_art
Michelangelo, Creation of the Sun and Moon (detail), 1511
Christian tradition in Poland: the Easter Palm
An example of a cult structure is the study of hierarchy in the Catholic Church (Pope, cardinals, bishops, down to parish priests)
CHURCH means religions that are all-embracing of religious expression in a society. Religions of this type are the guardians of religion for all members of the societies in which they are located and tolerate no religious competition. They also strive to provide an all-encompassing worldview for their adherents and are typically enmeshed with the political and economic structures of society.
Characteristics of a church
Claim universality, include all members of the society within their ranks, and have a strong tendency to equate "citizenship" with "membership"
Exercise religious monopoly and try to eliminate religious competition
Are very closely allied with the state and secular powers; frequently there is overlapping of responsibilities and much mutual reinforcement
Are extensively organized as a hierarchical bureaucratic institution with a complex division of labor
Employ professional, full-time clergy who possess the appropriate credentials of education and formal ordination
Primarily gain new members through natural reproduction and the socialization of children into the ranks
Allow for diversity by creating different groups within the church (e.g., orders of nuns or monks) rather than through the formation of new religions
In modern world there are few churches in that sense. They exist primarily in Islam countries, ex. in Saudi Arabia.
Roman Catholic Church, in that sense, is not a church. It is a...
The following church-sect typology has its origins in the work of Max Weber. The basic premise is that there is a continuum along which religions fall, ranging from the equilibrium maintaining churches to change-demanding, protest-oriented sects.
The DENOMINATION lies between the church and the sect on the continuum. Denominations come into existence when churches lose their religious monopoly in a society. A denomination is one religion among many.
Johnstone. 1997. Religion in Society: A Sociology of Religio
Characteristics of denomination:
similar to churches, but unlike sects, in being on relatively good terms with the state and secular powers and may even attempt to influence government at times
maintain at least tolerant and usually fairly friendly relationships with other denominations in a context of religious pluralism
rely primarily on birth for membership increase, though it will also accept converts; some actively pursue evangelization
accept the principle of at least modestly changing doctrine and practice and tolerate some theological diversity and dispute
follow a fairly routinized ritual and worship service that explicitly discourages spontaneous emotional expression
train and employ professional clergy who must meet formal requirements for certification
accept less extensive involvement from members than do sects, but more involvement than churches
often draw disproportionately from the middle and upper classes of society
Modern Catholic Church and many Protestant Christian bodies such as Baptists or Lutherans are donominations.
A SECT is a relatively young splinter group that formed to protest elements of its parent religion (generally a denomination).
Protestant Christian denominations formed as sects. Christianity itself was a sect within Judaism.
After their formation, sects can take only two paths - dissolution (failure) or institutionalization which usually leads to eventual development into a denomination.
A cult is a religious group or other organization with deviant (different from the norm) beliefs and practices.
However, whether any particular group's beliefs and practices are sufficiently deviant or novel enough is often unclear, and thus establishing a precise definition of cults based on these criteria is problematic
Words sect and cult are often used in a derogatory manner in regular English; in sociology they are neutral.
unlike sects, they can form without breaking off from another religious group
they are not advocating a return to pure religion but rather the embracement of something new or something that has been completely lost or forgotten (e.g., lost scriptures or new prophecy)
are also much more likely to be led by charismatic leaders than are other religious groups and the charismatic leaders tend to be the individuals who bring forth the new or lost component that is the focal element of the cult
Cults, like sects, can develop into denominations.
State discrimination against humanists, atheists, and the non-religious
Examples of glocalization of religion
Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas#History
Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_palm
An Easter palm is a traditional Polish symbolic decoration associated with the Christian tradition of Palm Sunday.
As with some Christian symbols and traditions, the Easter palm's origin can be traced to pagan religions which held the willow to be endowed with beneficial qualities, and to symbolize enduring life, and rebirth
In 1900, only 1% of the country’s population was Christian, but largely through the efforts of missionaries and churches, Christianity has grown rapidly in South Korea over the past century
Half of the most religiously diverse countries are in Asia-Pacific region
Difference between belief and norm:
Belief: should religion determine acceptable dress or food?
Norm: wearing specific clothing (burka/hijab), not eating pork (halal/kosher diets).
One dominant religion in a society
One religion among many
Relatively young, small religion
A sect that is seen as deviant. Often a derogatory term.
What is the main argument here? Do you agree with Feldman's analysis of religion?
What is the main argument here?
Do you agree with Haidt's analysis of religion?
What is the main argument here?
Do you agree with Appiah's analysis of religion?
AGNOSTICISM is, in a broad sense, the belief that the truth values of certain claims cannot be known.
--Seifoddini, Arian (2012) Exploring The Secularization Hypothesis The Effect Of Economic Wellbeing On Religion http://www.cluteinstitute.com/proceedings/2012%20LV%20Papers/Article%20455.pdf
"Religion affects wealth indirectly through its very strong effect on important processes such as educational attainment, marriage, decisions to have kids, how many kids people have and women's decisions to work or stay home with their kids. Religion affects these behaviors and processes, and they, in turn, affect household income, expenses and the amount of money left over to save."
-- Lisa A. Keister http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-a-keister/religion-contributes-wealth-poverty_b_1069766.html
Religions usually encourage faithful to have many children.
High number of children 1) decrease the wealth of the family and 2) reduce the education level of the children (education is expensive, children need to work rather than study).
Less education results in jobs that are less profitable.
Religion supports "traditional" values such as discouraging women from working ("wife's place is at home").
Families where women is not working, on average, less income than those where both parents are working.
How religion can reduce wealth accumulation
based on Lisa A. Keister http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-a-keister/religion-contributes-wealth-poverty_b_1069766.html and Keister, Lisa A. (March 2008). "Conservative Protestants and Wealth: How Religion Perpetuates Asset Poverty". American Journal of Sociology 113 (5): 1237–1271.
Religion may influence one to chose less profitable jobs (ex. missionary)
Religion may discourage one from fully participating in modern financial system (ex. discouraging making profit from loan interest) or accumulating high savings (rather than spending it on charity).
But Keister (2008) showed that in modern USA, Conservative Protestants, for example, are less efficient in accumulating capital than Jews.
People in modern, wealthy societies have alternatives in achieving collective consciousness. In the past, creating bond with many others was most easily done through religious ceremonies. Today, we have entertainment: sports, games, hobbies.
Religion is decreasing around the world because:
science and entertainment offer alternatives to religion
less religious people can accumulate wealth faster
Some scholars analyze which religions are more efficient for wealth accumulation
Conclusion: certain religious beliefs ("one should have many children", "women should not work") lower wealth accumulation.