This ‘confessional’ approach to studying religion is embedded in many Irish educational institutions where it is common to find a religious test (e.g. The law is a system of rules, which are enforced with authority by institutions. The pay, working conditions, and robotic nature of the tasks dehumanizes the workers and strips them of incentives for doing quality work. These universals, and the differences in the way societies and individuals experience religion, provide rich material for sociological study. Social theorist Émile Durkheim defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). Frederick Douglass in his narrative, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” discusses the role of religion, Christianity in particular, which was written in literature known as the bible had two versions: true Christianity and the white Christianity that helped in strengthening slavery. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. In the Western political systems a frontier has been drawn between man's inner life and his public actions, between religion and politics. These views offer different lenses through which to study and understand society: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory. This question led Durkheim to posit that religion is not just a social creation but something that represents the power of society: When people celebrate sacred things, they celebrate the power of their society. He famously argued that religion “is the opium of the people” (1844). In another instance, Douglass began living with Mr. Wilson at St. Michael’s. In this framework, RCT also explains the development and decline of churches, denominations, sects, and even cults; this limited part of the very complex RCT theory is the only aspect well supported by research data. This showed the conversion to Christianity had a negative impact on Auld. Most religions lay out ideals for marriage, including beliefs against divorce and adultery and responsibilities for the man and woman. They are considered replaceable commodities as opposed to valued employees. Religious identity acts as an indicator of social status while incorporating the social status of the group into its religious worldview as an extension of its social status. The law goes further, in which everyone had to obey it. Both religion and the law has help created identities of groups, institutional authority, and the norms of society. Wetherefore currently lack a decisive criterion that would enable clearrulings whether some movements should count as religions (e.g.,Scientology or Cargo cults of the Pacific islands). 3 Aug. 2010. “Religious Attendance and Subjective Well-Being among Older Americans: Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Review of Religious Research 45:116–129. The slaves, color people, believed one version of Christianity, while, the masters, White Americans, believed in another version of Christianity. “Protestant and Catholic: Is the Analogical Imagination Extinct?” American Sociological Review 54:485–502. According to this perspective, religion has been used to support the “divine right” of oppressive monarchs and to justify unequal social structures, like India’s caste system. According to Douglass’s recollection exemplified in “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” there were two types of Christianity practice during slavery. Despite their different views, these social theorists all believed in the centrality of religion to society. Discuss how these meet social needs. In providing answers, religion defines the spiritual world and spiritual forces, including divine beings. One of the most important functions of religion, from a functionalist perspective, is the opportunities it creates for social interaction and the formation of groups. (Photo courtesy of James Emery/flickr). http://openstaxcollege.org/l/immanent_frame/, http://openstaxcollege.org/l/Grinnell_functionalism, http://openstaxcollege.org/l/women_clergy, http://openstaxcollege.org/l/Protestant_work_ethic, http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/religion/overview.php, http://personal.lse.ac.uk/KANAZAWA/pdfs/ARS1997.pdf, http://cnx.org/contents/02040312-72c8-441e-a685-20e9333f3e1d/Introduction_to_Sociology_2e, Discuss the historical view of religion from a sociological perspective, Understand how the major sociological paradigms view religion. Under the law slaveholders would be protected for lynching slaves. Slaves were not entitled to know anything about themselves, and if they did they would have to find out the same way Douglass did, that is, overhear his masters and recall moments in his life. He showed that Protestant values directly influenced the rise of capitalism and helped create the modern world order. Frederick Douglass is known for being an outstanding orator, but he is mostly acknowledged for being an incredible abolitionist. Consider a religion that you are familiar with, and discuss some of its beliefs, behaviors, and norms. As popular as Christianity was, people including slaves began to practice it. Both religion and the law are elements that restrict the human behavior, however that was not to be seen through the period of slavery. He examined the effects of religion on economic activities and noticed that heavily Protestant societies—such as those in the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Germany—were the most highly developed capitalist societies and that their most successful business leaders were Protestant. How does one pick a church or decide which denomination “fits” best? Psychology of religion consists of the application of psychological methods and interpretive frameworks to the diverse contents of religious traditions as well as to both religious and irreligious individuals. But one of Auld biggest problem was not giving slaves enough to eat. Covey, he … Religious language is often vague, imprecise, and couched in mystery. Hechter, M. 1997. Unfortunately,there is no current consensus on a precise identification of thenecessary and sufficient conditions of what counts as a religion. He contended that these values need to be maintained to maintain social stability. Max Weber (1904) posited that, in Europe in his time, Protestants were more likely than Catholics to value capitalist ideology, and believed in hard work and savings. But one theme throughout the narrative Douglass attempts to establish is the justification of slaveholder’s behavior in beating, murdering, hardcore laboring, and bloodsheding through religion. In his writing The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), he contends that the Protestant work ethic influenced the development of capitalism. Fasching, Darrel, and Dell deChant. Douglass also seems to describe the relationship between those slaveholders who were religious and non-religious. Defining religion "is often held to be difficult" (Smith, 1995, p. 893). New York: Crown Publishers, Inc. Marx, Karl. Weber noted that certain kinds of Protestantism supported the pursuit of material gain by motivating believers to work hard, be successful, and not spend their profits on frivolous things. The Bible was misinterpret that “opponents of slavery offered complex arguments demonstrating that the slavery allowed in the Bible was different from the “monstrous system… of American slavery,” going so far as to claim that the word “slave” in English translation of the Bible was, at least in some passages, actually a mistranslation.” (Selby. A scientific explanation for why something occurs can’t reasonably be supported by the fact that it does occur. 26.4             (1992): 591-603. Thus, it can be assumed that Christianity had a devastating influence on slavery. So any human ideas that contradict the Bible, no matter how popular, cannot be accurate. It provides cohesion in the social order by promoting a sense of belonging and collective consciousness. 2002. If slaves were not behaving or doing the work they were assigned, they would be punished. He explains that the masters used Christianity as an excuse to the cruel ways they treated slaves. In studying religion, sociologists distinguish between what they term the experience, beliefs, and rituals of a religion. Because interactionists study one-on-one, everyday interactions between individuals, a scholar using this approach might ask questions focused on this dynamic. The interaction between religious leaders and practitioners, the role of religion in the ordinary components of everyday life, and the ways people express religious values in social interactions—all might be topics of study to an interactionist. German philosopher, journalist, and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx (1818–1883) also studied the social impact of religion. The QAnon movement that's based on conspiracy theories is now being used by some charismatic Christians as a way to interpret the Bible. For instance, in every culture, funeral rites are practiced in some way, although these customs vary between cultures and within religious affiliations. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. “The thing that blocks acceptance of evolution in America is religion.” In his talk, sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History as part of its “Evolution Matters” lecture series, Coyne gave an outline of evolutionary theory along with specific examples that bolster its accuracy. He also had a reputation of breaking apart young slaves in which Douglass refers to him as a “nigger-breaker.” As young as Douglass was when he moved in with Mr. He explains that non-religious slaveholders were not as bitter, cruel, or punishing as those who were non-religious. Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool used by capitalist societies to perpetuate inequality. For one, the other slaves who witnessed the lynching could not go to court as they were deemed unreliable or not creditable. However, Auld was a master who was not too firm and at times “lacked that of a master.” Douglass recalls that Auld had visited a Methodist camp meeting where he experienced religion, Christianity, for the first time. Douglass, Frederick. Then, research a religion that you don’t know much about. Slavery is one of the unfortunate practices in America that has been engraved in American history. Above all, he believed religion is about community: It binds people together (social cohesion), promotes behavior consistency (social control), and offers strength during life’s transitions and tragedies (meaning and purpose). As stated earlier, French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858–1917) defined religion as a “unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things” (1915). Four main reasonshave been suggested for this (Frankenberry & Thie 1994: 2–4). (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons). Religion describes the beliefs, values, and practices related to sacred or spiritual concerns. Conflict theory for religion is a natural outgrowth of the conflicts that naturally exist in cultures. To him, sacred meant extraordinary—something that inspired wonder and that seemed connected to the concept of “the divine.” Durkheim argued that “religion happens” in society when there is a separation between the profane (ordinary life) and the sacred (1915). Interactionists are interested in what these symbols communicate. However, there is speculation that the first religions were a response to human fear. The practice of religion can include feasts and festivals, intercession with God or gods, marriage and funeral services, music and art, meditation or initiation, sacrifice or service, and other aspects of culture. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. In most cases, this theory also assumed an evolutionary hypothesis that would explain the development of ritual behaviour through history. The Catholic Church generally accepts evolutionary theory as the scientific explanation for the development of all life. The Star of David in Judaism, the cross in Christianity, and the crescent and star in Islam are examples of sacred symbols. 88.3 (2002): 326. Some form of religion is found in every known culture, and it is usually practiced in a public way by a group. Moreover, it can foster group cohesion and integration. RCT proposes that, in a pluralistic society with many religious options, religious organizations will compete for members, and people will choose between different churches or denominations in much the same way they select other consumer goods, balancing costs and rewards in a rational manner. By the time that writing had developed, many religions had been in place for many millennia and the details of their origins had been forgotten. His work to demolish slavery has been greatly known, detailing his life experience as a slave and expressing his theory on slavery. Religion is a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements. Religious experience refers to the conviction or sensation that we are connected to “the divine.” This type of communion might be experienced when people are pray or meditate. Answer: yes,Sociological and anthropological theories about religion (or theories of religion) generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion.These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice. Theories of religion can be classified into. Christianity no doubt helped the slaves achieve grace, but the Christianity that the masters were practicing allowed no optimism. Just like religion, masters and slaveholders justified their behavior using the law. Moreover, religion is a cultural universal found in all social groups. Shortly after Wilson began participating in religious activities. Covey gave him “a sever whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little fingers.” This is puzzling to hear of a man who is committed to faith but his actions seemed to be contradicting. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. This power dynamic has been used by Christian institutions for centuries to keep poor people poor and to teach them that they shouldn’t be concerned with what they lack because their “true” reward (from a religious perspective) will come after death. Many religions, including the Catholic faith, have long prohibited women from becoming spiritual leaders. According to Jennifer Glancy’s theory, “in some Christian circles to say the least, that slaves’ bodies were property- objects of physical violations of all kind, surrogates for torture and vessels for sexual pleasures and sexual crimes.” (Glancy. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1960. Mr. Read more about functionalist views on religion at http://openstaxcollege.org/l/Grinnell_functionalism, symbolic interactionist view on religion at http://openstaxcollege.org/l/flat_Earth, and women in the clergy at http://openstaxcollege.org/l/women_clergy. Slavery was justified by the false notion of white supremacy, which was dictated by all: religion, law, and literature. The McDonaldization of Society. The practice of philosophy, especially in the analytic tradition, places emphasis on precision of terms and clarity of concepts and ideas. According to Durkheim, people see religion as contributing to the health and continuation of society in general. Hightower, Jim. 2003. Sociologists Roger Finke and Rodney Stark (1988) first considered the use of RCT to explain some aspects of religious behavior, with the assumption that there is a basic human need for religion in terms of providing belief in a supernatural being, a sense of meaning in life, and belief in life after death. Scholars distinguish seven aspects of religious traditions: the doctrinal and philosophical, the mythic and narrative, the ethical and legal, the ritual and practical, the experiential and emotional, the social and organizational, and the material and artistic. Religion is a social institution, because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society. It is a synthesis of many spiritual traditions of the region and does not have a clearly defined set of beliefs in the same way that other religions do. Different religions and cultures have different creation theories, but this article deals with the Jewish/Christian version. 329). Some authors, usually ones who wish to celebrate these facts, call th… The presence of religion goes on further when Douglass introduces Mr. Durkheim is generally considered the first sociologist who analyzed religion in terms of its societal impact. Web. Durkheim's theory of religion exemplifies how functionalists examine sociological phenomena. 1947 [1915]. Law and Literature encompasses the power of literature and they way it presented the law in a light that allows its readers to interpret it from different directions. In the wake of nineteenth century European industrialization and secularization, three social theorists attempted to examine the relationship between religion and society: Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Karl Marx. Covey, another master he was assign too. The origin approach The earliest approach was an attempt to explain ritual, as well as religion, by means of a theory concerned with historical origin. Douglass opens his narrative introducing himself stating his birthplace and age. In jobs where roles and tasks are highly prescribed, workers have no opportunity to make decisions. For example, it helps answer questions like, “How was the world created?” “Why do we suffer?” “Is there a plan for our lives?” and “Is there an afterlife?” As another function, religion provides emotional comfort in times of crisis. “Sociological Rational Choice Theory.” Annual Review of Sociology 23:191–214. According to Marx, the dynamics of society were determined by the relations of production, that is, the relations that its members needed to enter into to produce their means of survival. The theory proposes that people are self-interested, though not necessarily selfish, and that people make rational choices—choices that can reasonably be expected to maximize positive outcomes while minimizing negative outcomes. He believed religion reflects the social stratification of society and that it maintains inequality and perpetuates the status quo. During times of recession, these service jobs may be the only employment possible for younger individuals or those with low-level skills. Higher levels of education have become necessary, as well as people management skills and access to the most recent information on any given topic. Rising from the concept that our world is socially constructed, symbolic interactionism studies the symbols and interactions of everyday life. Weber thought the emphasis on community in Catholicism versus the emphasis on individual achievement in Protestantism made a difference. Let’s explore how scholars applying these paradigms understand religion. Religion has a major influence on the law and vice versa. RCT is widely used in economics and to a lesser extent in criminal justice, but the application of RCT in explaining the religious beliefs and behaviors of people and societies is still being debated in sociology today. 1993. Functionalists contend that religion serves several functions in society. For more discussion on the study of sociology and religion, check out the following blog: http://openstaxcollege.org/l/immanent_frame/. Durkheim, Émile. During the Cold War, not much attention was paid to the phenomenon of nationalism and religion. Throughout history, and in societies across the world, leaders have used religious narratives, symbols, and traditions in an attempt to give more meaning to life and understand the universe. Religion provides moral guidelines for marriage and family that religious believers credit to being able to sustain marriage and maintain the family. “The Rational Choice Theory of Religion: Shopping for Faith or Dropping your Faith?” Retrieved February 21, 2012 (http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/religion/overview.php). The work ethic in the information age has been affected by tremendous cultural and social change, just as workers in the mid- to late nineteenth century were influenced by the wake of the Industrial Revolution. It provides social support and social networking and offers a place to meet others who hold similar values and a place to seek help (spiritual and material) in times of need. Conflict theorists also point out that those in power in a religion are often able to dictate practices, rituals, and beliefs through their interpretation of religious texts or via proclaimed direct communication from the divine. 2007)The law and its literatures such the United States Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights consisted of so much ambiguity that property and humanity was not clear-cut that it allowed slaves to be adopted as property. Covey, he remembers when Mr. Religion, in fact, depends on society for its existence, value, and significance, and vice versa. However, he claims he cannot authenticate his introduction because he himself was a slave and was not given access to this information. Rational choice theory (RCT) is one way social scientists have attempted to explain these behaviors. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge. In this way, our view of God has changed from one that was concrete and specific to one that is more general. In the twentieth century this linguistic imprecision was challenged by philosophers who used a principle of verifiability to reject as meaningless all non-empirical claims. Some would argue that the Protestant work ethic is still alive and well in the United States. In early centuries, people who favored or opposed slavery expressed it through literature. Contribution to Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Goulet, Henri L. “Slavery in Early Christianity.” Trinity Seminary Review 29.1 (2008):             63-65. 0.0 (0 votes) After all, the all-knowing creator and ruler of the universe knows more about it than fallible humans with limited human minds and perspectives ever can. Factory jobs tend to be simple, uninvolved, and require very little thinking or decision making on the part of the worker. The information age has increased the rapid pace of production expected in many jobs. New York: Free Press. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwel. In fact, scholars have found little merit to his contention when applied to modern society (Greeley 1989). Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach. Today, the work ethic of the modern workforce has been transformed, as more thinking and decision making is required. 2001. The presence of religion goes on further when Douglass introduces Mr. Finally, religion promotes social control: It reinforces social norms such as appropriate styles of dress, following the law, and regulating sexual behavior. 1988. The conflict between Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and religion is an example of the most recent and most hotly debated conflict between science and religion. For him, religion was just an extension of working-class (proletariat) economic suffering. List some ways that you see religion having social control in the everyday world. And “theory” of any religion is NOT a theory in the proper sense of the word, but it is a dogma that is defined in the same dictionary as: a doctrine (a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a religion) or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a religious authority. Religion is also an example of a cultural universal, because it is found in all societies in one form or another. What does the concept of work ethic mean today? Conservative Christians believe that the Bible is God's infalliable message to humankind and so must be taken as literal truth (except when clearly intended to be metaphorical or poetic). Religion is also an example of a cultural universal, because it is found in all societies in one form or another. Many attempts have been made to pinpoint a definition. He also had a reputation of breaking apart young slaves in which Douglass refers to him as a “nigger-breaker.” As young as Douglass was when he moved in with Mr. Although slaves were humans, they were considered property first. There were several occasions in the narrative where Douglass explains situations where Christianity was significant. production of a baptismal certificate, subscription to a religious ethos) applied to both staff and students. The feminist perspective is a conflict theory view that focuses specifically on gender inequality. On an extreme level, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, and anti-Semitism are all examples of this dynamic. Religion could not be understood apart from the capitalist society that perpetuated inequality. For Durkheim, Weber, and Marx, who were reacting to the great social and economic upheaval of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century in Europe, religion was an integral part of society. One of Douglass’s master, Thomas Auld, portrayed the effects of Christianity on an individual. The Bible's very first chapters (Genesis 1-2) provide a fairly specific account of how different … “Christianity and Individualism: (re-)creation and Reality in             Frederick Douglass’s Representation of Self.” African American Review. Print. A rock, for example, isn’t sacred or profane as it exists. Rewards are the intangible benefits in terms of belief and satisfactory explanations about life, death, and the supernatural, as well as social rewards from membership. From Adler's vantage point, this is a relatively ineffective perception of God because it is so general that it fails to convey a strong sense of direction and purpose. However, according to Douglass there was “the Christianity of Christ” and “the Christianity of this land.” Douglass describes Christianity as loving “the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” What Douglass is merely trying to say is, masters and slaveholders alone signifies no innate goodness. The social philosopher Karl Marx (1818–1883) held a materialist worldview. Despite differences, there are common elements in a ceremony marking a person’s death, such as announcement of the death, care of the deceased, disposition, and ceremony or ritual. To date, a much larger literature exists under the rubric of feministtheology than of feminist philosophy of religion. But what would happen if religion were to decline? One being the true and real version, while the other being a motivation towards slavery. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. These were all characteristics of slave-owner’s actions towards slaves. Marxists, Liberals, nation-builders and integration specialists treated it as a marginal variable. Selected theories of religions propounded by some scholars are discussed in this study and these include: Cognitive theory, Rational Choice theory, the Theory of Religious Economy, Sensitivity theory, and Phenomenology of Religion. It was clear that Douglass saw this in a optimistic way. Functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism all provide valuable ways for sociologists to understand religion. Covey, another master he was assign too. Often literature has contributed significantly in shaping the law. 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