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A2 Sociology Beliefs - Religious Organisations and Movements

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A2 Sociology Beliefs - Religious Organisations and Movements

  1. 1. TYPES OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
  2. 2. CHURCH • Large, millions of members • Few demands placed on members • Has a bureaucratic hierarchy - where lower levels are subordinate, or answerable, to higher levels • Claim a monopoly of truth • Universalistic • Ideologically conservative and linked to the state • See their interpretation of faith as the correct one • Seen as respectable by wider society Troeltsch
  3. 3. SECT (IN CONFLICT WITH WIDER SOCIETY) • Small, exclusive groups • Demands real commitment from members • Hostile to wider society – they do their best to avoid contact with the outside world for fear of corruption • Offer worldly benefits to those suffering economic or ethical deprivation • Led by a charismatic leader • Draw in members from the poor and oppressed • Believe they have the monopoly of truth (believe their viewpoint is right and other religions are wrong) • See their interpretation of faith as the correct one • Seen as respectable by wider society
  4. 4. DENOMINATION • Midway between churches and sects • Membership is less exclusive, they broadly accept society’s values. • Not linked to the state • Impose some minor restrictions on members • Not as demanding as sects and are tolerant of other religions • Don’t appeal to all of society • Don’t claim monopoly of truth • Accept their may be other valid explanations • Seen as deviant by wider society Niebuhr
  5. 5. CULT (IN CONFLICT WITH WIDER SOCIETY) • Least organized of all religious organizations • Highly individualistic, small, loose knit groupings around shared themes and interests • No sharply defined beliefs • Many are world-affirming (accept the world as it is) • Offer benefits to individuals suffering psychic or health deprivation • Led by practicioners / therapists who claim specific knowledge • Don’t demand strong commitment • Accept their may be other valid explanations • Seen as deviant by wider society Neibuhr
  6. 6. MOVEMENTS Wallis
  7. 7. WORLD-REJECTING • Religious and have a clear notion of God • Highly CRITICAL of the outside world • Members must make a sharp break from their current life • Members live communally and have restricted contact with the outside world
  8. 8. WORLD ACCOMMODATING • Often breakaways from churches or denominations. • Focus on religious matters rather than worldly matters • Members live typical lives
  9. 9. WORLD AFFIRMING • Not organized and lack some conventional features of religion • Accept the world as it is and promise followers success of mainstream goals and values • Tolerant of other religions • Entry is through training • Most are cults • Offer this worldly gratification and special knowledge
  10. 10. EVALUATION (NRMS) • Wallis offers a good explanation – not clear if he is categorizing them based on the teaching or members beliefs. • Ignores the diversity of beliefs which may exist within them
  11. 11. SECTS AND CULTS Stark and Bainbridge 1985 We should distinguish between organizations based on the degree of tension between IT and WIDER SOCIETY.
  12. 12. SECTS AND CULTS • Sects – result from ‘schisms’ (splits in existing organizations). They break away from churches usually due to differences in beliefs. They offer worldly benefits to those suffering economic or ethical deprivation. • Cults – are new religions or ones new to that particular society. They offer worldly benefits to individuals suffering psychic or health deprivation.
  13. 13. CULTS: STARK AND BAINBRIDGE SUBDIVIDE CULTS ACCORDING TO HOW ORGANIZED THEY ARE. Audience cults • Least organised, no formal membership or commitment, little interaction through members and participation could be through media Client cults • A consultant / client relationship, with therapies promising personal fulfilment Cultic movements • More organized, requiring high levels of commitment, claiming to meet all their members religious needs.

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