Substansive – These draw a clear line between
religious and non-religious beliefs.
Functional – These define religion in terms of
the social or psychological functions it
Social constructionist – This is how members
of society themselves define religion.
Durkheim –Sacred and profound, totemism,
collective conscience, cognitive functions. (No
sharp division between sacred and profane)
Malinowski – Psychological functions,
outcome is important but uncontrollable
(fishing) and life crisis (four types)
Parsons – Values and meanings (ultimate
Bellah – Civil religion (America)
Evaluation – Ignores negative aspects
Religion as ideology – Religion is an
ideological weapon used to legitimate the
suffering of the poor to make it seem God-
Religion and alienation – Workers are
alienated because they do not own what they
‘Religion is the opium of the people’ – Marx
Althusser – Ideological state apparatus
Evaluation – Ignores positive functions
Evidence of patriarchy – Sacred texts (Eve and
Mary), religious laws and customs
No female pope
Woodhead: Religious feminism – The hijab is
a symbol of liberation that enables women to
enter the public sphere without losing their
culture and history.
Religion upholds traditional belief about how
society should be organised, and it keeps
things the way they are.
Most religions uphold ‘family values’ and
often favour a traditional patriarchal domestic
division of labour.
Religion and consensus
Religion and capitalism
Religion and patriarchy
Calvinist beliefs caused the growth of
capitalism (they weren’t allowed to spend
money and had to put it back into the family
India and China lacked religion, this is why
they didn’t become wealthy enough for
Not every country with Calvinists developed
Bruce – American civil rights movement,
started with Rosa Parks (bus)
Black clergy provided meeting places.
Ideological resource - religion provided
beliefs that protesters could draw motivation
The New Christian Right –Take America back
to God, made use of the media i.e
Maduro believes that religion can bring about
change. In liberation theology, religious ideas
radicalised the Catholic clergy in defence of
peasants and workers, making them see them
see that serving the poor was part of their
Gramsci – hegemony (ruling class use religion
to maintain control)
A decline in the proportion of the population
going to church.
An increase in the age of average church
Fewer baptisms and church weddings
Greater religious diversity.
Only 6.3% of the adult population attended
church on Sundays in 2005.
Weber: Rationalisation (rational ways of
thinking replace religious ones)
Disenchantment – Not as much mystery in the
A technological world view – Scientific
Religious diversity – Berger
Declining church attendance
Secularisation from within – Religion has
turned into some form of therapy, instead of
seeking salvation, they seek personal
Religious diversity – Americans accept that
others are entitled to hold their own views.
Criticisms – Religion is not declining, but
changing, people can believe and not go to
Religion is changing rather than declining.
Believe without belonging – Davie says that
vicarious religion is where a small number of
professional clergy practice on behalf of a
much larger number of people.
Criticism – People not wanting to go to
church shows that their belief is weak.
Spiritual shopping – Hervieu-Leger, we have
lost the religion that use to be handed down
(Pick and Mix) cultural amnesia
People are naturally religious, and the
demand for religion is still there.
It is human natural to seek rewards and avoid
Religion is attractive because it supplies us
with supernatural compensators.
Criticism – religious diversity has led to
Religion meets a need for security, and
therefore societies where people feel secure
have low level of demand for religion.
Poor societies are more religious as they face
Rich societies, where people have a high
standard of living are at less risk and have a
greater sense of security so do no need
Criticism – They only us quantitative data.
God and globalisation in India- Globalisation
has brought rising wealth to some (India’s
middle class). These will be the first people to
Fundamentalists are traditionalist who seek
to return to the basic or fundamentals of
their new faith.
Fundamentalism has grown as a product of
globalisation, in todays society people are
faced with risk and fundamentalism provides
people with certainty that it promises in an
Criticism – Giddens lumps all fundamentalism
Religion unites people together against
In Poland the external power was Soviet
communism, while in Iran it was Western
Iran – the revolution was led by the religious
Churches are large organisations with a
monopoly of truth.
Sects are small exclusive groups and are hostile
towards wider society and require a high level of
commitment, they have poor and oppressed
Denomination is between sects and churches.
Cults are highly individualistic, but they do not
demand strong commitment.
New Religious Movements – world rejecting,
world accommodating, world affirming.
Criticism – Wallis ignores diversity.
Marginality – sects draw attention from the
poor and oppressed.
Relative deprivation – this is where someone
feels deprived, compared to others around
Social change – Rapid change causes
uncertainty, the people who are most affected
may turn to sects as a solution.
The Grow of the New Age – They include
belief in UFO’s and aliens, astrology, tarot,
More women than men participate in religious
activities and believe in God because they are
socialised to be more passive, obedient and
caring. Davie – women are closer to death
and birth, so they question big questions.
Many Muslims, Hindu’s, and Sikhs come from
South Asia, many Christians are of black
African Caribbean origin because most ethnic
minorities come from poorer countries with
Science can solve and cause problems i.e.
Open belief system – Popper, science is open
to test and criticism.
Science norms: CUDOS – communism,
universalism, disinterestedness, organised
Religion is a closed belief system because
they are not open to criticism and testing.
Science as a closed system – There are some
things that science will reject.
Ideology is a worldview or a set of ideas and
values (a belief system)
Marxism and ideology – A minority ruling
class who own the means of production and
control the state, and a majority working
class who are property-less and therefore
forced to sell their labour.
Feminism and ideology – Patriarchy, Marks
says that science has been able to justify
excluding women from education. i.e. Sports
makes girls unfeminine.
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