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Religion as a group phenomenon

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Religion as a group phenomenon

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A Lecture on Religion As a Group Phenomenon was delivered to students of Sociology in the class of Sociology of Religion supervised by Mr.Inam-ul-Haq Lecturer Sociology at UMT by M.USAMA MANSOOR

A Lecture on Religion As a Group Phenomenon was delivered to students of Sociology in the class of Sociology of Religion supervised by Mr.Inam-ul-Haq Lecturer Sociology at UMT by M.USAMA MANSOOR

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Religion as a group phenomenon

  1. 1. Religion as a Group Phenomenon Lecture by M.USAMA MANSOOR For Students of Sociology of Religion, UMT, Lahore
  2. 2. What is a Group? • Two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. For Example: JUD members wear similar types of clothes and have similar religious beliefs.
  3. 3. Characteristics of Group • There are five characteristics of a Group • Share common goals or aims that stem from common problems and desire to resolve them; (Cognitive understanding of accidents, death, thunder, so forth) • Agree upon a set of norms that they hope will help them to achieve their common goals; (proper worship and ritual activity) • Combine Certain norms into roles that they expect persons within the group to fill and carry out in the interests of the group; (techniques of prayer or magic)
  4. 4. Characteristics of Group • Agree (often only implicitly) on certain status dimensions and distinctions, on the basis of which they rate one another; (Zionists, Calvinists) and • Identify with the groups and express or exhibit some degree of commitment to the group, what it purposes to do, and how it purposes to do it. E.g. Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Whose member blast himself or kill innocents to show their commitment to their group. • Deconstruct Peshawar incident
  5. 5. Group Leader Election • As soon as the group agrees on a certain norms that the group will follow the elect their group leader. Its title varies according to the religion • Priest in Christianity (Baptism) • Shaman in Shamanism ( entering Spirituality by performing special tactics such as, healing) • Rabbi in Judaism (teacher on the matters of Judaism) • Guru in Sikh Religion and Pandit in Hindu Religion • Prophet in Islam • Pastor (Biblical English word for Priest)
  6. 6. Religion and the Five Functional Prerequisites of Group Life • Recruitment and Reproduction • Socialization • Producing Satisfactory Levels for Goods and Services • Preserving Order • Maintaining a Sense of Purpose
  7. 7. Recruitment and Reproduction • Every group must pay attention recruitment and reproduction to replicate those members who died, or become handicapped. • E.g. Two centuries after the death of Gotama Buddha (Royal Family, Thought Truth or Dhamma), the Indian emperor Asoka come up the throne in 273 B.C and sent his missionaries to spread Buddhism as far as Egypt an Greece by reproduction. but has failed to do so. But in 240 B.C his son Mahenda sent his missionaries to spread Buddhism and became so successful that the official religion of Sri Lanka till now is Buddhism.
  8. 8. Socialization • It is the responsibility of every group to train and educate their members especially the children, new converters. • Socialization is the major task of every religion. • E.g. the full time teacher in the religion Judaism is called “rabbi” • In Islam the full time teacher is called “Ulema”
  9. 9. Producing Satisfactory Levels of Goods and Services • Existence of all groups, is the production and distribution of a level of goods and services that will satisfy at least the minimal requirements or demands of their members. such as food, shelter and clothing. Finke defined it as, “Religious Economies”. Which according to him, “consists of a market of current and potential followers (demand), a set of organizations (suppliers) seeking to serve that market, and the religious doctrines and practices (products) offered by the various organizations.” E.g. Religious Tourism (Tableeg and Yatra)
  10. 10. Preserving Order • This involves coordinative and supervisory roles, but above all it means motivating members to pursue group goals while employing and abiding by group norms. Think about three major types of church government established to reach organization’s goal • Episcopal type (Episcopal and Roman Catholic Church), authority lies to higher-ranking clergy popes or bishops • Presbyterian type (authority rests with clergy committee or church's committee) • Congressional type (in which the ultimate local power resides with the member of the church that meets annually, periodically over convictions or assembly)
  11. 11. Maintaining a Sense of Purpose • Maintain a sense of purpose among it member. Sense of Identification and commitment among group members. E.g. JUD members at the time of sanction remained committed and haven’t changed their identities.
  12. 12. The effects of Increasing Group Size • Census Decline • Increased Deviance • Increased Formalization of Norms • Increased Role Specialization • Greater Need for Coordination
  13. 13. Census Decline • As groups increase in size, the degree consensus among members concerning goals, and especially norms, declines. The basic problem includes communication and interactions. Since the norms influence behavior, the intro. of diverse or conflicting norms results in deviance E.g. TTP being unified have performed batter but ASAP they scattered into groups the had a great set back from armed forces of Pakistan because they cannot have greater interactions and communications for planning.
  14. 14. Increased Deviance • As groups increase in size, the degree consensus among members concerning goals, and especially norms, declines. The basic problem includes communication and interactions. Since the norms influence behavior, the intro. of diverse or conflicting norms results in deviance E.g. a religious group may have explicit norms defining alcoholic beverages as devils tool of destruction.
  15. 15. Increased Formalization of Norm • The smaller the Groups the greater the interaction in an informal way with the leader and other member in an informal way. But as the group increases the gap between the members of the group and even between the leader and the member increases. E.g. when Tableeg started in Pakistan the Moulna Tariq Jameel its leader had talks and discussions with everyone but a the tableeg spread out and the membership increased to an immense level the members cannot meet its leader and discuss their issues freely in an informal way. They have to discuss it in the written form.
  16. 16. The Increased Role Specialization • As the group grows the roles tends to become more specialized and part time role tend to become full time roles. E.g. Priest of the church was firstly given importance in their relevant territories but after the Development of the Church of Rome and the Leadership is defined with the entitlement of the “Pope” head Priest his specialized role has increased to guide the follower of his religion. Similarly, Mufti-e-Azam has same increased specialized role in Islamic world.
  17. 17. Greater Need for Coordination • As the role has increased specialization there is a greater need for the coordination to ensure the sequenced running of the assigned roles. Like, President of Wafaq ul Madris is Hazrat Maulana Saleem Ullah Khan Sahib, he has the complete authority to take decision on behalf of the Madaris affiliated with Wafaq ul Madaris but it his key responsibility to coordinate with member Madaris to take unanimous decision.
  18. 18. The Bureaucratization of Religion • The Process • Outcomes • Iron Law of Oligarchy • O'Dea's Five Organizational Dilemmas
  19. 19. The Process • In the preceding section we have stressed upon the greater need for Coordination. Let us consider the Bureaucracy. In which the people are ranked in hierarchy of Authority. The idea that greater efficiency can be achieved because someone is organizing activities for others in the group. E.g. In the Roman Catholic Church the hierarchy of authority passed down through pope, archbishops, bishops, and priests.
  20. 20. Outcomes • The boards, agencies and commissions assume some measure of authority and independence and in return gain influence over the congregation. E.g. The Mufti has great importance in Islam. He is considered at home in religion and the things related to it. He can be asked to give FATWA on any issue in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah. As he lays the verdict in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah his verdict is considered as authority. E.g. Allama Tahir ul Qadri has given FATWA on terrorism compromising of 600 pages.
  21. 21. Iron Law of Oligarchy • This refers to the tendency, as responsibilities and authority are transferred to leader (a process seemingly inherent and investable in group life), for number of development in combination to lead oligarchy (power and control becoming vested in small no. of leaders) E.g. at home in skill and progressives. He can manage things, issues and matters related to the office and members.
  22. 22. Symbolic Dilemma Dilemma of Mixed Motivations O'Dea's Five Organizational Dilemmas Dilemma of Administrative Order Dilemma of Declamation Dilemma of Power O'Dea's Five Organizational Dilemmas • Dilemma of Mixed Motivations • Symbolic Dilemma • Dilemma of Administrative Order • Dilemma of Declamation • Dilemma of Power

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