Free Essay Sample on Social Theories of Religion

Published: 2022-06-07
Free Essay Sample on Social Theories of Religion
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Sociology Religion Karl Marx
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1677 words
14 min read

Sociology in religion is closely associated with three early sociological theorists including Durkheim, Weber, and Marx. Their ideas continue to impact the sociology of religion strongly. Even though none of these three men was mainly religious, the power that religion holds over individuals and social orders intrigued them all. They trusted that religion is primarily a hallucination; since location and culture impact religion to such an extent. The possibility that religion exhibits an ultimate truth of presence appeared to be reasonably doubtful to them. They additionally theorized that, in time, the interest and impact of religion on the advanced personality would decrease.

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Emile Durkheim and Functionalism Theory

Emile Durkheim is the founder of functionalism. He spent quite a bit of his literary vocation learning other religions, particularly those of smaller communities. Worth mentioning is totemism or crude connection arrangement of Australian natives as a "rudimentary" type of faith, fundamentally intrigued him. Totetism framed the premise of his 1921 book, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, which is unquestionably one of the best contemplates on the sociological science of religion. Durkheim perceived religion inside the setting of the whole community and recognized its place in affecting the reasoning and conduct of the individuals from communities.

Durkheim discovered that individuals frequently isolate religious images, items, and customs, which are allowed, from the familiar images, articles, and schedules of presence known as the befouling. Holy things are regularly accepted to have divine properties that differentiate them from dishonor objects. Indeed, even in moreadvanced societies, individuals still regard sacred items with a feeling of respect and cunningness, regardless of whether they don't trust that the articles have some strange power.

Durkheim likewise contended that religion never concerns just conviction, yet also envelops general customs and services to a gathering of devotees, who at that point create and reinforce a feeling of gathering solidarity. Ceremonies are important to tie together the individuals from a religious congregation, and they enable people to escape from the unremarkable parts of everyday life into higher domains of experience. Sacrosanct customs and services are particularly imperative for stamping events, for example, births, deaths, and marriages.

Durkheim's hypothesis of religion represents how functionalists analyze sociological wonders. As per Durkheim, individuals consider belief to be adding to the well-being and continuation of communities. Consequently, religion works to tie community's individuals by inviting them to certify their primary qualities and convictions all the time.

Durkheim anticipated that religion's impact would diminish as society modernizes. He trusted that logical reasoning would likely supplant religious rationale, with individuals giving just negligible regard for customs and services. He likewise thought about the idea of "God" to be very nearly termination. Instead, he imagined society as advancing universal religion, in which, for instance, local festivals, parades, and patriotism replace chapel gatherings. If traditional religion were to proceed, notwithstanding, he trusted it would do as such just as a way to safeguard social union and request.

Weber and social change Theory

Durkheim guaranteed that his hypothesis connected to religion. However, he constructed his decisions in a constrained arrangement of cases. Next, to that, Max Weber started a worldwide investigation of beliefs. His first intrigue was insubstantial, universal religions with a massive number of adherents. According to Yip, Shadbolt and Webber (2012, pp. 60-65), he led indepth investigations of Ancient Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Yip et al add that in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904/1958), Weber inspected the effect of Christianity on Western reasoning and culture.

The primary motivation behind Weber's exploration was to find religion's effect on social change. For instance, in Protestantism, particularly the "Protestant Work Ethic," Weber discovered the underlying foundations of free enterprise. Weber saw obstructions to free enterprise in the eastern religions. For instance, Hinduism stresses accomplishing more significant amounts of a broad sense of being by getting away from the works of the unremarkable physical world. Such a viewpoint does not effortlessly fit profiting.

To Weber, Christianity was a salvation religion that cases individuals can be "spared" when they change over to specific convictions and good codes. In Christianity, "sin" and its amends by God's beauty assumes an essential part. Not at all like the Eastern religions' inactive approach, are salvation religions like Christianity dynamic, requesting constant battles against wrongdoing and the harmful elements of society.

Marx and the Conflict Theory

Regardless of his effect on the point, Karl Marx was not religious and never made a nitty-gritty investigation of religion. Marx's perspectives on the human science of religion originated from nineteenth-century philosophical and religious creators, for example, Ludwig Feuerbach, who composed The Essence of Christianity (1841). Feuerbach kept up that individuals don't comprehend society, so they anticipate their own particular socially based standards and qualities onto isolate elements, for example, divine beings, spirits, heavenly attendants, and evil spirits. As indicated by Feuerbach, after people understand that they have anticipated their qualities onto religion, they can accomplish these qualities in this world as opposed to in existence in the wake of death.

Marx once proclaimed that religion is the "opium of the general population." He saw religion as instructing individuals to acknowledge their present current situation, regardless of how terrible, while putting off prizes and bliss to some existence in the wake of death. Religion, at that point, forbids social change by instructing harmlessness to persecution, occupying individuals' consideration far from ordinary shameful acts, advocating imbalances of influence and riches for the special, and accentuating rewards yet to come.

Even though individuals usually expect that Marx saw no place for religion, this supposition isn't altogether valid. Marx held that religion filled in as an asylum from the cruelty of regular day to day existence and persecution by the capable. In any case, he anticipated that common belief would one day pass away.

Merits of Public Sphere and Civil Religion to Classical Approaches

The public sphere and civil religion are two concepts that were recently developed that actively share the ideas of sociological theories of Marx Weber and Emile Durkheim. The general field is an area in social life where people come together to discuss issues affecting them with the objective of initiating a political action or to socialize. The kind of debate that these individuals normally engage in is known as public debate, and it is defined as public debate. The debate normally takes place through social media but some individuals also organize physical meetings in which they discuss their issues. The phrase was originally coined by Jurgen Habermas who defined it as an imaginary community which does not exist in any specific locality (Duelund 2010). Habermas definition of a public sphere is almost similar with that of Gerard Hauser who defined it as a discursive space in which individuals discuss issues of common interest that yield a common agreement among them (Habermas 2006). Alternatively, civil religion is a cohesive force that fosters cultural and social integration. The theory is structured to explain the emphasis on nondenominational religious themes which are distinctively American. The word was coined by Robert Bellay who described it as the relationship between religion and national identity in the U.S.A. (Calhoun 2011). The primary objective of this paper is to discuss the connection between the public sphere and civil religion and their relative merits as demonstrations of the continuing relevance of the elements of the classical approaches.

The connection between the public sphere and civil religion

Civil society and public sphere are not similar concepts. Public sphere appeals more to the nature of civil society with the objective of explaining the democratic social foundations and to introduce the discussion of specific organization within civil society of social and cultural bases. This aims at developing an effective rational discussion that helps in resolving a political dispute. One should not be confused by the majority of the recent analysts who believe that the two concepts relate. The functions of the two concepts are completely different in relation to their impact on the development of a sociological and cultural analysis that is needed by a democratic theory. In one's attempt to distinguish the two concepts, they must maintain the systematic claims of the economy and economic analysis different from other forms of organization. Despite the fact that economic conditions affect the public sphere and play an integral role in shaping the society, they should not be equated with either.

Merits of the public sphere in relation to classical approaches

The foundation of Habermas's and Foucault's arguments concur with Dewey's speculation on modern society, that the once close-knit social and political communities comprising the democratic public sphere has become decentralized and scattered into divided communities across the nation; distracted by entertainment and disconnected from public discourse, the modern public takes for granted their social and political freedoms, neglecting their powers (Habermas 2006). Given the modern situation, Habermas accepts this new form of community of strangers. By using technological advancements as an advantage through new means of the democratic process, the rational conversation made by contemporary modes of communication amongst a diverse decentralized society should produce, nonetheless, the same result of traditional democratic processes. For Foucault, these dispersed entities stress the "innate" creation of a subject, constructed by the knowledge and understanding learned by an individual within their own circumstances. Each particular individual then attempts to assimilate into society by finding their designated category that best suits their background and ideas. These categories of subjects, over the course of generations, produced a plethoric magnitude of diverse communities all of whom come from unique understandings, knowledge, and truths. In opposition to Habermas, a modernist, Foucault identifies all distinct perspectives to be regimes of truth, rather than seeking a single, enlightening, all-encompassing truth through idealized discussion. The historical context justifying knowledge- power's relationship supports the nature of Foucault's interpretation of power, that power demands the control and influence on possible outcomes through a series of action sets. Thus Foucault's understanding of power voids Habermas' argument for communicative power, whose truth-defining conversation for rationalized institutions depend on the exclusion of external influence upon the communities' deliberation, rendering Habermas' discourse theory impossible and inapplicable.

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