Durkheim believed that the essence of all religion could be found by studying it’s simplest form, in the simplest type of society. He studied totems, which he said was a society worshipping sacred symbols and rituals which were meant to symbolize all of society. In Durkheim’s view, sacred symbols represent society’s collective conscience or consciousness. The collective conscience is the shared norms and values of society. For Durkheim shared religious rituals reinforced the collective conscience and maintain social integration.
Phenomenology is also geared towards creating a framework for understanding religious traditions. The authors of The Sacred Quest An Invitation to the Study of Religion give multiple outlines for different things in religion, such as what a cult is defined as and what it means for something to be sacred. The phenomenological approach’s function is to also put up a firewall against literalism. This means that we want to look at how things function in a religion and how things are interpreted but we do not want to make the mistake of believing some things actually happened in the physical world. We use the phenomenological approach as a way to interpret data that we observe from several different religions.
The main perspectives of this are the overall point of view towards a subject for example aspects of a person’s social life. Sociologists study the impact on many different societies and social structures that have an effect on people. They also study social trends and suggest actions or interventions to help improve health and well being of a particular group of people. Sociologists have introduced various perspectives to be able to explain and also analyse how societies work. Functionalism: Two functionalist called Talcott Parsons and George Murdock argued that every single society will have a religion due to religious institutions have certain functions which have a say to the survival of the system as whole just as the organs of the body have functions which are essential for the body’s survival.
They have 5 key functions of religion in modern society. One of these functions is socialization. They say the main function of religion in modern society is to socialise society’s members into a value consensus by investing values with a sacred quality. These values become ‘moral codes’. For example, The Ten Commandments are ‘moral codes’ which influenced both formal and informal control.
The Moral Dilemma of Religion and Politics Tanya Forbes SOC 315 August 15, 2011 The Moral Dilemma of Religion and Politics Within every culture and civilization there is a distinct and purposeful effort to define, divide, and identify one group of people from another. The methods are as old as time; as throughout history the means used to define a civilization’s identity were wrought through religion, language, culture, and governance. Understanding the events that took place which enabled America to become what it is, and discerning the religious underpinnings of our nation, we may ask if religion and politics is really a problem? What does separation of church and state really mean, and to what extent does it apply? Regardless of the argument for or against religion’s role in politics, it is clear they cannot be truly separated.
Durkheim argues that religion functions to reinforce the collective unity or social solidarity of a group. He says all societies divide the world into the sacred and the profane. His view on sacred symbols represents society's collective consciousness which is the shared norms, values beliefs and knowledge that make social life possible without such consciousness it would crumble. While participating in shared rituals binds individuals together reminding them that they are a part of a community. The individual sees religion performing a significant function allowing them to feel apart of society and seeing that religion strengthens us to face life's trials and motivates us to overcome obstacles that would otherwise overpower us.
For example Churingas are sacred drawings on wood or stone. Durkheim argued that Totemism represents religion in its most elementary form. The totem has divine properties which separates it from other profane objects. It is a symbol for the group, tribe or clan itself as it stands up for the values central to the community which everyone respects. Therefore worship of the totem is the worship of the social group itself.
Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim on Religion Religion plays a very interesting role in the world of Sociology because it is such a deep seeded and integral thread that holds many different parts of society together. A religion can be seen as a unified system of beliefs and practices which are relative to sacred things and beliefs (Giddens 1972, p.224). It can shape ones thoughts and feelings and gives people a sense of hope and something to believe in. However, although virtually no sociologist will deny the importance of religion in different societies, they differ greatly on their views on how it can fit into social and/or economic theory. Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx are two very well known sociologists whose opinions on religion differ a great deal.
Along with the theories I will explore the major institutions of organised religion and education with the eventual aim of providing a clear answer to the essay question. Functionalism is a consensus theory and Functionalists believe society works as a collective consciousness. Put simply this means that functionalist thinking focuses on the theory that members of society work together with each other because it is in the individual’s best interests or that the individual is predominantly self-serving but know that in order for society to flourish they must work with others. Functionalism is also based upon the belief that every aspect of society no matter how small has a function or purpose to serve in and that in turn will keep society running efficiently and also because all members of society hold a shared consensus of norms and values. a good analogy would to be compare functionalism to motor vehicle, the engine, the petrol, the gear’s must work together in order to create fluid motion, if one were not to function efficiently the vehicle just would not operate correctly.
However the greatest difference noticed was in their religion. For Winthrop, a Puritan, whom established the Massachusetts Bay Colony, his aspect of life revolved around religion. He stated that there was a need for people to obey their governors and for the governors to obey God in order for the thrive of civilization. A more simple way to put by the