Religion and Society Final Study Guide.docx - Religion...

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Religion & Society Midterm Exam ReviewDurkheim: his definition of religion, sacred vs. profane places/objects, collective effervescence, totemism, god=society, “civil religion”A)Religion defined as belief & practice (“beliefs and rites”- pg. 2) oriented to the sacred, aroundwhich a community forms.B)Sacred Vs. Profane Places/Objects - Sacred: Rules around use, associated with “extraordinary” times of life, inspire respect & awe, symbolic, no instrumental use (or their use has nothing to do with their sacredness) Profane: Mundane, no rules around use, associated with ordinary times of life, inspire no awe, not symbolic, have instrumental useC)Collective Effervescence: social, notindividual; individual forgets self and becomes immersed in group; associated with sacred places/objects.-A community or society may at times come together and simultaneously communicate the same thought and participate in the same action Pg. 217: “The very act of congregating is an exceptionally powerful stimulant. Once the individuals are gathered together, a sort of electricity is generated from their closeness and quickly launches them to an extraordinary height of exaltation”D)Totemism:Clan-based societies: extended family formed the basic social unit.Each clan had a totemic animal that symbolized the clan itself. Clan members believed themselves to be descended from the animal, and representations of totems were used as clan emblems. Taboos surrounded totemic animals, as well as their representations.E)God= Society·Totemic animals symbolize 2 things: the god of the clan and the clan itself.If the clan is the basic social unit, then the totem symbolizes god and society itself.When people worship a divine power, they are in fact worshipping the community to which they belong, whether they realize it or not.“A society is to its members what a god is to its faithful” (Pg. 207)“Cave of Forgotten Dreams” sceneF)Civil religion :-Sociologist Robert Bellah argued that, in the US, patriotism/nationalism serves as a Durkheimian “civil religion” that unites a diverse population around sacred objects like the Constitution, etc.-Challenge of unity in a heterogeneous societyMarx: relationship between Marx’s ideas and conflict theory, religion as “opiate,” false vs. class consciousness, Marx’s connection to Liberation theology, criticisms of MarxA)relationship between Marx’s ideas and conflict theory·Conflict theory argues that social institutions are the sites of struggle between those groups in society with power and those without power.
This conflict is usually over resources, including $.Conflict theory is rooted in the ideas and work of Karl Marx.B)Religion as “opiate,”·For Durkheim, religion is a source of social solidarity, but for Marx, religion is “the opiate of the masses” (masses=workers)·Marx believed that religion encouraged the working classes to accept their suffering in this lifetime in exchange for the reward of the afterlife (Heaven). Religion encourages

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