• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess sociological explanations for the increasing number of religious and spiritual organizations and movements in society today.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess sociological explanations for the increasing number of religious and spiritual organizations and movements in society today. Churches are the dominant religious organisation in society that seeks to include all social groups within the membership. They therefore have the most members which gives them the most influence. Churches support and reinforce society's norms and values. This means that churches are more appealing to a wider number of people. Churches are uniquely legitimate. A church claims to have the answer to all questions and doesn't accept answers that other religions provide. In churches members are generally not expected to be highly committed to be members. Therefore it takes less of a life change to be part of a church. However Some sociologists would argue that a secularisation process has occurred and churches no longer have great influence. Even major religions such as Christianity no longer has any real influence as only 10% of people regularly attend places of worship. This essay will assess sociological explanations for the increasing number of religions and spiritual organisations and movements in society today. New religious movements are always increasing. These movements have always existed but there was a big increase in the 20th century, especially since the 1960s. Although it can be difficult to classify these movements, there have been numerous attempts to classify them. ...read more.

Middle

Also as argued by Stark and Bainbridge those who are relatively deprived break away from churches to form sects. When looking at the growth of NRM's we can also look at social change to help explain it further. Wilson argues that periods of rapid change disrupt and undermine established norms and values, producing anomie or normlessness. A s there is so much uncertainty as we live in a fragmented society as described by postmodernists, those of us who are most affected by disruption may turn to sects as a solution. Bruce sees the growth of sects and cults today as a response to the social changes involved in modernisation and secularisation. In Bruce's view, society is now secularised and therefore people are less attracted to the traditional churches and strict sects, because these demand too much commitment. People now prefer cults because they are less demanding fewer sacrifices. There has been a significant growth with world rejecting NRM's and world affirming NRM's. For world rejecting NRM's, Adolescents and young adults are targeted. They Offer some certainty at an otherwise uncertain time, no dependants makes membership easier and radical beliefs appeal to the young with rapid turnover of members as a result of reliance on young. for world affirming NRM's Bruce argues that their growth is a response to modernity, especially to the rationalisation of work. These provide both a sense of identity and techniques that promise success in this world. ...read more.

Conclusion

Commitment often depends on the leadership groups have. For example the Branch Davidians had a highly charismatic leader in David Koresh. His presence meant that members were highly committed, rejected society and unlikely to leave.Some New Religious Movements are of their time, but quickly date and fade. For example the number of apocalyptic sects that sprung up around the millennium has diminished in popularity and influence. Some groups fail to recruit beyond their original members.Some New Religious Movements are marginalised to such an extent that it very difficult for them to survive. Established religious movements such as churches and denominations have more enduring power and attraction. To conclude, the main problem with categorising religious groups is their diverse characteristics. The criteria used to distinguish religious movements from one another is limited, leaving out a number of important Christian faiths and not applying to non-Christian faiths at all. Sociologists have very little idea about how a sect turns into a denomination. This gives the impression that any sociological theory that seeks to categorise NRMs is vague and lacks empirical support. Postmodernists would theoretically criticise the categorisation of NRM as religion is now personalised. It is impossible to distinguish between a cult, sect and denomination because individual members see them and use them in different ways. They would argue that the people join NRMs through choice rather than any societal reason. ?? ?? ?? ?? 08/02/2012 20:23 08/02/2012 20:23 08/02/2012 20:23 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. Asses sociological explanations for the increasing number of religions & spiritual organisations and movements ...

    Some of these movements are millenarian. These movements attract mostly those people who are marginalized. An example of this type of movements is The Moonies. The second type is world-accommodating movements, which are normally offshoots of a church or denomination.

  2. Demography topic revision notes. The study of populations and their characteristics is called ...

    50s is no longer working, while recent changes mean that women will soon have to wait until they are 65 to access the state pension (previously women's pensions began at 60, men's at 65). Others carry on working into their 70s.

  1. Assess the view that cults, sects and new age movement are fringe organisations that ...

    Furthermore sects usually recruit people who are not really in mainstream society they are already on the margins of society and live strict fugal lives. These people it can be said would only be influential to those of the same status and those who lead the same lives as them

  2. Critically examine the relationship between gender, religious participation and religious organisations

    Similarly, the Koran claimed that both men and women could be stoned to death for committing adultery, however, it was very unlikely to happen to men. The reason for this was because men were permitted to have several wives (although women could not have several husbands)

  1. Outline and assess sociological explanations for class inequality.

    Thus, Weber explains inequality along two strands, class and status. He stated that class and status interact to determine people's life chances. He welcomed the growth of bureaucratic and rational forms of authority, which treats everyone equally and impersonally, unlike the traditional forms of authority which worked on the basis of favouritism.

  2. Assess the nature and extent of secularization in society today. Evidence surrounding church attendance ...

    He thinks that religion no longer acts as a unifying force in society. On the contrary, Greely (1972) believes that the growth of NRMs represents a process of resacrilisation, since the 1980s the sacred is becoming important again. Stark and Bainbridge (1985)

  1. Assess the view that religious beliefs and practices are changing to reflect a new ...

    Stark and Bainbridge argue that religion thrives in the USA because there?s never been a religious monopoly there but this differs in Europe. Therefore they conclude that the main factor influencing the level of religious participation isn?t the demand for religion like the secularisation theory suggests but the supply.

  2. Biological and Social Constructionist explanations of Gender development

    David and his brother Brian reported that Money had used unethical practices to encourage the development of their different gender identities, including taking photos of them naked in different sexual positions. This could never be proven as 2 years worth of the study?s notes on the twins were never released by Dr.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work