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

Discuss Reasons Why Sociologists Find It Difficult To Agree On A Definition Of Religion (20 Marks)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss Reasons Why Sociologists Find It Difficult To Agree On A Definition Of Religion (20 Marks) What is religion? How can you define it? Can you give it one universal definition? Highly unlikely, as religion can be, and has been, defined in many ways. It can be called a belief in some kind of supernatural power by one person, then a set of moral values that guide action by another. It all depends on the simple fact of from what viewpoint you are looking at religion from. Durkheim defines religion as shared beliefs and practices that unites communities and creates social solidarity. Durkheim studied Australian Aborigines. The Aborigines each had a totem, be it a plant, animal or object. This totem was a symbol of both their God and their clan. In other words they were worshipping their God on a conscious level and themselves on a sub-conscious one. What he's trying to say is that it's not a belief in supernatural powers, but a certain admiration and respect for what that group of people considers sacred, which could be anything. ...read more.

Middle

The Saints didn't answer their prayers so they are punished even though they're considered sacred and superior. Malinowski (1954) studied the Trobriand Islanders. The Trobriand Islanders prayed to and worshipped the sea, in other words if bad things happened people begged the sea for mercy and if something good happened they praised the sea for its kindness, and accept this for the simple reason that 'that's just the way things are'. He found that religion played a big role in promoting social solidarity in times of emotional need and stress, eg, weddings, funerals, engagements. Basically he's trying to say that religion acts as the foundation of a culture, a supporting structure you could say that keeps everything working the way it should be. Parsons (1965) followed on from Malinowski to say that religion is our source of meaning, how we answer the difficult questions such as, 'why do people die?', it's a way for us to forget our problems and load them on somebody else's shoulders, for example, God's shoulders. ...read more.

Conclusion

They believe that someone who is truly liberated has no need for religion. That 'Man makes religion, religion does not make man, in other words religion is the self-consciousness and slef feeling of man who has either not yet found himself, or has already lost himself again.' (Marx). This makes sense when the growing amount of religions over the past few decades are taken into consideration. As you can see, there are many ways to look at religion, all with points that make sense and points that don't. Religions differ from place to place, culture to culture, many have similarities, but, overall, they're not the same. Besides, when looking into religion from a sociological perspective, one answer brings about more questions, this creates criticism for that definition. Because so many perspectives attempt to give a religion a 'personalised' definition they find themselves overlapping, all with a point or no point at all, or maybe a combined point, it depends on how devoted to their perspectives the sociologists attempting to give the definition are. In other words, Marxism, Functionalism, etc, the actual sociological perspectives of each group in society reflects their perspectives on religion, and as they all have different view points and opinions, they cannot agree. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God 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 GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Assess Nietzsche's critique of religion.

    For example, it avoids the will to escape and reinforces people's authority which is ideal for masters. It is a means for overcoming resistance for the masters. It provides lessons in self-disciplining and self-mastering for the masters which are indispensable for those who want to become masters or who are

  2. Deconstructing O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find".

    I can just look at you and tell". The grandmother also asserts vaguely that redemption can be achieved through work: "You could be honest if you'd only try [...] Think how wonderful it would be to settle down [...] If you would pray [...] Jesus will help you".

  1. Compare and contrast two of the following and evaluate their significance for understanding religious ...

    This differs from Aquinas' theory as he does not express any idea of his analogy changing over time.

  2. God: a definition

    Adherents therefore avoid dispersing their energy into the pursuit of health, power, or knowledge. By shunning earthly distraction, the Taoist is able to concentrate on life itself. "Taoism maintains that the individual should ignore the dictates of society and seek only to conform with the underlying pattern of the universe, the Tao."(Eliade 462)

  1. An explanation and evaluation of the different perspectives on religion offered by Richard Dawkins ...

    one cannot be half or "partially" correct. Despite the fact that science does not brush with religion on some very important issues, there is a lot of very critical inconsistency between the two (no being can exist beyond the universe and mot certainly cannot deny the rules to which this universe conforms e.g.

  2. You are a journalist working for the Sunday Times newspaper. Your editor has asked ...

    The stars are grouped into galaxies, and these are moving apart from each other. Scientists point out that this movement is what you would expect if all matter had started from the same place and then exploded apart. They use the present position of the galaxies and the rate at

  1. Outline the teaching about the Kingdom of God in the Parable's of Mark's Gospel.

    You can do many things to try and grow your faith to its full potential, i.e. by going to church and praying whenever you can, but how it actually grows inside you is a mystery no-one can explain.

  2. What do you find particularly horrifying about the world, which E.M. Forster creates?

    Her limited space house foreshadows her general entrapment in the Machine world why she cannot escape because the Machine controls her mind literally, which also symbolises her superstitious belief in the Machine, as a kind of 'god'. Along side this powerful and explicit imagery, Forster uses dramatic dialogue to emphasise

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