Religion is a collection of cultural
systems, belief systems, and
worldviews that relate humanity
to spirituality and to moral values.
3. Faith - is unquestioning belief that does not
require proof or scientific evidence.
Sacred - refers to those aspects of life that are
extraordinary or supernatural.
Profane - refers to the everyday, secular aspects
Rituals - are regularly repeated and carefully
prescribed forms of behaviors that symbolize a
cherished value or belief.
4. The sociology of religion focuses on
religious groups and organizations, on
the behavior of individuals within those
groups, and on ways religion is
intertwined with social institutions.
6. The Social Functions of Religion
Durkheim saw religion as worship of
society, not as worship of a deity:
“…rites are a means through which a
group reaffirms itself.”
Religious rites strengthen commonly-
7. #1: Providing Emotional Support and Security
Religion provides meaning in a natural
world in which humans have little or no
control over certain phenomena. Humans
use religion to deal with:
8. Religion offers a transcendental
relationship with “the beyond,” which
provides people with
- New security
- A firmer identity in this world (believers
and priests) and the next
9. #2: Religion Provides Social Control
As Durkheim implied, religion sacralizes
the norms and values of established
society, maintaining the dominance of
group goals over individual wishes:
Religion is a means of social control.
10. #3: Religion Provides Mechanisms for
Religion has served a “prophetic”
function in which absolute standards take
precedence over “earthly” ones.
Religious belief is thus used as
justification for social protests, social
movements, political revolutions, etc.
11. #4: Religion Contributes to Individual’s
Religion is an aspect of heritage, like
Religion furnishes part of individuals’
understanding of who and what they are:
eg, “I am Catholic” or “I am Muslim.”
12. #5: Religion is a Factor in directing
the Individual’s Lifecourse
Religions prescribe rites, privileges and
responsibilities that are associated with
life stages, as with the identity of “elder,”
ceremonies for entry into “adulthood,”
13. Four Categories of Religion
Simple supernaturalism - the belief that
supernatural forces affect people's lives
positively or negatively.
Animism - the belief that plants, animals,
and elements of the natural world are
endowed with spirits that impact events
Four Categories of Religion
14. Theism - belief in a God or Gods.
Transcendent idealism - belief in sacred
principles of thought and conduct, such
as truth, justice, life and tolerance for
15. Religions as Organizations
Ecclesia – a type of religious organization in
which most people in the society are members
by virtue of their birth.
Denomination – well-established religious
organization in which a substantial number of
the population are members. Examples:
Presbyterian Church and Baptist Church.
16. A sect is a form of religious organization
that is non-bureaucratic and clearly
distinct from the larger society.
A cult is distinct not only from the larger
society but from other religions as well- it
does not emerge from pre-existing
religious forms; it is completely new.
17. The development of religion has taken different
forms in different cultures. Some religions
emphasize belief while others emphasize practice.
Some religions focus on subjective experience of
the religious individual while others consider
activities of the religious community to be most