Functionalist Ideas On Religion

Erin Phillips
Mind Map by Erin Phillips, updated more than 1 year ago
Erin Phillips
Created by Erin Phillips about 5 years ago


A-Level Sociology Mind Map on Functionalist Ideas On Religion, created by Erin Phillips on 06/22/2016.

Resource summary

Functionalist Ideas On Religion
  1. Substantive Definitions
    1. Focus on the content or substance of religious belief - Belief in God & supernatural
      1. Max Webber
        1. Sees religion as a belief in the superior/supernatural power
          1. Power is above nature
            1. Cannot be proven or scientifically explained
            2. Exclusive - clear line between religious and non-religious beliefs
              1. To be religious is to believe in a God or in the supernatural - conform in this widespread view
                1. Criticism
                  1. Do not consider other religions that do not believe in a God
                    1. Accused of Western bias, exclude religions such as Buddhism with no idea of God
                  2. Functional Definitions
                    1. Defined in terms of social./ psychological functions it performs on the individual and society
                      1. What religion does for the individual
                      2. Emilie Durkheim
                        1. Sees religion in terms of the contribution it makes to social integration
                          1. Need not be a belief in a specific God or the supernatural
                          2. Milton Yinger
                            1. Functions of religion such as answering 'ultimate questions' such as meaning of life and what happens when we die
                            2. Criticism
                              1. If an institution helps integrate individuals into groups it does not make it a religion
                                1. Football can give individuals a sense of integration but isn't seen as a religion
                              2. Constructionist Definition
                                1. Interpretivist approach that focuses on how individuals define religion themselves
                                  1. Is not possible to produce a single universal definition of religion, people have different ideas of what religion means
                                    1. Alan Aldridge
                                      1. Scientology is a religion, whereas various governments have denied this
                                        1. Shows how definitions of religion can vary and are influenced by who has the power to define the situation
                                      2. Do not always assume religion involves God or the supernatural
                                        1. Do not believe all religions perform the same functions for everyone in society
                                        2. Criticism
                                          1. Impossible to generalise about the nature of religion
                                        3. Durkheim
                                          1. The Sacred & Profane
                                            1. Key feature of religion is the fundamental distinction between the sacred and the profane
                                              1. Sacred - Forbidden and inspire a feeling of awe
                                                1. Profane - the ordinary and mundane
                                              2. Totemism
                                                1. Something that holds a sacred value - eg. The Queen
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