What is the “sociological perspective” and how does it affect the way we study religion? How is it different from non-social scientific (philosophical, theological) approaches to the study of religion? From other social scientific (psychological, anthropological) approaches
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Sociological perspective is the manner in which social activities in the environment are seen and accepted by people who have ample knowledge on the environmental activities, which affect the economic and historical aspects in a society. The sociological perspective on the economy in the society affects the religious believe on the divine activities such as the number of praying, the frequency of reading the texts from the holy book. The raising economy is perceived as a challenge to citizens who have been affected, since maintaining a noble life has been difficult; therefore, with such difficulties, time spent on religious activities is reduced (Schieman, 2003).
Cloning is the scientific process of artificially altering the DNA order on the genes to create a human being who is superior to the normal human being. Such social perspective negatively affects believes of religion in society. Worldwide, religion is an aspect that is determining most of the decisions and conclusions made during sociology and technological activities in the society. Cloning is a process that is not accepted in religion since they believe that only God creates a human being (Bainbridge, 2003). The process of cloning creates human beings who are superior. Therefore, in most cases the sociology perspective negatively affects the study of religion in the society hence making it difficult for the believers to concentrate on improving religion in the economy.
Religion and ethnicity are related and are similar in many aspects, since they share common topics of handling issues in society. The sociological perspective on the ethnicity has led to rise of several divisions of religions globally. They have come out in large numbers, and each branch claims to be doing the right thing before God, hence causing religious conflicts. Ethnicity causes the division of a single group since it allows for freedom of sharing ideas and doing things on a person’s way of interests. This perspective causes negative impacts on the religion because of the misunderstanding among the groups of religion.
Philosophical theology is a non-social scientific study of Christians’ doctrines, which describes the basis of a Christian faith that keeps them united. The difference is that sociological perspective majors on the opinions that witness give about a point to be taken while philosophical theology speak on the history events that occurred in the past.
Psychological anthropology is a social scientific study of reasoning ability of human beings and is beneficial in the social and cultural life. The following topics explain further what psychological anthropology is all about; mind, agency to an emergency and the religion of an individual. The difference between it and sociological perspective is the point where ideas are retrieved; because in the psychological anthropology the source is in the brain, while sociological perspective the source of information comes automatically depending on the situation at hand.
What is religion and where does it come from? Discuss the relative merits of theories proposed by Durkheim, Marx, and the Rational Choice theorists.
Religion is a spiritual believe of an individual or a group to worship a super natural power, which might be seen or cannot be seen at all. Religion can be understood well through dividing it into two parts, which include liturgical formality and the spiritual aim. Liturgical formality is the guidelines that direct the religious leaders to teach the people on proper conducts. The other part of religion is spiritual target that helps individuals to spread the word of the holy book to people philosophically. Religion began several years back when man was still hunting to get food for the family. It is through facing challenges of getting food that man needed a spiritual force to strengthen him when facing daily challenges. They came together and offered a prayer to their spiritual superpower to assist them to solve the difficult issues, hence forming a religion.
Marxist perspective argues that a society is valued with the economic strength it has, therefore, he is supporting the idea of societies to work hard and improve on the factors that favor the growth of the economy. The human’s ability of reasoning and the self-conscious, plays a crucial role in the determining the economic status of a place, and how it can be improved. Marx saw religion as necessary to human beings as a source of happiness and comfort when one is troubled or facing a difficult situation (Clayton, 2006). Though he argued that religion was not necessary to the society, and people could do without depending on it. Marxist’s theologies have faced criticism by few fellow philosophers, hence making them unpopular to the world.
Emile Durkheim described religion as sacred and holy conversely to other philosophers who majorly described it as a supernatural and a faithful aspect of the society. He further argued that morality relates with religion, and they are factors that cannot be separated from each other. Religion to Durkheim was the society’s reflection in the mirror; therefore, if the religions were not respected in a society, then it will be a grievous society full with evil activities. Although Durkheim theologies faced opposition, they are still popular among the world populace.
Rational choice theory came up after the Rodney Stark and William Smiss who agreed and stated that religion is a system of compensatory (Lishbach, 2003). Many sociologists worldwide are still using this theory as it still makes sense, according to them, compensatory are the things that feel a space that an individual has been wanting to know and acquire the knowledge. They define religion as a system of compensation that depend entirely on the assistance and support from the supernatural powers. Most religions start in the form of a cult in the society by a group of individuals having related interest and goals they want to achieve. These cults either fade away entirely, or convince people to join them to survive.
Use one of the theories or concepts we have discussed this term to analyze religion and politics in the U.S. or the Third World
The concept used to answer this question will be sociological perspectives in the American religion and political aspects. American civil religion caused a lot of speculation among the American citizens. It caused several debates to be held at various conferences in the country, and the media frequently wrote articles concerning the matter (Wilcox & Gomez). The sociological perspective on the American civil religion was that it united, and identified the black American people. The topic made headlines on magazine across America and globally, making the issue to be serious by the citizens. ‘Civil religion’ is popular to a large group of the Americans citizens; hence, they believe and follow all the guidelines given by the religion. It has brought many speculations about how black Americans relate to each other. It is true that a religion helps in identifying people who their relationship is similar, for example, the black Americans have identified themselves from the religion they practice at their locality. According to Gomez and Wilcox, the black religion has helped to unite the black Americans and drive them to the same political imagination and expectations.
The relationship between religion and politics in USA was caused by two factors, which include the secular political institutions and the cultural institutions, which correlate and share a lot similarity and participate in the same activities. The other reason is the influence of religious organizations on the American political sector that has affected the critical decision-makings by the political sector of the country (Bernstein & Jakobsen, 2010). The concept of sociological perspective has made the two groups, secular, and religious, to have similar goals and missions to America. The groups that defend the human rights in America are both from the secular organization and religious groups that have one mission, which is to promote peace and harmony to Americans. Therefore, the two groups should work together to ensure that the government should work hard to improve the lives of American citizens.
Decision making in America has been facing challenges since political and religion movements have always not agreed on who to give authority. Sociological perspective has also influenced the relationship between the political and religion movements in America. The two movements have sometimes offered different opinions on vital issues that affect the country. They have suggested conflicting solutions to the problems, and this has resulted to misunderstanding. Therefore, the disagreement between the two parties has cost the development of economy in the country, since quick solutions to problems is delayed when solving the problem. The government should come up with a solution to avoid the conflicts that the two parties face. This should be done exceptionally fast to maintain the high economic standard of the country and make life easy. This would promote favorable environment for political and religion movements to solve problems that may occur.
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Clayton, C. 2006. Marxism and Philosophy. Web.
Bernstein, E., and Jakobsen, R. J. 2010. Sex, Secularism and Religious Influence in US Politics. Taylor Francis Online Journal, 31 (6). Web.
Brainbridge, W. S. 2003. Religious Opposition to Cloning. The Journal of Evolution and Technology, Vol. 13.
Lichbach, M. I. 2003. Is rational choice theory all of social science? New York: University of Michigan Press, 2003. Pp3.
Schieman, S. 2010. Socioeconomic Status and Beliefs about God’s Influence in Everyday Life. Sociology of Religion. 71 (1): 25-51. Web.
Wilcox, C. and Gomez, L. Religion, Group Identification, and Politics among American Blacks. Sociology of Religion Journal, 51 (3): 271-285. Web.