Islam Like Judaism, Islam is a religion in the Abrabamic tradition; both religions arise through sons of Abraham- Judaism through Isaac and Islam through Ishrnael. Islam. whose followers are known as Muslims, is based on the teachings of its founder. Muhammad, who was born in Mecca (now in Saudi Arabia) in about 570 C.E. According to Muhammad, followers must adhere to the …

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Religion and the Meaning of Life

Religion and the Meaning of Life Religion seeks to answer important questions such as why we exist. why people suffer and die. and what happens when we die. Sociologist Peter Berger (1967) referred to religion as a sacred canopy-a sheltering fabric hanging over people that gives them security and provides answers for the questions of life (see “Sociology Works!”). However. this …

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Religion and Scientific Explanations

Religion and Scientific Explanations During the Industrial Revolutfon, scientific explanations began to compete with religious views of life. Rapid growth in scientific and technological knowledge gave rise to the idea that science would ultimately answer questions that had previously been in the realm of religion. Many scholars believed that increases in scientific knowledge would result in secu- 1llrlZlltioll-the process by which religious …

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Sociological Perspectives Religion

Sociological Perspectives Religion Religion as a social institution is a powerful. deeply felt. and influential force in human society. Sociologists study the social institution of religion because of the importance that religion holds Cor many people; they also want to know more about thf influence of religion on society. and vice vena. For example. some people believe that the introduction of prayer …

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Functionalist Perspectives on Religion

Functionalist Perspectives on Religion Emile Durkheim was one of the first sociologists to emphasize that religion is essential to the maintenance of society. He suggested that religion is a cultural universal found in all societies because it meets basic human needs and serves important societal functions. Functionalist Perspectives on Religion Emile Durkheim was one of the first sociologists to emphasize that religion is essential …

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Functions of Religion

Functions of Religion From a functionalist perspective. religion has three important functions in any sodety:  (1) providing meaning and purpose to life. (2) promoting social cohesion and a sense of belonging, and (3) providing social control and support for the government.

Meaning and Purpose

Meaning and Purpose Religion offers meaning for the human experience. Some events create a profound sense of loss on both an individual basis (such as injustice, suffering. or the death of a loved OIlC) and a group basis (such as famine. earthquake, economic depression. or subjugation by an enemy). Inequality may cause people 10 wonder why their own situation is no better …

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Social Cohesion and a Sense of Belonging

 Social Cohesion and a Sense of Belonging By emphasizing shared symbolism, religious teachings and practices help promote social cohesion. An example is the Christian ritual of communion, which not only commemorates a historical event but also aUows followers to participate in the unity (‘continuum”) of themselves with other believers (McGuire, 2002). All religions have some form of shared experience that rekindles the group’s …

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Social Control and Support for the Government

Social Control and Support for the Government How does religion help bind society together and maintain social control? All societies attempt to maintain social control through systems of rewards and punishments. Sacred symbols and beliefs establish powerful. pervasive. long-lasting motivations based on the concept of a general order of existence. In other words. if individuals consider themselves to be part of a …

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Conflict Perspectives on Religion

Conflict Perspectives on Religion Although many functionalists view religion. including civil religion. as serving positive functions in society. some conflict theorists view religion negatively. Karl Marx on Religion For Marx, ideologies=svstematic views of the way the world ought to be-are embodied in religious doci!ines and political values (Turner, Beeghley, and Powers. 2002). These ideologies serve to justify …

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