Religion and Sociology Challenges to Term Paper

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(40) The foundation of the story demonstrates the social pull of religion as a way of life, that is inclusive, despite its obvious contradictions to the modern world, belief systems and economy. In a sense the social desire to fit in and be seen as different are met by the acceptance of the church as a lifestyle. According to Durkheim, "Deep down, no religion is false.... Each in its own way is true, for each answers given conditions of human life."

Blend et al. 30)

Max Weber also committed a great deal of his life and scholarship to the sociology of religion, affirming repeatedly that religion must exist to transform society into a moral society, rather than one that meets the conditions of the natural instincts of man, being amoral in the sense that they are often simply self serving, yet he also reiterated the importance of studying the ways in which religious groups obtain power, "...one aspect of the sociology of religion is the study of how certain groups or institutions (theologians, prophets, churches and sects) attempt to control spiritual power."

Turner 28) This would obviously be mirrored in the writings of Wood, Ward and Sharlet, as their collective thesis' create an acknowledgement of the gaining and maintenance of power by a fundamentalist subculture that does not reflect the majority in its core belief system.

The anthropological significance of religion is to provide powerful solutions at the level of symbol, ritual and doctrine to the senseless character of the mundane world. Here is the real location of charisma in Weber's sociology, namely as a spiritual force which, in going beyond our experiences of the mundane world, offers hope that there is a meaningful reality behind everyday reality. Religion is thus related to this universal anthropological quest for meaning. Organized religion -- and especially the institutions,
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practices and beliefs of what Weber called 'world religions' -- provides an articulate and systematic set of answers to theodicy, but its very institutionalization exposes these routinized forms of religion to the perennial threat of unrestrained charisma.

Turner 227)

The representation of religion as a driving social force is consistent with the evidence of the fundamentalist movement, one that can clearly be labeled as such is the Christina Right, and its heads and doctrines, especially with regard to the majority fear of the charismatic longing individuals have to belong to a social organization that offers answers to universal questions, even if it disagrees with previously strong held beliefs about progress.

The nation is seeking change, there is no question, as most individuals will list many of the same concerns and problems as the Christian Right would, violence, pornography, teen sex, the loss of the family structure that is resulting in millions of children in poverty and in single parent homes. Yet, the differences in how the two view the solutions to these problems and in a whole set of circumstances that the majority do not see as problem but progress will likely continue to drive the rhetoric and reality of the foundation of the nation. The author's and thinkers analyzed in this work, stress the importance of the majority understanding the way in which the fundamentalists obtain and seek power, within each work there is a stress for understanding. Power cannot be given without consent in a free world, and apathy and denial are consent.

Works Cited

Blend, Charles, et al. Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917: A Collection of Essays, with Translations and a Bibliography. Ed. Kurt H. Wolff. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1960.

Sharlet, Jeff, "Through a Glass, Darkly: How the Christian Right is Reimagining U.S. History" 33-43.

Turner, Bryan S. Max Weber: From History to Modernity.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Blend, Charles, et al. Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917: A Collection of Essays, with Translations and a Bibliography. Ed. Kurt H. Wolff. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1960.

Sharlet, Jeff, "Through a Glass, Darkly: How the Christian Right is Reimagining U.S. History" 33-43.

Turner, Bryan S. Max Weber: From History to Modernity. London: Routledge, 1993.

Wood, Richard L. Introduction to Politics and Religion

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