Reasons Why Sociologists Disagree on Religion

743 Words3 Pages
Reasons Why Sociologists Disagree on Religion What is religion? How can you define it? Can you give it one universal definition? Highly unlikely, as religion can be, and has been, defined in many ways. It can be called a belief in some kind of supernatural power by one person, then a set of moral values that guide action by another. It all depends on the simple fact of from what viewpoint you are looking at religion from. Durkheim defines religion as shared beliefs and practices that unites communities and creates social solidarity. Durkheim studied Australian Aborigines. The Aborigines each had a totem, be it a plant, animal or object. This totem was a symbol of both their God and their clan. In other words they were worshipping their God on a conscious level and themselves on a sub-conscious one. What he’s trying to say is that it’s not a belief in supernatural powers, but a certain admiration and respect for what that group of people considers sacred, which could be anything. This view has been criticised for being too broad, allowing anything to be sacred, eg, football. Football has become what you could call a ‘national religion’ in the UK. Millions of fans follow the game, attending every game as if it were some sort of religious ritual. These people might miss Church every Sunday but make sure they attend every match their team plays without fail. The stadium has become their Church where they stand in worship of their ‘Gods’. However even the sacred may lose it’s sacred status. Hamilton found that in Italy people directed their prayers at statues of the saints, if the people had been praying for pro-longed periods of time without having their prayers answered the statues were tipped on their heads and whipped. The same goes for football, if a player scores a winning goal he is considered a God, if he misses a winning shot then he is immediately shot down. This in effect shows that people tailor their ‘religion’ to suit their needs, showing respect

More about Reasons Why Sociologists Disagree on Religion

Open Document