The Functional Approach By Milton Yinger Essay

The Functional Approach By Milton Yinger Essay

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Chapter 1 B: One of the approaches that define religion to me is the Functional Approach by Milton Yinger. He focused on what “religion does” (Roberts and Yamane 2012:6). In other words, how do people function based on their faith or religion. This approach is how people in society function based on how religion affects them. The functional definition is more inclusive because sociologist who uses this approach look at all forms of religion or faith-based practices that people have, new and old. What I liked most from this definition of religion is that a person can have faith in sacred things (God, gods, goodness) or the secular (science and technology), or both. This approach helps people in society understand the life they live in and how to handle what life throws at them and how they handle certain situations.
There is criticism of the religion definition. An example of that is the substantive definition. This definition of religion deals with the “substance or essence of religion” (Roberts and Yamane 2012: 4). Emile Durkheim captured the essence of religion. He knew the difference between sacred and profane. He said religion is a “communal activity” (Roberts and Yamane 2012:4). It takes like-minded people who are on the same page with their religion. To be on the same page means to be similar in thinking and actions. The people of the same religion know what is good versus what is evil, they also believe in the same things as well. From this religion is seen as a cult. A person cannot deviant from what the church has put in place, or we may become ostracized.
The criticisms of the substantive definition of religion are that it is “too narrow, too tradition-bound,” and there is no room for other religions” (Roberts and Yam...


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... example of a myth is the story of Boogie man. This story has been passed down through many generations, and it is people in society that tells others that this story is only not real. This story was made up to keep children in line to follow the norms of society that is inscribed for a child. Rather our myths and rituals are perceived as real or not is based on how society sees it.
From the lecture notes, symbols in religion provide intellectual ordering and cognitive behavior. Religion also provides a foundation for social values and beliefs. Society creates the meaning and use of symbols. Symbols are a way people communicate. Religion is such an important issue because it is what drive society on so many different levels. A religion identities people to a certain group. Religion gives and guides people beliefs, behaviors, actions, values, and perception of life.

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