SECULARIZATION TRIUMPHANT The classical tradition in sociology of religion CLASSICAL TRADITION IN SOC.OF REL. Auguste Comte Karl Marx Emile Durkheim Max Weber Reminder: Common theme among these sociologists: Social progress in the form of social evolution; from primitive/ religious (traditional) to advanced/ modern (rational). This is irreversible and universal. Sociology of religion entwined with social theory from its beginning. Sociology even began in a controversy over religion. Initially Sociology and its founders were mainly interested in “what is the basis of social order” and what are the processes of change?” This was quite a natural outcome of the era. The classical theorists lived in an age of radical transformation from traditional societies to modern/ capitalist-industrial society. A historically significant step in this transitional process was the 1789 French Revolution (preceding that: reform and renaissance (the conquer of Constantinople by the Turks), geographical discoveries and technical developments in the West and the industrial revolution in England) The French revolution abolished the privileges of the aristocracy and gave power to bureaucrats and the bourgeoisie. Along with that intellectuals criticized religion to be superstitious and suggested the supremacy of rationality. This was easy to point out considering that religious authority was very much intertwined with aristocratic authority and traditional power dynamics Throughout this transition European societies were witnessing social and economic problems: proleterianization, landlessness, poverty, class conflict, rapid urbanization, ghetto structuration, lower and upper culture conflict, orderless-ness: ANOMIE (de-regulation). As a response to social/economic crises, sociology appeared as a discipline aiming to formulate a program/ strategies to deal with the crises created by the transition. They started asking questions like “what is the basis of social order” and what are the processes of change?” Religion appeared as a major theme in answering these questions. Conservatives argued that religion was the answer. Religious orthodoxy was necessary to protect the social order and to create a strong state Yet other formulations that saw religion not as a solution but as an obstacle and a reason for social crises took the upper hand AUGUSTE COMTE: AN APPROPRIATE RELIGION FOR MODERN SOCIETY A modern substitute for Christianity was put forward by Auguste Comte, called, “positivistic philosophy” Comte proposed that societies go through 3 stages in an evolutionary way (law of three stages) Theological stage: gods, spirits, supernatural beings…fetishism, polytheism, monotheistism Metaphysical stage: transitional, law and churchmen Positive/ Industrial stage: explanations are liberated from religion and are based on science. Does not focus on unanswerable questions (no religious baggage). Society is ruled by experts, with sociologists being the high-priests and sociology as the queen of all sciences. There is no forth stage and the process is irreversible. The law of three stages also applies to sciences and individuals … He argues that religion distracts concentration away from this-worldly issues to other-wordly; yet religion has a function as a social power that the individuals and the societies need. However, this religion should be a positive religion whereby priests are replaced with sociologists (scientists) and irrational religions is replaced with collectivism and humanity. Comte provided a general approach for scholars succeeded him and they systematized and elaborated his ideas. The article by Collins group these scholars into three: A- The Reductionist Tradition: Marx, Freud B- Religion as a social order: Durkheim C-religions as organization: Weber THE REDUCTIONIST TRADITION: KARL MARX, FREUD Karl Marx: Religion is an opium??? Capitalists societies are based on the conflict between the Laboring classes and the property owners. The capitalists (owners) dominate the lower classes and exploit their labor The domination is negotiated by the dominant ideology which permeate society’s consciousness and protect the interests of the capitalists Religion is the main part of this dominant ideology, it is false consciousness because it serves the capitalists in preventing the labor from looking for its own rights and revolt. Religion distracts labor from effective political action MARX Primitive Socialist : No state, no class, no religion, No false consciousness Capitalist Religion as an oppressive tool for class domination CRITICISMS AGAINST KARL MARX 1) There are historical examples whereby religion was used as vehicle for revolts. What does that show us? This means that religion does not only serve for subordination of the powerless but also a tool to protest against suppresser For example, many independent movements in the previously colonized Middle East mobilized their populations under the name of religion. 1962: Algerian independency movements against the French, Islam was used as a cement to bind and mobilize the populations In china religion mobilized people to protest against the government… 2) Dominant ideology has less effect on the lower classes but more on the dominant classes. In medieval Europe it was the aristocrats and landowner who were more devoted to the church and to the priests. The masses generally associated with a wider range of belief from cynicism to paganism, mysticism, and so on. It was only by creation of national cultures and of nation-states whereby the masses were really integrated into the church system. In that sense, 19th and 20th century were more religious than medieval Europe. (remember previous chapters, religion as culture and religion as choice) FREUD The human self is composed of: ID: lust and pleasure EGO: rational self SUPER EGO: society and rules Super ego develops in childhood and it represent the father (authority and punishment), self-control. The super-ego is the source of religion and the world-father becomes the heavenly-father, God. The aim should be expanding the EGO, protecting the self from lust and also from repression and therefore from religion. Religion should be confined for developmental stages (childhood) and in an adults life it should not have a part to play . If it does This can treated by obsessional neurosis. RELIGION AS SOCIAL ORDER/ SOCIAL MORALITY Durkheim: God Represents Society Religion as social construction of solidarity, symbols and morality. (applies to all societies and religions) Differing from previous scholars, who were mainly interested in studying the evolution of religion/ history of religions, he proposed that we should examine the functions of religion. Why? Because studies that focus on history of religion tends to assume that religion is a characteristic of the primitive men who cannot explain many physical phenomena due to low levels of technological-scientific development (for example a primitive clan’s to thunderstorms might be “Gods are mad at us”. Yet if this was so, how did religion survive till the modern times? ) To understand the function of religion, Durkheim studied “elementary forms” of religion. He argued these were to be found in the simplest existing society (no state, no class, no intellectuals).In such societies he believed religion would be in the purist form and therefore the resulting analysis would be universally applicable. He studied central Australian Aborigines clans. He asked “what are the commonalities among religions”: Not the content nor the specific forms of god and spirits: animistic spirits, polytheism, monotheism, other spiritual worlds…But it is the division between sacred and ordinary. Therefore, religion can be defined as actions towards sacred objects. Actions are rituals and rites and sacred objects can be anything from holy books, to totems, to scared places, songs, dances and so on..Can be both positive and negative: good gods and evil gods In aboriginal clans, he observed that the sacred was central to the societal living. Each clan had a totem (an animal –such as red kangaroos) and the emblem was treated with more respected than the actual animal itself. This shows the symbolic nature of the totem. The symbolic totem is the centre of ceremonies TOTEM AND SOCIETY The totem provides all of the structure and the rules of conduct, therefore it makes up the social order. First, the clans call themselves with the name of their totem, such as “we are red kangaroos”. Totem gives an identity to the clan and it sets moral behavior among the members of the clan. You cannot kill or eat the totem. The underlying idea is you cannot kill your kin. However, this does not apply to relations with the other clans. “Other clans can kill a red kangaroo as well as they can kill one of us” HUMANS HAVE BOUNDS WITH THEIR TOTEMS AND THUS WITH EACH OTHER The totem then provides a sense of belonging or a sense of us versus other. This is particularly important in primitive societies where there is no special forces for social security (such as the police and judiciary) So, justice and judiciary are indeed religious prescriptions Punishments are carried by the community and the biggest crime is to violate the rituals or the totem as doing so means violating the social unity and solidarity. Why is the religious realm so strong and why does it rule over society? GOD REPRESENTS SOCIETY (sacred realm is actually the group’s consciousness of social membership) He offers a series of parallels between god and Society: Society is prior to the individual –God: eternity Society outlasts the individual —God: eternity, transcendence Society is more powerful than the individual —God: omnipotence Society creates people (one is born from other people and this goes as an endless chain)—God: creation Society establishes moral force over the individual God:—moral power Society also provides inspiration —God: inspiration and aid What is the evidence: How does he prove that the society is indeed god??? Religious feeling is a variable which correlates with the strength of the consciousness of the society. Lets say group gathering due to food abundance, excitement and excitement culminates and turns into rituals ceremonies and rituals are essential for religion as they remind the members of their sense of belonging and the totem. “If you don’t take part in the festive for along time your faith would fade away” Strict cults: rituals are practiced everyday or every week. RITUAL PARTICIPATION CREATES BELIEF: it is not that higher levels of attendance signifies higher religiosity but higher religiosity is achieved through higher attendance IF YOU DON’T TAKE PART IN FESTIVE/ RITUALS FOR ALONG TIME YOUR FAITH WOULD FADE AWAY” Do you agree or disagree? Why? What about Church attendance? What about 5-time prayer in Islam? (Individual versus community-based rituals… is this a difference lets say between Islamic theology and Christianity?) The symbol/ totem also reminds the times of excitement and gatherings and therefore makes the feeling of collectivism (being a society) enduring Durkheim also argued that the type of God or religious symbol corresponds to the type of social structure. Historically all societies move from ‘mechanical solidarity” to organic solidarity. The former is societies with low level labor division and the latter is the societies with advanced labor division. DIFFERENCES IN COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS ARE EXPRESSED IN RELIGIOUS SYMBOLISM Mechanical Small community Tightly bounded to outsiders Few distinctive roles Moral code/ law is punitive and Repressive-violent (biggest crime is against. Criminal law the rituals/ totems: symbolic violations) A strong collective consciousness Gods and spirits are arbitrary Religious symbols are particularities (totems) Symbols are treated literally Local Organic Complex and advanced societies Moral order/ law is rehabilitative . Civic law is larger than criminal law Symbolic violations are downplayed Many roles, networks are diffuse A weaker collective consciousness God is more forgiving God’ power expands God is abstract and religious symbols are not treated literally but reflexive Universal: collective consciousness becomes more generalized and encompasses many differences among social roles MODERN GOD As social connections spread out to encompass a sense of a community of human interaction encompassing the entire world religious symbolism develops into a conception of god o spiritual entity which encompasses all. Primitive: animism Aristocracy: high gods (literally based on sky) Coalitions among aristocrats: polytheism Centralized empires: monolithic, Islam, Judaism, Christianity In sum, Durkheim interpreted religion as a function of social consciousness and social solidarity. It keeps the society together CRITICISMS AGAINST DURKHEIM Not everyone is an advocate of rehabilitative punishment. (death penalty and other punitive law) In our contemporary times, within a single nation-state, it is possible to find mechanical solidarity. Not everyone is involved in cosmopolitan and long-distance networks. There might be conflicts within the contemporary society between the two moral orders (liberals versus conservatives??) 3) He ignores the dysfunctional aspect of religion. Religion (going back to Marx) can be a tool for repression: The colonizers and the colonized. The Europeans thought Christianity was superior to the African spirit-religions. This was used along with other things as a legitimizing force for colonization. Religion also can be a vehicle against social change or a source for violence. fundamentalism… Even at the individual basis, religion does not only provide comfort/ happiness but it also can cause negative impacts. The movie RAPTURE What about the concept of Faith? And Reincarnation. How do these concepts facilitate religion as a vehicle to resist against change or stimulate change? Poverty, disability, divorce, bad events: all faith??? remember previous chapters..Durkheim argues that sacred is created. Then what is the difference between sacredness of the holy-books and the national flag? As his studies was based on aborigines when his ideas are applied to monolithic religions we are unable to capture the concepts of divine and higher power. The holy books are sacred because they are the words of the God while the flag is sacred because it represents the national unity and proud. Yet one is human-made and the other (allegedly) is not.