SOC001 Exam 3 Notes 4/7/10 Sociology of Religion Religion in the United States Are we losing our religion? NO! 95% of Americans believe in God 87% of Soc001 students believe in a Supreme Being 90% of Americans pray 77% of Soc001 students pray Only a small minority regularly attend religious services 75% of Soc001 students attend religious services (includes every other week, once a month) 15% of Soc001 students attend weekly Most attend church for social rather than religious reasons Most Soc001 students receive personal benefits from attending ? reflection, connecting with religious community, reminder of values Gallup Poll 2007 ? U.S. Religious Behavior How important is religion in your life? Very ? 56% (Soc001 ? 22%) Fairly ? 26% (48%) Not very ? 17% (30%) U.S. Religious Preference Christian - 81% (75%) Jewish - 2% (7%) Other - 6% (9%) None - 11% (9%) U.S. Church Attendance Once a week - 32% (15%) Almost every week - 12% Once a month ? 12% Seldom ? 27% Never - 17% Three Components of Religion Meaning system ? a faith or world-view, provides a sense of meaning and purpose in life Belonging system ? relationships and friendship networks Structural system ? roles, statuses, and organizational practices Meaning System Ideas and symbols of religion Provides a ?big picture? explanation of events Varies with the needs of each culture Ex. Death afterlife Ex. Increase fertility dances/goddesses (more primitive cultures) Q: What are the ideas and symbols of your particular religion and what are the purposes? Christian ? symbol: cross stands for redemption or sacrifice, Bible is sacred and contains history Belonging System Religion provides friendship networks Encourage endogamy (in-group marriage) Ex. Summer camps, religious studies Q: How does your religion foster belonging? Sunday school, Bible school, volunteer groups Structural System Religious authorities interpret faith (use meaning and belonging) Ex. Catholic ? Pope is the ultimate religious authority Creates common understanding and meaning Religions must find a way of raising funds, ensuring group coordination, etc? Religions must become institutionalized to survive long-term How do we become religious? Religion is mostly learned through family socialization Formal means ? within a temple, church, or mosque Informal means ? by observing others practice their religions Individuals usually change religions (or churches) first on the belonging level ? meaning and structural levels follow Q: How did you ?learn? to be religious?
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