theories of the origin of religion
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. He described it as mysterium tremendum (terrifying mystery) and mysterium fascinans (awe inspiring, fascinating mystery). He asserted that according to them magic worked through laws. He asserted that Confucianism opposition against both extravagance and thrift made it unlikely that capitalism could have originated in China. Somewhat differing from Marx, Weber dealt with status groups, not with class. He asserted that magic relied on an uncritical belief of primitive people in contact and imitation. Durkheim's proposed method for progress and refinement is first to carefully study religion in its simplest form in one contemporary society and then the same in another society and compare the religions then and only between societies that are the same. , He was heavily critical about earlier theorists of primitive religion with the exception of Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, asserting that they made statements about primitive people without having enough inside knowledge to make more than a guess. He defined religion as, With symbols Geertz meant a carrier that embodies a conception, because he saw religion and culture as systems of communication.. This quiz and corresponding worksheet will gauge your knowledge of the theories on religion's origin. New religions best spread through pre-existing friendship networks. , Scientific theories, inferred and tested by the comparative method, emerged after data from tribes and peoples all over the world became available in the 18th and 19th centuries. Belief in spirits grew out of attempts to explain life and death. Extract. Herodotus (484 – 425 BCE) saw the gods of Greece as the same as the gods of Egypt.  The view of a uniform progression in folkways is criticized as unverifiable, as the writer Andrew Lang (1844–1912) and E. E. Evans-Pritchard assert. In his 1920 treatment of the religion in China he saw Confucianism as helping a certain status group, i.e. When this happens, cults tend to lose or de-emphasise many of their more radical beliefs, and become more open to the surrounding society; they then become denominations.  According to Durkheim, the analysis of this simple form of religion could provide the building blocks for more complex religions. The anthropologist Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard (1902–1973) did extensive ethnographic studies among the Azande and Nuer peoples who were considered "primitive" by society and earlier scholars. Answer: From the earliest times, humans have looked around and above them and wondered about the world, the universe, and the meaning of life. Examples of this include the counterculture movement in America: the early counterculture movement was intent on changing society and removing its injustice and boredom; but as members of the movement proved unable to achieve these goals they turned to Eastern and new religions as compensators. Converts who are marginal with few friends are easy to convert, but having few friends to convert they cannot add much to the further growth of the organization.  Differing from Tylor and Frazer, he saw magic not as religious, but as an individual instrument to achieve something.  The view of monotheism as more evolved than polytheism represents a mere preconception, they assert. He deemed it a contingent part of human culture, that would have disappeared after the abolition of class society. In the olden days, people valued religion and would follow whatever guidance religion provided and that is how it gained so much power even in economic theories.  Max Müller (1823-1900) has the reputation of having founded the scientific study of religion; he advocated a comparative method that developed into comparative religion. These concept include. In the book Weber wrote that modern capitalism spread quickly partially due to the Protestant worldly ascetic morale. The Azande's faith in witchcraft and oracles was quite logical and consistent once some fundamental tenets were accepted. He avoided the subjective and vague concept of group attitude as used by Ruth Benedict by using the analysis of society as proposed by Talcott Parsons who in turn had adapted it from Max Weber. The best candidates for religious conversion are those who are members of or have been associated with religious groups (thereby showing an interest or openness to religion), yet exist on the fringe of these groups, without strong social ties to prevent them from joining a new group. However, some support that supposed approach as worthwhile, among others the anthropologist Robin Horton. Byproduct theories view religion as a spandrel. The Inside Perspective versus the Outside Perspective, 4. It offers an overview of topics, questions, and context, rather than a coherent theory. Religion reinforces prevailing social and economic arrangements by both consoling the oppressed and j… The Nuer had had an abstract monotheistic faith, somewhat similar to Christianity and Judaism, though it included lesser spirits. The theologian Rudolf Otto (1869–1937) focused on religious experience, more specifically moments that he called numinous which means "Wholly Other". What Is Religion?  Compensators are a body of language and practices that compensate for some physical lack or frustrated goal. Like Frazer and Tylor he has also been accused of out-of-context comparisons of religious beliefs of very different societies and cultures. , He asserted that these experiences arise from a special, non-rational faculty of the human mind, largely unrelated to other faculties, so religion cannot be reduced to culture or society. For example, precipitation may be invoked by the primitive man by sprinkling water on the ground. This method left them open to criticism for lack of universality, which many freely admitted. , Durkheim's approach gave rise to functionalist school in sociology and anthropology Functionalism is a sociological paradigm that originally attempted to explain social institutions as collective means to fill individual biological needs, focusing on the ways in which social institutions fill social needs, especially social stability. Thus because Durkheim viewed society as an "organismic analogy of the body, wherein all the parts work together to maintain the equilibrium of the whole, religion was understood to be the glue that held society together.".. Converts with a large social network are harder to convert, since they tend to have more invested in mainstream society; but once converted they yield many new followers through their friendship network.
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