1. Marxist views strongly influenced individuals' comprehension and conclusions about society, among others the anthropological school of cultural materialism. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) saw religion as an illusion, a belief that people very much wanted to be true. What is Religious Studies and Religion, 2. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2007, cultures and religions tend to grow more sophisticated, magic relied on an uncritical belief of primitive people in contact and imitation, the method of historians studying history, which has been criticized as unscientific, functionalist school in sociology and anthropology, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism, his 1920 treatment of the religion in China, Sociological classifications of religious movements § The church-sect typology, Terror management theory#TMT and religion, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, "Clifford Geertz, Cultural Anthropologist, Is Dead at 80", "Reading 'Opium of the People': Expression, Protest and the Dialectics of Religion", "Elementary Forms of the Metaphorical Life: Tropes at Work in Durkheim's Theory of the Religious", Peddlers and Princes: Social Development and Economic Change in Two Indonesian Towns, http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/coverpage.htm, Relationship between religion and science, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Theories_about_religions&oldid=984997694, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia introduction cleanup from January 2017, Articles covered by WikiProject Wikify from January 2017, All articles covered by WikiProject Wikify, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from April 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2015, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Social relational theories of religion that focus on the, "insider" versus "outsider" perspectives (roughly corresponding to, This page was last edited on 23 October 2020, at 10:19. Some religions are better described by one model than another, though all apply to differing degrees to all religions. Weber acknowledged that religion had a strong social component, but diverged from Durkheim by arguing, for example in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that religion can be a force of change in society.  They see religions as systems of "compensators", and view human beings as "rational actors, making choices that she or he thinks best, calculating costs and benefits".  Although Freud's attempt to explain the historical origins of religions have not been accepted, his generalized view that all religions originate from unfulfilled psychological needs is still seen as offering a credible explanation in some cases.. Rational arguments to a person holding a religious conviction will not change the neurotic response of a person. With totemism he meant that each of the many clans had a different object, plant, or animal that they held sacred and that symbolizes the clan. Extract. The anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917) defined religion as belief in spiritual beings and stated that this belief originated as explanations of natural phenomena. He has been criticized for vagueness in defining his key concepts. This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. , The rational choice theory has been applied to religions, among others by the sociologists Rodney Stark (1934 – ) and William Sims Bainbridge (1940 – ). The dichotomy between the two classifications is not bridgeable, even though they have the same methods, because each excludes the data of the other. Somewhat differing from Marx, Weber dealt with status groups, not with class. Attempts to justify primary forms of religion were motivated by the ambition to explain the nature of religion in pursuance of a primordial form.4.2. Like Otto, he saw religion as something special and autonomous, that cannot be reduced to the social, economical or psychological alone. Questions about the origin of religion do not only deal with the origin of specific religions, but also and above all with the origin of religion overall. 1.1 What Do Religious Studies Deal With? Religion reinforces prevailing social and economic arrangements by both consoling the oppressed and j… Evolutionary theories view religion as either an adaptation or a byproduct. , 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. The comments below about cult formation apply equally well to sect formation. This textbook offers a brief overview of the basic approaches to the scientific scrutiny of religion. Myths and deities to explain natural phenomena originated by analogy and an extension of these explanations. Durkheim held the view that the function of religion is group cohesion often performed by collectively attended rituals. Geertz saw religion as one of the cultural systems of a society. He advocated what he called thick descriptions to interpret symbols by observing them in use, and for this work, he was known as a founder of symbolic anthropology. He saw religion as emerging from these experiences. The Nuer had had an abstract monotheistic faith, somewhat similar to Christianity and Judaism, though it included lesser spirits. The new religious beliefs are compensators for the failure to achieve the original goals. Another criticism supposes that Tylor and Frazer were individualists (unscientific). Though he used more or less the same methodology as Evans-Pritchard, he did not share Evans-Pritchard's hope that a theory of religion could ever be found. As children are born into the cult or sect, members begin to demand a more stable life. This quiz and corresponding worksheet will gauge your knowledge of the theories on religion's origin. Eliade's methodology was studying comparative religion of various cultures and societies more or less regardless of other aspects of these societies, often relying on second hand reports. The theories could be updated, however, by considering new reports, which Robert Ranulph Marett (1866-1943) did for Tylor's theory of the evolution of religion. He described it as mysterium tremendum (terrifying mystery) and mysterium fascinans (awe inspiring, fascinating mystery). Currency depends on your shipping address.  The main reasoning behind this theory is that the compensation is what controls the choice, or in other words the choices which the "rational actors" make are "rational in the sense that they are centered on the satisfaction of wants".. 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.  Subsequently, Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) and others questioned the validity of abstracting a general theory of all religions. This incident was subconsciously remembered in human societies. 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. It offers an overview of topics, questions, and context, rather than a coherent theory. Field workers deliberately sent out by universities and other institutions to collect specific cultural data made available a much greater database than random reports.