Sociological Theories and Religion
The three sociological theories differ greatly in regards to the social institution of religion. Each theory describes a different way in which religion functions is society. This paper will describe and define each of the sociological theories in detail; as well it will demonstrate the impact of each theory on the institution itself, and the individuals that comprise the total of the institution.
The Institution of Religion has been part of human society and culture since the beginning of time, and has had profound affect on many things ranging from politics, economics, and even war. But what exactly is religion and how is it defined?
There are varying definitions of religion that range from the basic, to the complex. A simple definition of religion may be described as an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices. J. Milton Yinger describes religion from a more complex approach; as "a system of beliefs and practices by which a group of people struggle with the ultimate problems of human life - problems relating to human mortality, suffering, and injustice; and the need to infuse human life with meaning, and intellectual coherence, and the crucial importance of upholding moral precepts and patterns of social life" (Bouma 2001 p.4).
While the definitions may seem drastically different, they actually seem to compliment each other and if combined they provide even a better understanding of what religion is, or may represent to some groups. Sociological theorists also have differing views about how religion serves society.
The Functionalist Perspective is commonly defined as a sociological approach that emphasizes the way in which the parts of society are structured to maintain stability. If broken down further in regards to religion, one can attempt to define how religion adds to the stability of a society or...