1,Simple supernaturalism is a rather vague belief in a "general" supernatural force that influences the natural world.

The belief in "luck".

2. Animism is a religious belief in functioning spirits that operate in the natural world an cause things to happen or, in some instances, not to happen.

3.Theism is a religious belief system that directs its principle belief towards a supreme being or beings.

4.Transcendent idealism is a religious belief system that focuses upon ideas as opposed to beings such as spirits or gods.

1. Belief Commonly religious beliefs include, belief in a deity or deities, miracles, spirits, and life after death.

2. Symbols are things that stand for or represent something else. Within Christian the crucifix has become the dominant symbol.

3. Rituals In contemporary Christianity common rituals would be baptisms, weddings, funerals etc.

1. Providing solutions for unexplained natural, phenomena.

2. Supplying a means for controlling the natural world.

3. Religion tends to support the normative structure of the society.

4. Furnishing a psychological diversion from unwanted life situations.

5. Sustaining the existing class structure.

6. Religion serves as an instrument of socialization.

7. Religion suppports other social institutions.

8. Religin may both promote and retard social change.

9. Religion may both reduce and encourage conflict in groups.

1, An Ecclesia In general, an ecclesia becomes the established religion of the society. The ecclesia develops a formal hierarchy with an extensive bureaucracy and tends to exert influence through society especially the goverment. The Roman Catholic church in Europe during the Middle Ages providea an example of an Ecclesia.

2. A Denomination is a religious organizaton that has accepted the existence and validity of other religious organizations. In the contemporary United States the larger religious groups such as the; Catholics, Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Lutherans would constitute examples of denominations.

3. A Sect is a religious group which tends to reject the secular aspects of life and supports a ridged interpretation of creed. Sects frequently view themselves as reviving the true belief which has been adulterated by the secularizaton of the mainstream religion.

4. A Cult is a loosely structured religious group which tends to be independent of the established religious traditions of the society. Cults tend to be open to anyone wishing to join but, because of their departure from esta, tend to have large segments of the population joining them. In the contemporary United States the Hare Krishna and the Church of Scientology woul

1. Viewed religion as a reflection of society.

2. Religion functioned to bring about social cohesion (holding the group together) (folk society)

3. Religious beliefs and rituals function to restrain deviant behavior and bring about conformity to existing normative structure (heaven = rreward) (hell = punishment)

4. Religion functions to provide a vehicle through which cultural traditions and values are transmitted from generation to gereration (religious beliefs make cultural values sacred)

1. Viewed religion as a reflection of society.

2. Marx felt that primitive religion arose from the ignorance of preliterate peoples of natural processes.

3. In complex societies the dominant ideas would tend to legitimize the interests of the ruling class. (The Divine Right of Kings).

4. Marx felt religion was used to exploit the masses of people

5. Marx said: " Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion and the illusory happiness of men is a demand for thei real happiness."

1. Saw a strong connection between religious values and economic value.

2. Weber differed from Marx and Durkheim in that he thought that religious values tend to influence and shape the social structure rather than reflect it.

3. Weber maintained that the value system of Protestantism formed the framework upon which capitalism was developed.

4. "The Protestant Ethnic"- work hard, save money, get ahead; "Righteous and good Christians live frugally."

Some Web sites to visit:

Atheist Express

The Bible Gateway

Bhuddist Studies

Catholic Women's Ordination

Christian Coalition Interactive

The eagle and the cross

Cults Awareness & Information Centre - Australia


Institute for First Amendment Studies

International Union of Gospel Missions

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