Sociology of Religion

Sociology of Religion

  • Neal McGregor added an answer:
    Is anyone researching minority religions eg Yazidis, Zorastrians?

    I'm wondering what research is out there - as I am intending to undertake a mini thesis

    Neal McGregor · DeVry University

    Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago.
    BBC - Religion: Zoroastrianism
    www.bbc.co.uk/religion/.../zoroastrian/British Broadcasting Corporation

  • Thomas A Brady added an answer:
    Did any sixteenth-century Jesuits justify the papal deposing power on the contractual origin of monarchy in the state of nature?

    Interested in the influence exerted by Catholic resistance theory, especially the Thomist thought of Suárez, Vitoria and Mariana, on English Parliamentarians, 1642-43.

  • Louis Brassard added an answer:
    Was twentieth century science atheistic?
    As from 1967, at the time when I was being taught Special Relativity, I got the impression, indicated by my physic's professor, that I should accept atheism as a pillar of modern science. Was that impression correct? Cantor's Universe, that I teach, allows in principle a theistic view. Now, I wonder: What is the contemporary opinion on this subject? I am interested to hear some opinions. What is yours? Do you practice science from an atheistic point of view?

    Dear Jose,

    I had perceived arrogance where you perceived humility.  Maybe it is you that is right.

  • Aysha Bey added an answer:
    How would you suggest Muslims overcome any of the attrocities that have befallen them as a result of western media and orientalism?
    Postgrad thesis title for additional context:

    Old Habits Die Hard: A Critical Analysis of the Orientalist Mediatization of ‘Islamic Extremism’ in the Occident.
    Aysha Bey · University of Alabama at Birmingham

    .This is a fantastic question and I'd love to read your dissertation when completed. There are so many problems in trying to overcome these "atrocities" (the current Islamic terrorism media onslaught) is that the moderate Muslims have little chance to speak in the Middle East itself.  Where turbulence of government, education, and social life is the norm, there is nothing but threat for those moderate Muslims who want to preach the word of the Prophet, not the perverted words of some power-hungry terrorist leader (I will not grant Muslim or Islam to these people).  But although Islam has been growing fast in the West, it faces tremendous problems here in lack of support within the educational and governmental systems.  And as Reem has pointed out, there are strides being made to present a "normal" Muslim to the American public. 

    The "secret" to all this is to get more Muslims and especially women into the social sciences, journalism, education in American institutions.  And my experience in working with immigrant parents whose children are first-generation Americans has shown that these parents cling to their cultural values about education. For instance, most of the Egyptians I knew decided their children would be engineers or doctors; only if they had lower grades like "B" or God forbid, something lower would they possibly be allowed to study education.  One young woman wanted to study journalism and write for the media; her parents flatly refused to help her or support her unless she decided on another major.  Women in hijab could help to dispel so many crazy myths about "female submission" but again the opposition by the leaders (always men) of the Muslim American communities remains strong. (I am not speaking here of the Muslim families from Pakistan/India who seem to educate their daughters into quite advanced degrees). 

    But in the U.S. (and in Europe for the most part), we do not have enough fluent Arabic speaking Muslim imams and other leaders who win respect in the Middle East. And we have the freedom to speak out and to assert what Islam really is, not what these perverted versions are.  Our cultures, norms, values are so radically different that synthesizing American democratic principles with Islamic norms and values is terribly difficult.

    But nearly everyone has pointed out one vital truth--we need to educate Muslim youth to understand, to know their faith, not just memorize Qur'an without understanding its deeper implications.  When I was teaching in a large Muslim American school, I used to recite hadith to the children frequently, especially to the boys who often looked down on tasks like helping to clean up the room. Thee is the wonderful little story about the Prophet's always rolling up his sleeping mat and cleaning his area before he went out.  Or reciting hadith to some other leaders who tried to vote women out of the mosque completely.  If we read and discuss the primary sources of Islam--the Quran, Hadith , the schools of law, we can teach what the greatest scholars have taught.  There were four schools of law but nobody saw fit to kill the person who disagreed with him.  And nobody put himself in position to declare himself "speaking for God or the Prophet" (as so many terrorists claim to do in making fatwahs and slaughtering in the name of Islam). The early leaders did not seek wealth and fame; they sought the good of the ummah.  All of that is being lost in the contemporary world that is growing increasingly divided, insane with power, and completely oblivious to the beauty inherent in Islam.

    My sheikh used to tell me I expected too much of Muslims (I am a convert from just about every denomination of Christian faith there is).  I studied for years and was awed by the rationality and simplicity of what I read.  For the first few years I could not understand why people in possession of such texts would fight among themselves.  That was a long time ago--and now there is nothing but fighting and death.  Education that brings respect for diversity has always been the answer to most problems--I have been an educator and professor for nearly 33 years now.  I at times still see the good power of education when I teach World Literature and we read translations of passages of the Qur'an along with some of the Arabic histories of the Crusades, and many of the passages about Adam, Eve, creation, the prophets, Noah, etc.  Students are shocked to find out that Muslims have more stories about Jesus than Christianity does; or that we have the same prophets (with a few exceptions; that more than 95% of Muslims do not support any form of terrorism (we watch films and documentaries about terrorism from the Middle East) and we discuss where these events begin.  What are the causes of these horrendous events?  Nothing is created from a vacuum; there is always a reason--good or bad--or just plain stupid, in some cases. But who is going to educate these children from the American and Muslim perspectives?  I took a lot of flak when I tried to teach American perspectives and show young Muslim teens how to make dawah to American Christians, how to explain hijab, and so on.  The Christian kids in public schools were far more willing to listen and try to understand their Muslim students than the Muslim teachers were willing to hear anything good about America. When I complained that their views of America always took in my grandparents and family, none of whom are Muslims, that I found their comments offensive.  Their response, "But we don't mean you, Sister."  Truly, that didn't help much.  Education needs to be directed to adults as well as children.  American Muslims need to start to go public with more than the platitude, "Islam means peace or submission to the will of God."  That does nothing to help Americans accept a religion they see as killing Christians and anybody non-Muslim. 

    If God gives us a few generations or more, perhaps we can figure this whole thing out, but I've never been known for patience.

    Aysha Bey

    University of Alabama/Birmingham

  • Jinty Rajkhowa added an answer:
    What is the difference between the religious conversion cases of the caste groups and the tribal groups?

    The debates over religious conversion cases have always justified that the cases of caste conversion are different from tribal conversion why is it so? 

    Jinty Rajkhowa · Tezpur University

    thank you so much for the response. your response indeed enlightened me to great extend

  • Mary V. Donohue added an answer:
    I am looking for scales measuring ingroup bias and one measuring 'radicalization'. Can anyone help?

    I am writing my bachelor's thesis at the moment, the topic is: globalization as a social identity threat. I want to look at this topic from the perspective of religious and cultural groups, how they see globalization as a stressor and how they react to it. To measure my outcome variables I am looking for a scale to asses ingroup bias and one to assess 'radicalization' (e.g., muslims who favor fundamentalism after the manipulation).

    Mary V. Donohue · New York University

    You could use the Social Profile* to determine if there are two sub-groups in your larger group. This could be used for discussion with the group as to whether the sub-groups are undermining the larger group, or are OK, or add to the group's richness.

    *[AOTA Press. com and www.Social-Profile.com.]

  • Francesco Sacchetti added an answer:
    Does anyone have information about contemporary Muslim cemeteries in Europe?
    I've started to investigate rites, tradition, law, permission, about Muslim burial in contemporary Italy. I'm starting from an explorative sociological point of view. I'd like to compare my ongoing findings to European situations. Bibliography and articles suggestions are welcome.
    Francesco Sacchetti · Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo"
    Dear Rainer,
    thanks for this update! I find It very interesting specially for some similarity with my work on the same topic in Italy.
  • Sue Hall added an answer:
    Where can I find research about Jehovah's Witnesses, clergy penitent privilege and child abuse?
    My research is about child abuse and clergy penitent privilege. Police response, responsibility and survivor recovery.
    Sue Hall · The University of Warwick
    Thank you!
  • David E. Mutchler added an answer:
    Does anyone has experience with sociology of monasticism and monasteries?
    In 2014 I start a project (funded by National Science Center, Poland) on monasteries in selected local community in Poland. To my mind, it may provide interesting findings on religion and spirituality in Poland which topics are generally studied from Christian and Church points of view. I am looking for publications on monasteries today and researchers studying similar issues. On my RG profil you might find two articles related to the topic:
    1/ Study of the heritage of dissolved monasteries in local collective memories
    2/ The monastic legacy in the view of Michel Foucault’s work

    Below please find a summary:
    The past 200 years have witnessed abrupt shifts in the role and function of monasteries in the Polish territories, both in a general perspective and in reference to particular local communities. On the one hand, these changes are connected with broader civilization tendencies such as secularization, individualization and consumption processes. On the other hand, what must be pointed out are the so-called waves of suppressions, which at the end of the 18th and throughout almost the entire 19th century led to the decline of a vast majority of monasteries.

    The general aim of the project is to scrutinize an unexplored - within both sociology and cultural studies - issue of contemporary meanings and functions of monastic entities in selected local communities in West Pomeranian Viovodeship. I introduce a term 'monastic entity' to encapsulate very different roles that today perform both active and dissolved monasteries, and to transcend a definition - and, hence, a research scope - of a monastery as a house for persons under religious vows. Hence, a scrutiny of a monastic entity is to be framed in following concepts and referring to following problems: a field of a culture, cultural capital distribution and construction (Pierre Bourdieu 1985, 2008), a collective memory (Maurice Halbwachs 1950, 1969, Jan Assmann 2009, Aleida Assmann 2009, Andrzej Szpoński 1996, 1996a) and a local community (Joanna Kurczewska 2006).

    Introductory research on a place of dissolved monasteries in local collective memories (Jewdokimow, Markowska 2012) and media inquiry shows that monastic entities perform locally very different functions. Hence, proposed research topic - meanings and functions of monastic entities in selected local communities - expects intensive scrutiny. Moreover, Michel Foucault (1993) and Max Weber (1984) treated a monastery as a relevant source of the modernity. Consequently, the study of monastic entities offers insights into the very 'nature' of the modernity (for instance, process of secularization) on Polish and broader levels.

    The study is to be conducted in West Pomeranian Voivodeship due to characteristic context of monastic entities functioning after World War II and contemporary. On the one hand, a number of monastic entities on these terrains are a part of European Cistercian Route which imposes a broader frame for their meanings and functions, on the other - these monastic entities after World War II and contemporary have been relevant spots of local cultures and local collective memory formations.
    David E. Mutchler · The Catholic University of America
    might want to read Erving Goffman's classic, Asylums, study of "total institutions"
  • Bill Johnson added an answer:
    Is it theoretical bankruptcy to use the “secular state” as a straw man to develop sociological theory in an age of faith-based initiatives?
    Perhaps there was a time when social theorists could legitimately hold the U.S. up as the model secular state in that it maintained a wall of separation between church and state. However, starting with “Charitable Choice” in the Clinton Administration, the federal government has been courting the religious sector as the ideal beneficiary of its decision to outsource social services delivery to society’s downtrodden and marginalized populations. Indeed, from the second Bush Administration right through to the present second Obama term, there has been a White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives to encourage the religious sector to bid on federal third-party contracts for social services delivery. It was then-Senator John Ashcroft (during the Clinton Administration) who convinced Congress in connection with welfare reform that the churches had more credibility with the hard-core welfare dependent population than did government social services offices, thus launching Charitable Choice and progeny. A visit to the current Administration’s Faith-Based Initiatives website reveals the thinking:

    “The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships within the Domestic Policy Council works to form partnerships between the Federal Government and faith-based and neighborhood organizations to more effectively serve Americans in need.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ofbnp.

    And, now Europe is jumping on the faith-based initiatives bandwagon. (Sociologists who define Modernity as starting with the Enlightenment are -like Secular theorists - facing theoretical impoverishment.) Next month I will attend a consultative workshop in Sarajevo ("Faith-Based Participation in Civil Societies") in which the CFP started out with, “Contrary to some expectations, on-going secularization in European societies has not led to a disappearance of religion.”

    I rely on Secularism Theory with this paper and at least 3 others on my RG homepage. I am beginning to think this may actually be an ethical dilemma that I must confront. Is it unethical to theorize from a foil that has no basis in reality?
    Bill Johnson · Husson University
    Gwen,
    Perhaps this question is simplistic, but here goes: It seems to me that the sorts of faith-based undertakings initiated by our government with which I am familiar haven't got anything to do with faith itself. They are rather calls for religious organizations to get involved with some of the social relief work which our government seems to be unable to financially underwrite these days. My familiarity with the UK (that is the European country with which I am most familiar) would tend to suggest that the Brits are also hard-pressed to underwrite all their social relief programs.

    If this is what is happening in the US, does that violate the prohibition of starting a State religion, or impeding the free exercise of religion? Is it possible that the lack of funds for doing works of social justice or social relief is forcing the government to seek help of this sort from the religious sector? Most faiths do have an emphasis on humanitarian good works. Most soup kitchens seem to get started by faith-based organizations. Is collaborative work to address these sorts of concerns really a violation of the First Amendment?

    If I am way off base as to what is motivating this alliance please tell me, but I don't think I would be uncomfortable with the government working in concert with religious groups to address these sorts of needs, as long as there is no government promotion of a particular faith or church. Is there some aspect of this argument/concern which I am still failing to understand? You don't seem to be a reactionary type of a person, so I am guessing that there is a dimension of this matter of which I don't have an accurate perception. I am still unclear on where there is a straw man portrayal going on in all of this.
  • Eshah a. wahab added an answer:
    Which theory of religion and ritual is fitted to describe syncretism (combination between two elements) among minority communities?
    Theory of religion and ritual according to post-modernism is not fitted to explain syncretism because post modernism is about rejecting the past. But, this minority community (the Bajau) is keeping the traditional rituals along with their belief (Islam).
    Eshah a. wahab · University of Malaya
    Thank you very much . I will check it up..
  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi added an answer:
    What common features between Sayings of Jesus (Q) and other religions? Will return
    Q is earliest Christian writing (Sayings of Jesus)
  • Emmanuel Buganga asked a question:
    How Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) using Islam to Islamize the world?
    The question needs to explore various methods specifically used by OIC to islamize the world. Some considers the organization being political, others religious and others socio-economic. If it is religious based, how?
  • Jacques Sap asked a question:
    missiologie
    les villes africaines connaissent une croissance démographique sans pareille, accompagnée de la pauvreté et des problèmes socio professionels. cette situation est devenue un enjeu missiologique important.
    quelle approche proposez vous pour les missions.

About Sociology of Religion

To this group all researchers are welcome who work in the field of sociology of Religion, be it theoretically or empirical, be it with qualitative or quantitative methods.

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