It’s just a bunch of people. [1]Herodotus (484 – 425 BCE) stated that the gods of Greece were the same as the gods of Egypt. The BrainPickings post purported to be a primer on major theories of religion. Theories of religions can be classified into substantive (focusing on what it is) theories and functional or reductionist (focusing on what religions does) theories.. [70], 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. Substantive (or essentialist) theories that focus on the contents of religions and the meaning the contents has for people. Magic is used to influence the natural world in the primitive man's struggle for survival. Though his attempt to the historical origins of religions have not been accepted, his generalized view that all religions originate from unfulfilled psychological needs are still seen as offering a credible explanation in some cases. 384 pages Paperback 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches In Stock. Also, send me the Public Square Newsletter and special offers. What religions oppose vaccination, and why? Apart from theorizing, Freud's theories were developed by studying patients who were left free to talk while lying on a sofa. In this respect he agreed with Durkheim, though he acknowledged that Frazer and Tylor were right that their religion also had an intellectual explanatory aspect. Archaic men long to return to lost paradise, outside the historic time, as explained in Eliade's book Eternal return (Eliade) to escape meaninglessness. (You know the kind – they’re quirky, hip, catchy, and they make you feel pleasantly intelligent just by association with the person who made them.) [85] They assert that only a supernatural compensator can explain death or the meaning of life. Witchcraft and oracles played a great role in solving disputes among the Azande. These religious tools help cultures to “socially construct” reality – that is, transform what would otherwise be arbitrary or silly ideas (like “Christ’s body is the communion wafer”) into rockhard, commonsense truths. [2]Euhemerus (appr. Influential functional theories have been proposed by Karl Marx (focusing on the economic background) , Sigmund Freud (focusing on neurosis as a pscychological origin of religious beliefs), and Émile Durkheim (focusing on the social function of religions). Well, because Calvinist theology claimed that God had pre-determined whether people were “saved” (going to heaven, instead of, um, the other direction), and there was nothing you could do to change God’s mind. [47] Status groups have differing levels of access to power and prestige and indirectly to economic resources. [17]He saw religion originating from alienation and aiding the persistence of alienation. You couldn’t change whether you were saved or not, but you could show that you were in God’s good graces by working hard and living a financially blessed life. The method that Tylor and Frazer used was seeking similar beliefs and practices in all societies, especially the more primitive ones, more or less regardless of time and place. Most scholars today are skeptical of Weber’s Protestantism-capitalism thesis, but his most important legacy remains: the insistence that religion profoundly influences culture, by shaping what people believe about the world. He asserted that magic relied on an uncritical belief of primitive people in contact and imitation. [12], The anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard preferred detailed ethnographical study of a tribe and their religion to form a theory about the tribe's religion over untestable speculation over the origins of religions by e.g. He also introduced a number of key concepts in the sociology of religion. My hope is to touch on the major names you’re mostly likely to hear in conversations with genuine experts in religion. [27][28]Tylor's anthropological method has been criticized as out-of-context comparisons of practices in different cultures and times. [82] Compensators are a body of language and practices that compensate for some physical lack or frustrated goal. They asserted that religion is able to function as compensators for unobtained rewards. 1. an individual level that is controlled by 2. a social system that is in turn controlled by 3. a cultural system. Berger’s sociological theory of religion is based on the concept of socialization, or the ways that societies convince members that their particular view of reality is true. [55][56] Like Durkheim, he saw the sacred as central to religion, but differing from Durkheim, he views the sacred as often dealing with the supernatural, not with the clan or society. Watch this video from 3:30 to see how Bush calls upon religion. This approach asserts that people have faith because beliefs make sense to them. Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) held a strictly materialist world view and saw economics, including class distinctions (including class struggle), as the determining factor of society. Evans-Pritchard saw these people as different, but not primitive.