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Comparative Religion

The Secular Landscape: The Decline of Religion in America by Kevin McCaffree

By Kevin McCaffree

This e-book proposes a entire conception of the lack of faith in human societies, with a particular and substantial concentrate on the modern usa. Kevin McCaffree attracts on more than a few disciplines together with sociology, psychology, anthropology, and historical past to discover subject matters comparable to the beginning of faith, the function of faith in contemporary American background, the lack of faith, and the way americans are facing this loss. The booklet isn't just richly theoretical but additionally empirical. countless numbers of medical reviews are mentioned, and new statistical analyses improve its center arguments. What emerges is an integrative and illuminating concept of secularization.

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RELIGION EXPLAINED 21 Harvey Whitehouse and Lanman (2014) have since formalized a theory of religious ritual that identifies not only how religions reflect social relationships, but also how ritual, itself, helps to fuse people together under a common emotional state and shared identity. When a group of individuals gather and focus their collective attention on shared symbols of group membership, the resulting emotional arousal and sense of unity is distributed among all members. Ritual bonds people together by instigating in them shared synchronous movement and emotionality—this is a classic Durkheimian insight that Whitehouse has formulated in a testable way.

Durkheim’s definition is the most complete of any of the nineteenth-century sociologists, emphasizing as it does belief, practice and affiliation with a church. A more complete definition would not come until Talcott Parsons’ unwieldy definition, which is over 100 words long and, in truth, improves very little upon Durkheim’s. The image Durkheim paints in his Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912[1965]) is vibrant. He rooted his understanding of religion in his readings of European ethnographies of hunter-gatherer tribes in Australia.

Though overlapping in practice, the specific narratives about meaning and purpose that one gets from an organization are theoretically separate from the social or role identities one has as a member of that organization. Both are comforting, for different reasons. When someone’s person, role and social identities are consistently confirmed by others in situations, on the one hand, they will feel authentic, efficacious and worthy.

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