Category Archives: Religion

World Rejecting New Religious Movements

The World Rejecting New Religious Movement (NRM) is one of Roy Wallis’ three types of New Religious Movement. As the name suggests, their orientation to wider society is one of rejecting most of what that society stands for. Wallis’ World … Continue reading

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Types of religious organisation: the cult

Steve Bruce (1995) defines a cult as a ‘loosely knit group organized around some common themes and interests but lacking any sharply defined and exclusive belief system’. Cults correspond closely to Roy Wallis’ category of ‘World Affirming New Religious Movements’. … Continue reading

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Types of Religious Organisation: The Sect

According to Troeltsch, the Sect is basically the opposite of The Church…. Key characteristics of sects according to Troeltsch… They have significantly smaller memberships than churches The membership base of sects is drawn from the lower social classes Sects are … Continue reading

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Types of Religious Organisation: The Denomination

H.R. Niebuhr (1929) was the first sociologist to distinguish between a church and a denomination. His distinction was based on a study of religion in the U.S.A. Denominations share some, but not all of the features of churches. Examples of … Continue reading

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Types of Religious Organisation: The Church

Ernst Troeltsch (1931) used the term ‘church’ to refer to a large, hierarchically organised¬† religious institutions with an inclusive, universal membership, typically with close links to the state. According to Troeltsch* Churches have about 5 characteristics: Churches tend to have … Continue reading

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Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times

David Lyon argues that religion is not declining with the shift from modernity to postmodernity, rather it is simply relocating to the ‘sphere of consumption’ as people selectively choose which aspects different religions to use at different points in their … Continue reading

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Religious Pluralism: Evidence of Secularization?

Durkheim’s view of religion implied that a truly religious society could only have one religion in that society. In Durkheim’s analysis this was the situation in small-scale, Aboriginal societies, where every member of that society comes together at certain times … Continue reading

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Anthony Giddens – High Modernity and Religious Revival

Anthony Giddens argues that the shift to late modern society results in religion becoming more popular. Giddens is one of four ‘sociologists of postmodernity’, all of whom argue that postmodernisation results in the nature of religion changing, but not necessarily … Continue reading

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Structural Differentiation and Religion

According to Talcott Parsons, the disengagement of the church from social life might not necessarily mean that the church is any less important at a social level. Parsons argues that societies evolve through a process of ‘structural differentiation’ – as … Continue reading

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Disengagement as Evidence of Secularization

Within the secularization debate, disengagement is the process of religious institutions becoming less involved in political and social life. It is the general withdrawing of religious institutions from wider society. If we take a long term view and compare the … Continue reading

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