Religion in Society: A Sociology of Religion / Edition 8

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Overview

Using an unbiased, balanced approach, the 8th edition of this text puts religion in its social context by discussing the impact of society on religion while helpg readers understand the role and function of religion in society that occur regardless of anyone's claims about the truth or falsity of religious systems.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Johnstone (Ball State U.) does not say explicitly that his work is a textbook, but it could certainly function as one. He discusses the sociological perspective on religion, religion as a social phenomenon, the classic church-sect continuum of religious organization and evolution, the relationship of religion to major social institutions and structural features of society, and some of the major features of religion in the US. Earlier editions appeared 1975-97. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131884076
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 3/3/2006
  • Series: MySearchLab Series 15% off Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 387
  • Sales rank: 430,090
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

Having observed the sociology of religion landscape over a period of four decades, I find that three observations continually surface. First, the number of scholars who have adopted this as the field of their major scholarly interest continues to increase and both the volume and quality of research keeps growing in noticeable ways. Second, a great many events and movements that fall under the sociology of religion umbrella continue to bombard our field of vision: abortion, ecumenism, religion-based ethnic cleansing, Northern Ireland and East Timor, ordination of women, prayer in public schools, Heaven's Gate group suicide, and on and on. Another way of saying this is that our contemporary world keeps the reservoir of subject matter that begs for review and analysis full to overflowing. Still another way of saying this is that religion in its variety of forms is not about to disappear.

We have included many of these developments in this new edition—some as new topics, some as expansions and revisions of subjects included in earlier editions. Notable changes are:

  1. a modestly expanded section on the anthropological exploration into the beginnings of religion
  2. replacement of the lengthy case study of Northern Ireland as an example of contemporary religious conflict with very brief descriptions of the Northern Ireland conflict, the Israelis and Palestinians in the Near East, the Eastern Orthodox Serbs against the Muslim ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the Muslims in Indonesia against the Roman Catholic citizens of East Timor, and a more extensive treatment of the Indian Sikhs' protracted religio-politicalconflict with Indian and Pakistani Muslims
  3. updated and expanded discussion of the ongoing religious conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention
  4. updated church-state issues with recent data on U.S. Supreme Court rulings
  5. updating on American fundamentalism
  6. expansion for the tradition-affirming women's religious response by introduction of the Women's Aglow Fellowship
  7. significant expansion of the ordination of women issue, particularly as an issue in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Southern Baptist Convention
  8. expanded treatment on differences in "style" between female and male clergy
  9. a new substantial section on contemporary revolutionary expressions of women's religion in the forms of goddess worship, neopaganism, wicca, spiritualism, witchcraft, and Gaia
  10. added discussion of the phenomenon "defecting in place" and various forms of spiritual feminism that preserve much of traditional women's religion
  11. added information on female rabbis and seminarians and the recent decline of diocesan priests in the Roman Catholic Church
  12. added information on female parish administrators in the Catholic Church
  13. a discussion of the diaconate in the Catholic Church
  14. expanded discussion of the Black Muslims in America
  15. general updating of Judaism and Roman Catholicism, particularly attempts by Pope John Paul 11 to return members to traditional Catholicism
  16. update on three major ecumenical developments in the late 1990s-Lutherans and several Reformed denominations in 1997, Lutherans and Episcopalians in 1999, and the joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Roman Catholics and Lutherans in 1999
  17. updated discussion of church membership trends
  18. expanded discussion of secularization as specialization, not annihilation

The number, structure, and sequence of chapters have remained the same as in the fifth edition. Part I (Chapters 1-4) is an introduction to the sociological perspective on religion. It grapples with the problem of defining religion and considers the fascinating but ultimately unanswerable question of the origins of religion. Part II (Chapters 5-6) focuses on sociology's distinctive perspective on religion as a social phenomenon: how general laws and principles of social and group life impinge on religion as it organizes itself into groups and carries on its activities. The chapters in Part II also look closely at the classic church-sect continuum of religious organization and evolution and consider how conflict figures so commonly in the life of religious organizations. Part III (Chapters 7-11) examines the relationship of religion to major social institutions and structural features of society: religion and politics; religious fundamentalism; religion and the economy; religion and social class; and, finally, religion and the role and perception of women in society. Part IV (Chapters 12-15) covers some of the major features of religion in the United States-the social environment and experience of a majority of the readers of this text. After exploring several highly important sociohistorical developments within American religion, the chapters in Part IV pay particular attention to American socioreligious developments, namely, the African-American church, Native American religion, and the phenomenon of denominationalism. Part IV concludes by focusing on primary sociological factors that will significantly affect the future of religion.

In this progression, the reader will experience firsthand some of the problems inherent in the enterprise we call the sociology of religion and will become involved and somewhat expert in the process of applying the sociological perspective. The reader will also develop insight into the place of religion in society that will supplement her or his prior understanding, whether gained from the inside as a believer or from the outside as an observer of the religious scene.

I want to express my deep appreciation to the following reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions: Rhoda V Carr, Tulane University; Kathleen S. Lowney, Valdasta State University; and Robert A. Wortham, North Carolina Central University. And, finally, my thanks to Merrill Peterson for his insightful and vigilant editorial work.

Ronald L. Johnstone

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Table of Contents

PART I INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION

Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective

The Task of Sociology

Central Sociological Assumptions

The Sociology of Religion

Defining Religion

The Characteristics of Religion

A Working Definition of Religion

The Definition Applied to “Magic”

Final Reflection on the Definition of Religion

A Concluding Historical Note: The Development of the Sociology of Religion

Notes

Chapter 2: T he Sources of Religion

Revelation As Origin

The “Natural-Knowledge-Of-God” Explanation

Anthropological Explanations

Psychological Explanations

Sociological Views

Rational Choice Theory

Conclusion

Notes

PART II THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF RELIGION

Chapter 3: Religion As A Group Phenomenon

Religion and the Characteristics of a Group

Religion and the Five Functional Prerequisites of Group Life

The Effects of Increasing Group Size

The Bureaucratization of Religion

Religious Leadership

Notes

Chapter 4: The Church-Sect Continuum of Religious Organization

The Sect

The Church

The Denomination

The Formation of Sects

The Impact of Deprivation on Sect Development

The Evolution of Sects

The Institutionalized Sect

The Cult

Other Non-American Cults

Refinements of the Church-Sect Typology

Notes

Chapter 5: Becoming Religious

Elements in Religious Socialization

Methods of Religious Socialization

Measuring the Impact of Religious Socialization

Sociological Definitions of Religiosity: Group Affiliation

Sociological Definitions of Religiosity: The Individual Approach

Sociological Measures of Religiosity: Multidimensional Measures

Internalization of Religion

Religious Conversion

Deconversion

Deprogramming

Conclusion

Notes

Chapter 6: Religious Conflict

Conflict Theory According to Karl Marx

Religious Conflict in History

Contemporary Examples of Religious Conflict

Intrareligious Conflict

Challenges to Society from Religious Groups

Conclusion

Notes

PART III RELIGION IN SOCIETY

Chapter 7: Religion and Politics

The Relationship of Religion and Politics

The Influence of Religion on Politics

Civil Religion

Religion and Politics in the Third World

Notes

Chapter 8: Religious Fundamentalism

The Concept of Fundamentalism: Its Origin and Use

Protestant Fundamentalism

Jewish Fundamentalism

Islamic Fundamentalism

The Future

Notes

Chapter 9: Religion and the Economy

Religion as an Economic Institution

Religion as a Shaper of Economic Attitudes and Behavior

An Assessment of the Relationship between Religion and Economics

Notes

Chapter 10: Religion and the Class System

Differences in Religious Meaning and Expression among Social Classes

Differential Denominational Affiliation by Social Class

Social Stratification within Religious Groups

Stratification, Religion, and Race

Notes

Chapter 11: Women and Religion

The Relationship of Women to Religion as Societies Evolved

The Historical Patterns

Contemporary Responses

Female-Dominated Religions

Predictions

Application of Rational Choice Theory

Conclusion

Notes

PART IV RELIGION IN AMERICA

Chapter 12: Major Historical Developments

Intolerant Beginnings

The Constitutional Compromise

The Frontier Challenge

The Ordeal of Pluralism

Religious Social Concern

The Post-World War II Revival

Notes

Chapter 13: Black and Native American Religion in America

The Historical Development of the Black Church as a Social Institution

Militancy in the Black Church

New Themes in Black Religion

Other Religious Options for African Americans

Native American Religion

Notes

Chapter 14: Denominational Society

The Multiplicity of Groups

The Diversity of Groups

Major Denominational Families

Special Interest Religious Groups

Ecumenism

The Megachurch Phenomenon

The Continued Viability of Denominationalism

Notes

Chapter 15: The Future of Religion

Level of Religious Activity

The Growth and Decline of Membership

Impending Protestant Loss of Majority Religious Position

The Dilemmas of Roman Catholicism

Continuity in the Traditional Social Functions of Religion

The Factor of Secularization

The Conflict over the Purpose of Religion

Conclusion

Notes

Index

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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

Having observed the sociology of religion landscape over a period of four decades, I find that three observations continually surface. First, the number of scholars who have adopted this as the field of their major scholarly interest continues to increase and both the volume and quality of research keeps growing in noticeable ways. Second, a great many events and movements that fall under the sociology of religion umbrella continue to bombard our field of vision: abortion, ecumenism, religion-based ethnic cleansing, Northern Ireland and East Timor, ordination of women, prayer in public schools, Heaven's Gate group suicide, and on and on. Another way of saying this is that our contemporary world keeps the reservoir of subject matter that begs for review and analysis full to overflowing. Still another way of saying this is that religion in its variety of forms is not about to disappear.

We have included many of these developments in this new edition—some as new topics, some as expansions and revisions of subjects included in earlier editions. Notable changes are:

  1. a modestly expanded section on the anthropological exploration into the beginnings of religion
  2. replacement of the lengthy case study of Northern Ireland as an example of contemporary religious conflict with very brief descriptions of the Northern Ireland conflict, the Israelis and Palestinians in the Near East, the Eastern Orthodox Serbs against the Muslim ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the Muslims in Indonesia against the Roman Catholic citizens of East Timor, and a more extensive treatment of the Indian Sikhs' protractedreligio-politicalconflict with Indian and Pakistani Muslims
  3. updated and expanded discussion of the ongoing religious conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention
  4. updated church-state issues with recent data on U.S. Supreme Court rulings
  5. updating on American fundamentalism
  6. expansion for the tradition-affirming women's religious response by introduction of the Women's Aglow Fellowship
  7. significant expansion of the ordination of women issue, particularly as an issue in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Southern Baptist Convention
  8. expanded treatment on differences in "style" between female and male clergy
  9. a new substantial section on contemporary revolutionary expressions of women's religion in the forms of goddess worship, neopaganism, wicca, spiritualism, witchcraft, and Gaia
  10. added discussion of the phenomenon "defecting in place" and various forms of spiritual feminism that preserve much of traditional women's religion
  11. added information on female rabbis and seminarians and the recent decline of diocesan priests in the Roman Catholic Church
  12. added information on female parish administrators in the Catholic Church
  13. a discussion of the diaconate in the Catholic Church
  14. expanded discussion of the Black Muslims in America
  15. general updating of Judaism and Roman Catholicism, particularly attempts by Pope John Paul 11 to return members to traditional Catholicism
  16. update on three major ecumenical developments in the late 1990s-Lutherans and several Reformed denominations in 1997, Lutherans and Episcopalians in 1999, and the joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Roman Catholics and Lutherans in 1999
  17. updated discussion of church membership trends
  18. expanded discussion of secularization as specialization, not annihilation

The number, structure, and sequence of chapters have remained the same as in the fifth edition. Part I (Chapters 1-4) is an introduction to the sociological perspective on religion. It grapples with the problem of defining religion and considers the fascinating but ultimately unanswerable question of the origins of religion. Part II (Chapters 5-6) focuses on sociology's distinctive perspective on religion as a social phenomenon: how general laws and principles of social and group life impinge on religion as it organizes itself into groups and carries on its activities. The chapters in Part II also look closely at the classic church-sect continuum of religious organization and evolution and consider how conflict figures so commonly in the life of religious organizations. Part III (Chapters 7-11) examines the relationship of religion to major social institutions and structural features of society: religion and politics; religious fundamentalism; religion and the economy; religion and social class; and, finally, religion and the role and perception of women in society. Part IV (Chapters 12-15) covers some of the major features of religion in the United States-the social environment and experience of a majority of the readers of this text. After exploring several highly important sociohistorical developments within American religion, the chapters in Part IV pay particular attention to American socioreligious developments, namely, the African-American church, Native American religion, and the phenomenon of denominationalism. Part IV concludes by focusing on primary sociological factors that will significantly affect the future of religion.

In this progression, the reader will experience firsthand some of the problems inherent in the enterprise we call the sociology of religion and will become involved and somewhat expert in the process of applying the sociological perspective. The reader will also develop insight into the place of religion in society that will supplement her or his prior understanding, whether gained from the inside as a believer or from the outside as an observer of the religious scene.

I want to express my deep appreciation to the following reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions: Rhoda V Carr, Tulane University; Kathleen S. Lowney, Valdasta State University; and Robert A. Wortham, North Carolina Central University. And, finally, my thanks to Merrill Peterson for his insightful and vigilant editorial work.

Ronald L. Johnstone

Read More Show Less

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