Sect Ideologies and Social Status

Overview

In this penetrating study of urban religion, Gary Schwartz examines the nature of the relationship between religious belief and the social order. He shows how a person's experience in the social hierarchy shapes his response to competing religious ideologies and, in turn, how commitment to a particular sect ideology colors his attitude toward mundane affairs.

The author studied and compared a Pentecostal group and a Seventh-day Adventist group in preparation for this work. The ...

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Overview

In this penetrating study of urban religion, Gary Schwartz examines the nature of the relationship between religious belief and the social order. He shows how a person's experience in the social hierarchy shapes his response to competing religious ideologies and, in turn, how commitment to a particular sect ideology colors his attitude toward mundane affairs.

The author studied and compared a Pentecostal group and a Seventh-day Adventist group in preparation for this work. The question which stimulated the investigation can be stated as a paradox. In the Adventist case, why should persons who firmly believe that God is soon to destroy the world work so diligently and against formidable odds to improve their own secular fortunes? In the Pentecostal case, why should persons who believe that God is available for direct aid in every human contingency not use this power for their own advancement?

In theorizing about the relationship between an individual's position in the socioeconomic system and his sect affiliation, Mr. Schwartz asserts that the specifically ideological component of a creed resides in the ways in which believers conceptualize the meaning of secular problems.

The study as a whole attempts to reveal what makes a special set of beliefs attractive to a person grappling with certain secular exigencies, and how these beliefs affect his view of secular matters. It develops a model of a religious ideology applicable to any study of the relationship between cultural symbols and social structure.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226742168
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1970
  • Series: Phoenix Poets Ser.
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.79 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Introduction Ideology and Religious Belief Religious Ideologies and Secular Societies Evangelical Christianity and Separatist Religious Movements in the Non-Western World Participant Observation and the Study of Religious Belief
2. The Problem of Sect Affiliation Social Stratification and Religious Affiliation in America The Problem of Sect Affiliation—The Relationship between Religious Belief and Social Structure Status Deprivation and Sect Affiliation—The Structural Sources of Pentecostal and Adventist Ideologies Religious Ideologies—The Link between Social Structure, Religious Doctrine, and Social Action
3. The Sect as a Sociological Construct The Church-Sect Typology Contemporary Sociological Approaches to the Problem of Sect Affiliation
4. Seventh-day Adventist Belief Religious Belief and Ritual Action Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist Belief and the Christian Tradition The Scope of This Treatment of Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist Theologies Seventh-day Adventist Belief
5. Pentecostal Belief Pentecostal and Holiness Belief
6. Socioeconomic Status and Sect Affiliation The Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist and Pentecostal Congregations Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist Status Trajectories
7. Conclusions Sectarian Belief and the Social Order Seventh-day Adventism and Pentecostalism as Transformative and Redemptive Social Movements Some Theoretical Considerations Appendix 1 - Methodological Considerations Appendix 2 - Interview Schedule Index

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