Theories about religion  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Theories of religion)
Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Theories of religion can be split up into substantive theories (focusing on what religion is) and functional or reductionist theories (focusing on what it does). Influential substantive theories have been proposed by Tylor and Frazer (focusing on the explanatory value of religion for its adherents), by the theologian Rudolf Otto (focusing on the importance of religious experience, more specifically experiences that are both fascinating and terrifying), Mircea Eliade (focusing on the longing for otherworldly perfection, the quest for meaning, and the search for patterns in mythology in various religions).

Influential functional theories have been proposed by Karl Marx (focusing on the economic background), Sigmund Freud (focusing on neurosis as a psychological origin of religious beliefs), and Émile Durkheim (focusing on the social function of religions).

Max Weber did not so much propose a general theory of religion as he focused on the interaction between society and religion. He also introduced a number of key concepts to the sociology of religion.

In contrast to earlier theorists, the anthropologists E. E. Evans-Pritchard and Clifford Geertz performed detailed ethnographical studies of "primitive" cultures, and came to the conclusion that earlier theories had been one-sided at best. Geertz denied that it would ever be possible to propose a general theory of religion.

The rational choice theory has been applied to religions, among others by the sociologists Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge. They asserted that religion is able to function as a compensator for unobtained rewards.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Theories about religion" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools