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Social Aspects Of The Church. Essay

6274 words - 25 pages

SOCIAL ASPECTS OF THE CHURCH.INTRODUCTIONA major characteristic of human society is the high degree to which almost all social situations are structured. This structuring is not always apparent. When you see a friend in the evening and ask him what he did that day, he will probably answer by listing the activities that seem to him to be the special events of the day: I got my history paper back, I received a letter from an old friend, I drove my father to the airport, I bought a new CD. He probably will not mention that he brushed his teeth, ate breakfast, and went to school that morning. Recurrent or habitual patterns of behaviour are taken so much for granted that people usually fail to notice them. They pay attention instead to the unusual, the surprising, the extraordinary.Even though the routine and usual events of everyday life usually go unnoticed, it is precisely these activities that provide the structural basis of human societies. From the sociological perspective, the most significant aspect of human life is the regular pattern, not the random or unique events. The sociologist's task is to study individuals and groups to discover the recurring patterns in their thought and behaviour The discipline of sociology is based on the assumption that these recurring patterns can be accurately described and predicted, and thus a clearer understanding of the human social condition may be achieved.BACKGROUND ON RELIGION FOR SOCIOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONReligion is commonly thought to be a field of study only for the theologian and the philosopher, who try to assess the meaning and value of different beliefs. But the sociologist is also interested in religion. Rather than attempting to judge the value of religious beliefs, sociologists are interested in determining religion's role in the social system. They want to know how religious beliefs and practices affect the political organization, social stratification, or population composition of a society, and how such social processes as socialization, institutionalisation, and industrialization in turn shape religion. In addition, they are interested in religion as a set of meanings and beliefs an important part of any society's culture. Because religion is an institution found in all societies, it is usually assumed to meet some basic human need. Yet no other institution shows such a rich variety of forms. This variety contributes to the conclusion that religion, in addition to its sacred and spiritual aspects, is a social institution, shaped by the culture and environment of each society. Two components of religion must be distinguished from one another; the universal human impulse toward religion, with its spiritual basis, and the social form in which it is expressed and institutionalise.,Firstly Durkheim began by arguing that all known religions are based on the assumption that everything--from thoughts, words, actions, and objects, to places and animals can be separated into two opposed classes: the...

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