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The Relationship Connecting The Sociology Of Religion And World Building

1128 words - 5 pages

Berger provides insight into the study of the sociology of religion. Berger is particularly interested in the social construction of religion as perpetuated by humankind and the dichotomies of the secular and the religious. As a component of social reality, religion, according to Peter Berger, is a “dialectical phenomenon” (3). Society is a dialectic phenomenon in that it is a human product, and nothing but a human product, that yet continuously acts back upon its producer. Society is a product of man. Religion emerges out of human beings as part of an ordered and meaningful social reality and in turn, humans emerge out of this socially constructed world. Berger parses the dialectical phenomenon into three concepts: externalization, objectivation, and internalization.
Externalization of a meaningfully ordered worldview is “an anthropological necessity,” compelled by the “unfinished” nature of human biological constitution (4). Externalization may be defined as “the ongoing outpouring of human being into the world, both in the physical and mental activity of people” (4). The created social world provides order, meaning, and security, thereby completing human nature, which remained naturally deficient. The products of human physical and mental activity include such things as culture, the state, the family, religion, and the economy. Culture is a social world that is human created. Objectivation regards socially constructed reality as something that is not merely constructed with facticity. People perceive culture, the family, the economy, etc. to be objective reality. Objectivation stipulates not only that social reality is “there,” but that social reality is “there for everyone” (10) Culture is “taken-for-granted” as natural, imposing “itself back upon the reluctance of individuals” as a brute fact (11). By the process of internalization, the socially constructed world that is regarded as “there” and “there for everyone” becomes “there in me.” In Berger's words, “the objective facticity of the world becomes a subjective facticity as well” (17). Objectivated reality imposes itself on the individual, compelling him/her to act in particular ways leading to “the absorption into consciousness of the (socially constructed) objectivated world (society) in such a way that the structures of this world come to determine the subjective structures of consciousness itself” (15). The ordered structure of culture becomes the ordered structure of individual human consciousness. The languages, values, meanings, and institutions of society become the languages, values, meanings, and institutions of the individual person. Through internalization, humans become a product of society.
By the ordering of experience, humanity imposes nomos, or meaningful order, upon the social world by both objective by institutions and subjective by consciousness constructs. When this nomos is instinctually assumed either cosmologically or anthropologically “it is endowed with a...

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